Monday, December 17, 2007

Bokononism

I just did a quick search for the phrase "busy busy busy" and it appears that a lot of people are not aware that "Busy Busy Busy" is a reference to Bokonism - the Religion of Choice on the Caribbean island of San Lorenzo in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. Although the creator of the religion is commonly known as Bokonon, his given name is Lionel Boyd Johnson. LBJ, get it?

As it happens, "as it happens," is another reference to Bokonism. Anyone who has read the book will know why I say it all the time - and anyone who hasn't read Cat's Cradle really should. It remains as insightful today as it was when it was published back in 1963.

In any case, Busy Busy Busy is what Bokonists say when they feel a lot of mysterious things are going on, and things have certainly been mysterious in my house lately. I've had a friend staying on the couch while she's transitioning to new living quarters and Buzz Kill actually said that if she is my lesbian lover he's counting the days until he doesn't have to pay alimony as per our divorce agreement. Oy! Such a dumb ass.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

I have had company since before Thanksgiving. The troubles started earlier in November, though, when my son was coming home through Central Park one Saturday night with a couple of friends from theater group. It was the first time he'd hung out with those two fellows, and they seemed nice enough. I will confess that I wasn't that concerned about him since I was preoccupied with a group of lesbian playwrights and actresses who I had invited over to celebrate the successful run of a play my dear friend KW had written.

The party was breaking up shortly before midnight when I got a call from my child saying one of his friends had fallen, was bleeding and couldn't walk the rest of the way home. Fortunately, KW and her life partner DB were still at my place. I sent up a silent prayer of thanks because, as a security chief for a television station, DB has all kinds of emergency first aid training. She also used to be a nun and now she is a biker - which makes her the perfect person in an emergency if you ask me. She and I dashed down to the corner where we found Jojo on the ground with my son and the other fellow, who I will call Charlie, standing next to him obviously scared and stoned as hell. After a quick and thoroughly professional assessment, DW told me to call 911. Jojo had been drinking a Snapple when the boys were walking out of the park. The cobblestone sidewalk was very uneven. Jojo lost his footing, fell over backwards and conked his head. The Snapple bottle busted in his hand which required several stitches.

The punch line is that Buzz Kill and I were at the ER with Jojo until nearly 4:00 in the morning because his dad wanted to send one of the siblings to the ER to get Jojo. The dad doesn't speak English so I don't know why that was the case. I only know the doctors had to tell him they would call child protective services if an adult didn't come to pick up the minor child. Once he heard that, the dad was there in less than 30 minutes. All this while the poor kid was having a CAT scan. One interesting and helpful note -- in New York City, if the doctors check for substances in the blood, they don't share this information with the parents. This news was especially welcome since I was concerned my kid would be held responsible which would doubtless lead to some sort of law suit.

Now, I agree with my son that being high had nothing to do with Jojo falling over. Plenty of high people walk while drinking Snapple every day and don't wind up in the emergency room. The problem was that my son is not allowed to buy weed from Random Doormen because he could be observed and busted. Baby was trying to be cool in front of his new friends and bought weed from friend's connection in public. The bad boy had to be grounded and a week's worth of obnoxious teenage whining ensued wherein I had to explain why I am allowed to buy weed and he isn't. He is allowed to contribute his allowance money when someone else is buying weed for the night - but Baby is not allowed to get a First Offense. A very reasonable rule, in my opinion.

The next thing you know, I had ten teenagers over Thanksgiving weekend. Only three remained constant. The other seven changed any time they went out and came back. But they are all pleasant children my son met at summer camp in Vermont - a brilliant place run by Deadheads and Quakers where the high school boys and girls skinny dip together after they spend the morning tending their organic farm.

They are lively, delightful teenagers and as such have no clue how noisy they are. Unfortunately, my neighbor Roz knows exactly how noisy they are because her bedroom is on the other side of my son's room. They share a common wall we call the Roz Wall which has led us to name her Area 51. I sent Area 51 flowers at the end of Thanksgiving weekend since I spent the whole time policing the noise. It drove me so crazy that I was considering switching rooms with him so that I butted up against Area 51. I dismissed that notion, however, not simply because it's a hassle to move the rooms but because on the occasional nights when that charming man sleeps over, I have been known to be fairly noisy myself.

The next week was also difficult because Baby got a bad report card for the first quarter. Normally he gets straight A's but this time he got two B's so drastic steps were in order. Buzz Kill called the principal and got copies of Baby's day to day grades in English and History. Baby gets either A+'s or Zeros depending on whether he finds the subject matter interesting or not. The F's and Zeros were just on homework or quizzes but I found myself in a parenting quandary since we have all agreed that Baby should not get in trouble for smoking weed as long as he gets straight A's. Baby's point that he'd think homework was boring whether he'd been smoking weed or not was valid, so I couldn't ground him from smoking weed until his grades came out for the semester. The very idea of grounded a kid from smoking weed for a certain length of time sounded exceedingly goofy to me - and besides, Baby is not ALLOWED to smoke weed per se. He just doesn't get in trouble for smoking weed as long as he gets straight A's. The two B's stood out painfully.

It has been Baby's habit to hang out with his buddies right after school then come home, play Xbox Live, have dinner and then do his homework. After a lengthy discussion, Baby convinced me that the problem wasn't smoking weed since most of the time he and his buddies didn't smoke weed after school. The problem is that he thinks doing homework is a drag. Who can argue with that? We agreed that he must come straight home from school from now on, but as long as his sweet little head is on his pillow by 10:45 during the week, he can go out after finishing his homework. All was right with the world. When Mr. Charming heard about this solution, he declared that I am a Republican's Nightmare as a parent. At first I felt criticized, but I think it's a compliment.

I was perfectly satisfied with this outcome until last weekend when the little bastard pulled a fast one. He was supposed to spend the night with his father (aka Buzz Kill). I was out with two girlfriends at Gramercy Tavern - a trendy restaurant downtown filled with lovely people. However, the pulled pork sandwich I had for dinner was entirely too fatty,and the place takes itself too seriously which automatically means Gramercy Tavern gets a bad review from Menopausal Stoners -- an especially bad review because even the bar tenders take themselves seriously.

Just before midnight I got a call from Buzz Kill, which I let go into voice mail, saying that Baby wanted to sleep in his own bed because he was very tired. I wasn't surprised to hear from Baby shortly after that asking is his friend Joshua (pseudonym) could sleep over since the sleepy excuse sounded like complete BS to me. I gave permission for Josh to hang out and said I'd be home soon.

As it happened, Josh asked some girls over and they brought a very noisy friend named Scott who shouted in Italian whenever he felt he needed more attention. Although everyone was gone when I got home, Area 51 had called the doorman on the kids twice. When Buzz Kill went to see her the next morning, she reported that when she knocked on the wall - her typical way of telling the kids to pipe down - they knocked back. Anyone familiar with Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat will remember the troubled Goldfish repeatedly admonishing: He should not be here when your mother is out. Area 51 was the Goldfish that night.

Baby is grounded again. I am very disappointed and pissed because I can tolerate a lot of foolishness, but I hate it when someone takes advantage of my good nature. Baby learned the valuable lesson that his friends won't necessarily respect his requests which he found surprising. Naturally I remain thoroughly proud of Baby - but we have to change rooms for sure now which may lead to a whole new set of problems with Area 51. The good news is that I get to redecorate and Baby and Buzz Kill have to do all the work as part of Baby's consequences.

There has only been one sad event in this current episode grounding which had to do with Friday night. Normally, I don't smoke weed when Baby is home but it was Friday after work and I couldn't help it. I thought for sure no one would notice. Evidently the way I was dancing to the Christmas music in the grocery store made him suspect something. He leaned over and said, "You are sooooo stupid." I was offended because I thought he said, "You are soooo stoned." I gave him the response I have taught him to use when someone accuses him of being stoned which is, "I don't know why you'd say such a thing." The conversation that followed in the cereal aisle left me sorrowfully exposed. It is very difficult to maintain a position of authority when you can't keep a straight face and your son tries to make you fall for tracer tricks in the check out line. We thought that exploding finger thing was funny in high school, too, so I can't blame him - but it is embarrassing.

Last night, I authorized a night off for good behavior. His father agreed he could spend time with a couple of friends who Buzz Kill likes. I just wanted to get high in peace. I found myself saying in all seriousness, "Grounded means you have to be home by 11:00."

I suspect I am a Republican Nightmare.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Black Man by Association

On the day of Halloween – in the year 2003, which qualifies as modern times -- I was out with my friend who I will call Rhet since he insists on remaining nameless. We were dashing up to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to get tickets for a performance later that night. Much Halloween Hoopla: Giant Puppets, costumes of course, music, and classic silent films.

We were in ordinary clothes and it wasn't even dark when we stood on the corner of 100th and Amsterdam to get a taxi up to the Cathedral. I am not a wealthy woman by any means, but I am well accessorized and as fair-skinned as a person of European descent can be unless s/he's completely Nordic. It has always been my job to hail taxis when I’m out with my Brown-skinned friends because it is well known that in New York City, no matter what neighborhood you are in, most taxi drivers see WHITE WOMAN LOOKING FOR A TAXI and cut across lanes of traffic. Viola, there they are – unless it’s 4:00 on a weekday then I’m as screwed as everyone else.

Rhet is a big black man – any way you look at it. His head was shaved bald at the time, too, I’m nearly certain. He doesn’t look a thing like a drug dealer or a pimp. As it happens, he's gay as a Christmas Picnic. A veritable Big Black Poofda. He waited on the side walk while I stood in the oncoming traffic with my arm at the appropriate angle. A few minutes later, a taxi glided to a stop right in front of me. I could perfectly reach the door handle, and had even started to open the door when the driver saw a big, black man coming to get in the car and damn near took my hand off as he sped away like Smokey and the Bandit.

I was shocked and insulted. I stood gaping at the vanishing taxi. Rhet said casually, “What? You thought it was a legend?”

I had heard about the bit on Letterman showing a black actor and a white ex-con getting taxis. It was like Denzel Washington gets ditched and Ted Bundy gets a ride. The story was all over town when it first appeared. Naturally, I was aware that my friends and neighbors of color were discriminated against by taxi drivers -- it's why I always hailed the taxis in the first place. But, in addition to being a white woman, I was even a blonde in 2003. No one had ever left me standing on the curb; it went against the laws of nature. I was stunned.

Rhet and I walked up to the Cathedral. He was very pleasant and didn’t say, “Welcome to my world, darling,” but I couldn’t help remembering the stories he’d told me about the looks he received when antiquing on the East Side and one particularly distressing episode with a shop clerk back when he was a kid.

It's 2007 now, and we still read about inequities in the Times. We go see Hairspray on Broadway and are satisfied at being enlightened and civilized - but racism is alive and thriving. Loving Gay and Lesbian couples can be together for years but don't have the same rights under the law as millions of tacky married couples - fill in the blank with your own awful relatives or any number of despicable celebrities.

Let's not forget the people who have gone to jail and lost their voting rights just for selling marijuana. Or those countless kids in the military getting shot at in Iraq while Halliburton employees drive by in better equipped vehicles.

No wonder I smoke dope and watch Pee Wee's Playhouse.

As much as I hate to get off the couch, I suspect it's time to fire up that protesting spirit while I'm firing up the bong. For the moment, I'm telling anyone who will listen that the world would be a kinder, gentler place if more people smoked a little weed. We all need equality under the law, and we need to stop this war.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Samhain and Halloween parties

Samhain is this week sometime. Mercury is also in retrograde, which always sucks, but that is irrelevant where Samhain is concerned.

Celts celebrate Samhain like we celebrate everything - bonfires, special herbs and drinks and wild fucking. Samhain is the time of year when this world and the other world are easiest to cross between. The other world is where dead people are and a bunch of other stuff anyone who has done the reading will already know. The Romans ran our pagan ancestors into the woods calling them witches, and now it's Halloween. They must have made money off it somehow. For a modern day Roman Imperialist Jackass see George W. Bush.

I'm off to a Halloween party. At the moment, I'm not strictly sober - but I had to stop for a moment to remember a dear friend named Lesley. She passed a while ago. She was only 31 when she died from a blood clot in her leg. Lesley had a little PR company called "No Screaming" that handled a lot of rappers. At her funeral in Newark, some of the rappers sang gospel so well that Lesley could soar on to Glory straight through the roof of the church on the strength of their voices.

She would want to know that I bought a fabulous outfit for her funeral which I'm wearing to the party. Black skirt and top dripping in black lace - very pricey but in the dressing room I could hear her voice telling me to get it.

For Halloween this year I'm going as myself - I've never done that before. It's been especially hard to be myself at all these last twenty years or so on account of being married to Buzz Kill. I can't get into that now, though, or I'll be very late to the party. I will say this, though: On the first Christmas we spent together as a married couple, he presented me with a Leona Helmsley outfit: a terry cloth bathrobe, tiara and a long wand. If I knew then what I know now about his sexuality, I would have (Censored in case my kid finds this). The point, however, is that the tiara he gave me has always been too small which I believe is a metaphorical summation of our entire marriage. When someone wants you to wear a tiara that is too small - you need a new tiara.

PS: Next weekend the party's at my place. We're celebrating the successful run of a dear friend's Off-Broadway play AND Samhain. Blood Orange Martini punch and Special Herbs for everyone.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Granny the Ho

Granny the Ho is moving in with my mother on account of she's fixing to die (Granny - not my mother). Granny went into the hospital last week because she couldn't breathe. They found fluid in her lungs which was the result of a little heart attack she'd apparently had a week or two earlier but hadn't noticed. My cousin and fellow menopausal stoner went with Granny to the cardiologist in Carson City yesterday where they were told that Granny would be better off in Houston because the altitude in Tahoe makes breathing more difficult for old people. Never mind the petrochemicals, car, truck and SUV exhaust and swamp gas in Houston.

I can't decide whether Granny or my mother will be more miserable. Not only is Houston ugly as hell, but Mother will also be checking Granny's pulse every time she takes a snooze. She'll be holding a compact mirror under her nose to see if she breathing all the while wishing she'd hurry up and die. Mother's been holding a grudge against Granny ever since she was in the 5th grade when Granny and a Girlfriend went into a bar and left Mom in the backseat of the car babysitting the girlfriend's two kids. Mom was also pretty pissed off at Granny when she got a phone call from her bio-dad in 1966 - over 20 years after Granny told Mom he was dead.

My father, whose actions and words have become more random since he stroked and fell off the ladder two years ago after Hurricane Rita didn't hit Houston, is the wild card here. He may very likely kick Granny down the stairs after six months of this foolishness. He'll sing his favorite Roger Miller song, "You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you put your mind to it," as he puts his foot to Granny's backside. Fortunately, they're all in Texas where you can get away with that shit.

If we're lucky, Granny will pass in much the same way as Mashu did. Granny has circulation troubles in her legs so whenever she has visited Mother in the past, she "runs laps" around the swimming pool in the back yard. Poor old Mashu was taking his morning constitutional out by the pool when he had a heart attack and fell into the jacuzzi. Dad fished Mashu out, and Mom took the dog to the vet for an autopsy to make sure they hadn't let him drown. Here's Mashu in 1986, rest his doggy soul:




Granny the Ho has already made it clear that once she's dead, she wants her ashes scattered over the mountains around Tahoe. The family agrees it is much more practical to cremate her in Houston, then send Granny back to Tahoe in a jar. I was telling my son about these developments, pausing occasionally to sob, when the boy told me that I sounded like a crazy Southern aunt. It then came to me that we're getting set up for another Tennessee Williams play. Thank Heavens this one centers around the substance abusers and sluts instead of the violent drunken pervs on my dad's side of the family - although now that I think about it, my uncle Jenifer's funeral might be entertaining.

NOTE: For those of you not familiar with my Granny the Ho who had five husbands, my scandalous Uncle Jenifer (pictured left) and other sundry Southern Gothic relatives: you're just going to have to wait for my book. There is entirely too much to this story that should not be said on the Internet - not only because my own kid might read this blog, but also because I don't want to be the one spreading the sacred female secrets of Menopausal Stoners to other people's children. It's much more fun to save certain topics for after the kids have gone to bed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Perpetual Adolescence, cont.

A word on fashion for women of a certain age
When trying to present a fun-loving, sensual persona, especially one directed toward heterosexual men, it's very important that the terms saggy-assed and weather beaten do not go along with poontang or piece of tail. There are numerous solutions, most of them found in foundation garments that move smoothly into the bedroom.

Considering the premise that being in a state of perpetual adolescence makes a person a bad role model for kids, I have to wonder if the population Diana West addresses has a ton more money than my friends and I do. We have all chosen family, friends and fun - laughter and good food - weed, whites and wine over job titles, long hours and six figure salaries. They could be those people with SUV's and taking their kids on expensive Mediterranean cruises like it's educational when they're really shopping for pricey crap and trapped in a buffet line with 2500 people.

That kind of person is to be avoided at all costs. I couldn't dress like my teenager if I wanted to because I'm spending all my money on his clothes, the mortgage, marijuana, lingerie and the occasional case a descent wine. I'm broke by noon.

CNN vs Cartoon Network
It is possible that I'm obsessing on this Diana West interview in Newsweek because someone felt compelled to send me the link which indicates that being a 48 year old woman smoking weed barefoot in Levis sounds like a perpetual adolescent to him, even facetiously. However, in the surrounding discussion on the Internet, someone sited a statistic showing more people over 18 were watching Cartoon Network than CNN. It doesn't take a PhD to know that's because CNN sucks. They say the same thing all day long just like hurricane chasers on the Weather Channel. Further, if a person is looking for news, s/he better look somewhere else to get a relatively complete, objective source. They don't give topics enough time on CNN, and when they do it's a bunch of argufying assholes.

I'm delighted that my son and his friend (the same kid who was watching Snakes on a Plane) saw Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama on Jon Stewart. At least the kids know who those people ARE. It's possible that George Will and Diana West chastise perpetual adolescents because their targeted demographic also uses there, they're and their interchangeably despite having a high school diploma. If that is so - then I agree with their every assertion on this topic with one exception.

The deplorable state of Standard English usage in America could be blamed on the distribution of wealth, so that working families couldn't care less about meeting the grammatical standards of the wealthy jerks who have been in charge of the government and economy at least since the Sixties were lost to Yuppies. These are the same jerks who have arranged the system so that legislators, insurance companies, health care organizations and pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in keeping everyone adequately medicated for modern survival. My contention is that if weed were easily and legally accessible, then people might be more relaxed and thoughtful.

Party on, Dudes. Be Excellent to Each Other (Bill & Ted, 1989).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Menopausal Stoner Response to Diana West Interview in Newsweek

Diana West is currently trying to sell a book she wrote around the notion of perpetual adolescence and the abdication of adult responsibility. In a Newsweek interview (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20519355/site/newsweek/), she sites NY Times article, "The Boys in the Band are in AARP" (June 17, 2007). Apparently, old guys having the same kind of fun they did in High School sets a bad example for today's youth.

I probably qualify as someone she would say is a poor role model for my child since I'm a pot smoking 48 year-old woman. However, I've always exercised my authority with my child. I took him to tour the police precinct down the block when he was in Kindergarten. When I asked the desk officer to please show the boy what happens to all the people who have not listened to their mothers, she was delighted to participate. She let him sit on a long bench with shackles and everything. The other day, he and a friend were in the living room watching Snakes on a Plane. Both sixteen year-old boys agreed that I'd be perfect playing the Samuel L. Jackson role which says to me I may be a Menopausal Stoner, but I have plenty of mutherfuckin' authority.

Further, every Menopausal Stoner I've ever met has enough sense to dress their age - or at least like the old hippies they are. We get high and make fun of those old broads with tanned hide skin on Madison Avenue dressed up like the Charmed girls. We also ridicule balding men who have never been rock stars yet insist on wearing leather pants. Imagine George Costanza in leather pants - a bad role model for anyone no matter what age.

She describes a life with no beginning, middle or end, referencing Lionel Trilling. Trilling may be onto something, but I haven't seen his research. Diana West, at least in this interview, doesn't adequately explain how fun loving older folks are bad role models. It doesn't logically follow that adult responsibility has been avoided by people who are paying the bills, staying out of jail and saving for retirement. It also seems inherently necessary for a person to admit s/he is not a teenager anymore before joining AARP in the first place. If I'm reading this article correctly, West's premise is that responsible parents are boring old codgers.

As someone with two advanced degrees in Education and over fifteen years experience as a nursery school teacher, I will agree that many parents seem to be afraid to be the authority figure children require to feel secure. Kids who don't have limits have too much power over their grown-ups and get anxious. Anxious kids frequently are misdiagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities. This stuff is old news, and frankly, I don't think it has a thing to do with still finding the things you did as a teenager fun. It has to do with being an idiot. A person can get stoned or play in a garage band and be a wonderful role model. Buying your clothes from Lands' End doesn't guarantee you'll be a good parent. All kinds of people dress and act their age, but they are still butt heads about making the world a less frenzied, consumerist, apathetic, polluted and violent place.

Forrest Gump may have said it best: Stupid is as stupid does.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why We Wax and Me

One of the nice things about being a Menopausal Stoner is that when we were kids, we watched the Sixties on TV. Friends and Family may have gone to Peace Marches or to do volunteer work for local social or political causes - and sometimes they took us along.

There were so many things going on back then that it was hard to absorb and process them all at once - but they were all there on the TV news: The Civil Rights Movement, The Democratic Convention in Chicago, Women's Liberation, Sexual Liberation, Make Love not War, The War The War and The War, Woodstock, The Beatles, with a Man on the Moon every now and then thrown in for kicks.

I read somewhere that once kids determine a role for themselves within the family, they begin look beyond their life at home and at school to the larger outside world. It was during this time - like when we were around eight to twelve years old - that we received a steady diet of the Nightly News. By the time we were teenagers, we had heard "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," even if only on TV. Then we saw our country shoot four college students at Kent State.

I thought for sure we'd all die in a nuclear war. We didn't. But as we've gotten older, we've had an opportunity to synthesize the messages coming at us from all directions back then into a personal philosophy.

Before I agreed to be interviewed for "Why We Wax", I was already thinking about all the social chaos back then, and feminism in particular, because I had been puzzled by something a charming man of my acquaintance had done. He was standing right next to me in my kitchen while I struggled on my tip toes to reach a wine glass. Where I come from, he should have reached it for me without a comment. My mother and I discussed the situation and concluded that since he has always lived up here in the North and is a little bit younger than me, he must have been at college with women who considered themselves feminists and reprimanded men for daring to suggest they weren't capable of simple tasks like reaching glasses and carrying bags. Women in Texas are different. I can't remember any woman ever blaming a man's behavior on his attitude about women. An asshole is an asshole no matter what the reason. I imagined that if Ann Richards were on that dove hunt with Dick Cheney she'd have knocked him in the head with the butt of her rifle and called him a moron while everyone else held off the Sheriff until Dick's blood alcohol level dropped. My Granny the Ho hadn't even heard of Feminism when she cut bald spots all over the head of her third husband. She just took care of business.

So I had already been thinking a lot about feminism before I was interviewed for Why We Wax, and then I started considering sexual pleasure and Brazilian bikini waxes from a feminist perspective. During the interview, one of the producers asked if I thought some women get them just because their husbands or boyfriends want them to. I answered that as I recall, Gloria Steinem had once said every woman in America is one man away from welfare - so I could see how some women might feel compelled to get waxed for someone else's benefit.

For me, though, great sex is my right and privilege as a human being. I don't know if I think that because of the Women's Movement or because of the Sexual Revolution brought about by the Pill or because sensuality runs deep in my Celtic blood. I've been dedicated to reintegrating healthy sexuality into my life since I got divorced last year, and orgasms are a top priority. My first Brazilian may have resulted from a complete misunderstanding at my favorite Korean nail salon, but once I got one, I learned that sex really is better with a Brazilian. If it's my right to have the best sex possible, and having a Brazilian makes it better - then having a Brazilian is, for me, a Feminist Imperative.

Menopausal Stoners

Who is a Menopausal Stoner?
Anyone who watched body bags coming home from Vietnam while they ate Swanson TV dinners qualifies as a Menopausal Stoner, with men being known as Manopausal Stoners. Most of us were born a little too late to count as Baby Boomers and were still in elementary school when our older brothers, cousins, friends and relatives were in danger from the draft lottery. While we ourselves may have escaped that threat, we did emerge from that time convinced we would be graveyard dead before we ever saw the age of 25. Substance abuse – either current or historical – is not a requirement. All you need is a healthy dose of outrage and dismay at America’s sociopolitical climate.

The Genesis of Menopausal Stoners
Menopausal Stoners came about because several girlfriends - all over 40 - happened to be on Vicodin at the same time due to medical conditions. It also just so happened that these girlfriends had all started smoking weed again after years and years of restricting their substance use to alcohol. Moms often feel compelled to quit smoking weed which is probably a good thing overall, but once the kids are gone half the time there's no reason not to get high every now and then - unless of course you can't find any weed.

Discussing the concept of a Menopausal Stoner with random folks I met anywhere from on the bus in the city to a microbrewery near Plymouth, VT where an enchanting creek runs beside the deck showed conclusively that lots of people were getting high. And, except for the legalities involved, as long as we are as responsible with smoking as we are with drinking -- why shouldn't we?

Additional research showed that Twenty Something clerks at convenience stores were particularly amused by the idea that some fifty year old women were not simply dumb or dingy customers – the old broads were high. Apparently, these youngsters thought they were the only ones who got high. That impression had to be instantaneously corrected.

About this time my 16 year old son came home stoned with a couple of friends. Since he had clearly made his choice in this area, I figured I could come out of the closet with the weed. There is no communal bong in the living room, and no minors are allowed to smoke weed in my apartment. That is my privilege since I pay the mortgage. Further, my kid and I agreed that getting high together would be entirely too weird. It's a boundary thing . . .

I do, however, consider it my duty as a concerned and attentive parent to provide good munchies. Between bursts of goofy laughter, the guys enjoy treats from Trader Joe’s. They like those crunchy little organic chocolate chip cookies, especially with ice cream, and the chocolate almond tart. It really is a lot like June Cleaver’s or Donna Reed’s TV house – except the mom and/or the children are occasionally stoned. Also, I never bake my own cookies since that generally ends badly, and I’m a single mom since my former husband, Buzz Kill, had to be sent back to his mother. But that’s another story.

Not long ago, I was reading about the status of medicinal use of marijuana in the state legislature when the man-child entered. I looked up from the New York Times and said, "Son, I have concluded that it behooves us as a family to work towards the decriminalization of marijuana." He quickly warmed to this topic - going straight for legalization and his plan to package spleefs to sell vending machines like the ones in Japan. A boy can dream.

Decriminalization of marijuana is not merely a project for the young. Menopausal Stoners will be working on this task as soon as we put down the pipe and figure something out. For the moment, I'll continue to listen to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with a new ear. Our generation must Get Back to the Garden (yes, I know Joni wrote it) at least figuratively in order to stop this country from going to Hell in a Hand basket. Anyone with a brain can see it's been thoroughly screwed ever since Ronald Reagan told all the white people to quit with the social justice stuff, move to the suburbs and shop. That's why we smoke weed for crying out loud. Granted, loosing the 60's was depressing, but we owe it to our children to mobilize. Hence, Menopausal Stoners.

Welcome.

Patricia E. Nolan

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