28
Jan
10

A perfect day for banana kush

R.I.P. J.D. Salinger.

Visiting my local dispensary yesterday, I stumbled into a work-related dispute over the purchase of a couple of ounces of early-harvest banana kush.  I decided to help alleviate the problem, in my small way.  Good fruity nose, though maybe a bit more of an energetic buzz than I was hoping for so late at night.  And after a poor night’s sleep, I awoke this morning thinking of Salinger without being able to recall his name, until I opened my browser and discovered his obituary.

Coincidence?  Surely not.  I’m convinced that Salinger is communicating with me from beyond the grave, despite the fact that he had chosen not to communicate with anyone while amongst the living for the past 50 odd years; and odd years they were.

The charming topic alluded to in the title of Salinger’s lovely story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” is a fish that indulges in what it likes to the point of self-destruction.  Am I wrong to worry that a charming subculture I hardly know may be in danger of likewise gorging itself into extinction?  I’m all for the triumph of rationality over irrationality, and the drug warriors are clearly at their most irrational when it comes to their opposition to marijuana.  That irrationality is hardly a secret, and recent polls show that Californians overwhelmingly support the legalization and taxation of the marijuana industry.  But if illegality is the final hurdle to mass acceptance and mass investment, then legalization of marijuana and hemp may open the floodgates.  And floods are rarely pleasant experiences for those in their direct path.

Maybe it’s the lingering effects of the banana kush, plucked too early, or the spectral response of a recently deceased recluse, or just the insightful comment offered by Kym – the redhead behind Redheaded Blackbelt who replied to my post about the change that’s gonna come – but I hope that people who have been operating silently in the shadows for fear of legal trouble will share their stories about the fascinating culture that has grown up in those shadows.

The stories I’ve already heard from my new neighbors are fascinating – from the growers, but also from all of those people who have been affected by the central industry of the area without directly participating in it – the unemployed loggers and fishermen, the aging hippies, the even-older residents who can still recall their responses to that long-ago influx of hippies.

If, as is currently suggested by current poll numbers, the quasi-legal industry that contributes two-thirds of the income produced in the state of Jefferson becomes a fully-legal industry, I hope those stories become common knowledge.  I fear they might be lost in the gold rush to come.

To Kym (and others),  I would ask:  Who records the culture that forms in the wake of an occupation and lifestyle deemed illegal, once legalization makes that culture obsolete?  Where are the historical primary sources?  Journals?  Letters?  Photos?  Video?  Imagine California surfing culture without the memoirs from Micky Dora and the other misfits of his generation.  Imagine Rock & Roll culture without the autobiographies of frontmen and groupies.  Who’s writing down these stories – not the sanitized, mythologized generic stories, and not the gangster-fantasies that feed the underground press, but the actual experiences of people who likely haven’t been taking notes due to fear of prosecution?

Is it you?

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2 Responses to “A perfect day for banana kush”


  1. 1 Kym
    January 29, 2010 at 8:14 am

    God, I’d like it to be me. One of the major goals of Grow Magazine (and me as one of its writers) is to get in print the stories of the culture. Not just the big ones but the little ones. Starting this last month (the issue is either out or will be shortly) we are doing a feature called Tales from the Garden that focuses on true stories. And every issue we try to include stories as part of the articles. But there really needs to be books that capture as much as possible.

    • January 29, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      I hadn’t realized it before, but I’ve actually read your work in Grow. I especially loved the article on the trimmers – that’s a perfect example of just one of the ways the industry supports the local community, and one that I didn’t really grasp before I moved up here. My partner and I recently spent a few hours in “trimming school” at our local dispensary; though the women you profiled are clearly in a different league altogether, from my experience of just a few hours in the chair, I thought you captured the experience really well. I’ll look forward to your upcoming stories. (I think it just might be you, after all.)


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