25
Feb
10

Are you still master of your domain?

On a recent visit to one of the area’s local dispensaries, I ran into a grower I know as he was stocking clones of a new strain he’d created.   The strain had a pretty dumb name, and one that I’d never heard before, so I asked about it.  I don’t want to violate any confidences, so I’ll just call it “Dumb ass” and say it’s a cross between Amnesia Haze and Donkey Dick.  (Actually, my imaginary name is a little better than the real name I don’t want to use, since mine reflects parent geneology in an obtuse sort of way, and the real name I’m not using didn’t.)

“Dumb Ass, huh?  That’s an odd name.  Where does it come from?”

I was expecting to hear something relating to the plant’s point of origin, or its genealogy.    Something like:

“Well, I forgot to harvest a couple of plants I left out on Dumb Ass hill last year, a south-facing spot on my property where my Great, great, great grandfather was shot by Pomo Indians he’d been trying to capture to sell to newcomers.   The plants went to seed, cross-pollinated, and this is what I found when I went back this year to plant a new crop.”

But no, nothing that interesting or thoughtful.  The answer I got was more along the lines of:

“I was putting them in my truck, and I realized that I hadn’t named the strain.  I turned on the radio and heard someone call Obama a dumbass, so I decided to name them “Dumb Ass.”

“Oh,” I said.  “Ummmm….so, I’ll see you around.”  Because what more was there to say?

So anyway, a dumb name.  Not surprising, in and of itself; nor, for that matter, is the phenomenon of assigning dumb names all that rare.  “Rat piss” comes to mind, immediately.  There are too many others to mention.  I know lots of people who cringe when they hear the name “Green Crack,” though at least that one makes sense to me.

I don’t want to criticize the “mad scientist” impulse; I know that creating new and better strains is one of the joys of growing, and the inventor deserves the pleasure of naming his/her invention.  And certainly, coming up with a creative name for a beloved new experiment is a cherished part of the culture, so I understand the impulse to create ever newer and weirder names.   There’s always the hope, too, that a rock star will emerge from the crowd of strains on the market, and the proud parent of that star deserves their moment in the sun.  After all, who wouldn’t want to take the credit for the next Headband?  (And, by the way, I can’t count the number of growers I’ve met who have taken credit for Headband.)

I guess I’m still on my branding kick from a few weeks ago, and the discussion of a new growers guild in Humboldt has only encouraged me to keep thinking in that direction.   Anyway, I’m constantly surprised by the lack of location names on local strains.  As I mentioned in my recent response to Mr. Nice, all of the bud-tenders and dispensary operators I know in Southern California turned green with envy when they heard I was moving up to the Emerald Triangle, and I know they’d like to get their hands on verifiably-local product.  Or even unverifiably-local product.

Maybe it wouldn’t hold the same kind of appeal in an Arcata pharmacy, but this seems like another way to “grow the brand,” to borrow a douchebaggy term from the marketing class.  Stick a place name in front of that Dumb Ass weed name, and I bet you’ll increase demand for it.  And as long as it’s half-way decent weed, it couldn’t hurt, right?  Consider the upside – what self-respecting, wanna-be gangsta from Van Nuys or arthritic retiree from Leisure World could resist the prospect of easing their pain with “Humboldt Dumb Ass.”  In fact, I bet they’d ask for it by name.

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4 Responses to “Are you still master of your domain?”


  1. 1 Goldie
    February 27, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    You are on to something here but place names do not seem to be the trend. The trend is rather abstract. A reference to a specific Humboldt event or landmark, something once removed. Perilous Plunge Purple, Wink Wreck after that famous Humboldt short film. Thumb Kush, for the digit stolen and then returned from the plaza statue. Wabash Wacky. Highboltage?

  2. March 1, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I can’t argue with good meaningful names, and all of those sound good. Maybe I just like them because I’ve been too hung up on marketing lately.

  3. 3 Mr. Nice
    March 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Plazoid bammer. 9th and H schwag. Marino’s fire.

  4. 4 SoHumBorn
    March 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Humboldt Dumb Ass… heheh! good post.


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