Green Tambourine

I have a very, very small pot habit. I can make an eighth last many months. I live in Augusta, Georgia currently, far from the carefree regions of the west where people are waking up and turning on to the best marijuana humans have ever produced. Still, some quality bud is making it here. It has the same general effects with varying strength. I think I’m smoking indica, rather than sativa which is what I’m accustomed to. Experts say that difference is not necessarily what makes one strain lock you in your chair and one makes you want to leap out of it…the type of shit The Breakfast Club got into or something.

Anyway, this stuff I’m smoking right now is a locker and a mind eraser, really strong too. I have only had the pleasure of using what I’ll call “euphoric” (not enough of a good word since all pot smoking is euphoric, I guess…”up”?) pot a few times, the type sativa is claimed to be-once in my twenties, and a bag or two at the beginning of the pot boom in Colorado ten years ago (I’m 48), about the time I was also slowly losing my grip on reality due to bipolar disorder. I got it from a girl who asked me if I wanted a head high or a body high. I asked for the body high. Wow, people. It was like a different drug altogether; I overflowed with energy, no loss of functionality, no being stoned. All the insight without the paranoia. I could smoke it all day and do whatever I needed to do, no falling into a TV hole or what have you. It was like Jimi Hendrix wondered- I was not necessarily stoned, but…beautiful .

I miss that shit. I would actually move somewhere to get more of it. Or it would be weight on the scale if I needed to decide where our next move is going to be. The Chief and I know that the Augusta suburbs is not where we want to land permanently. There’s no problems here per se…there’s just no nothing, and that is a problem, I guess. And eight months out of the year, the heat is positively unbearable. You eat, sweat, try IPAs, work on a belly, get diabetes and die (PS: The Godfather Of Soul made downtown his stomping ground back in the day, so there’s a music pedigree to boast of so in fairness it’s not all “nothing”, it’s just perhaps that “something” happened before I got here). Now if you are a golfer or a racist, you are in Paradise. And I’m not either of those. So the magic of Augusta is lost on me. It’s lost on the majority of Augustans from the looks of it, but that’s another story altogether and not mine to tell.

Anyway, it’s been about two hours since I smoked, and I overdid it a little. It’s taken me this long to sober up some and use the English language a little more precisely. I’ve almost hit 500 words chatting with you about weed while I come out of my stupor, which was not what I was expecting to tarry on today. I fear I have told you a boring pot story, yakking about being high because I’m high. I don’t tell good stories in general, a regrettable weakness. Now, during some of the crescendos of my mania, that wasn’t always true-I had a great deal of acuity and flow that must have lain dormant for all of my life. I was fun at fucking parties for once. I wonder though- was that the pot or the mania? Both in concert? The prescription drugs I was on? Who even knows. Anyway, the acuity and flow and fun turned into wild, dangerous delusions that would would eventually result in a stay in a locked ward. Whatever I unlocked, there was a price. I pulled a kitchen knife on my wife (in defense, unwarranted) and that was the ballgame. Sounds like an interesting story, doesn’t it? Alas, I would have a bit of trouble piecing that time together. Maybe I can work up to telling it someday.

If you want to peek at my unfiltered decline into madness, see some of my words from 2010.

Anyway, all of you know I’m an atheist. I don’t like getting into philosophical discussions about it much, I’m comfortable lacking the guidance of the divine. For example, one of those churches with the clever, pithy marquee style signs is across the street from my development, and they’re batting zero selling something I need. Like this month’s marquee is about envy. Home base says I don’t have any, really, except that healthy envy like “I wish I could play guitar like that” or “I wish I could tell a story like that”. I don’t need saving from that, it gives me something to aspire to. Last month’s was about the gathering of material goods. I have a couple of music addictions. I like to collect it and I like to try and play it. To that end I have hundreds of LPs and CDs, several guitars and they are beautiful. I’m glad I own them and they sound fucking kickass. What’s the harm in feeling good about something you have? So far this church is doing a shit job telling me why I need Jesus.

And yet occasionally, there is that existential nag that it’s all for nothing, and I think that’s a problem stemming from living in a capitalistic society. It’s probably no surprise that the church is trying to warn me about the dangers of desires and products because that’s pretty much all that motivates this reality. Without them, an emptiness could come on. That’s when people get spiritual, I guess.

But instead of walking into church, I regularly remind myself what a kickass family I have assembled. It’s #1 with a bullet for sticking around. And to that end I have helped chart a new course for my name, a new generation of Battista nonbelievers who have no limits on who they are or what they want to do (just in time for the actual end of humanity-sorry, kids). The house is crawling with creatures to love and be loved by. I did good. I did not create evil, I don’t feel evil, much less guilty- what do I need church for? I offer kindness and mercy and assistance when I am out and about. I do the best to learn about my world while I have the time and do things to change what sucks about it. I feel like the rockstar I always wanted to be when I strap one of my stringed babies on. And I will never run out of chords or songs.

I’m a better Christian than a lot of Christians, honestly. Or at least I’m as good as the lot of you. What is my sin? I live reasonably well, especially after coming back from the brink of madness. Perhaps I could seek forgiveness for such conspicuous satisfaction amongst so much suffering in the world, but I’m not going to confess to God for that. After all, it’s his fault that things are so fucked up, lopsided and loaded. He should confess to us, frankly.

The pious are going to have to result to scaring the shit out of me but good if they want me. Which might be next month’s sign, because they are not above it under all their cheeky goodwill.


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