I’m a hippie survivalist. I came of age in the late ’70s/early ’80s, experimenting with weed and going to Grateful Dead shows while reading Soldier of Fortune magazine articles about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as the Pentagon and the Kremlin built enough Cold War nukes to barbecue the planet.
Flash back to 1978, when my friend and I bought a $10 gram of Columbian Gold off his brother and spent a weekend higher than kites. We were 10. Life will never be that wholesome or innocent again.
A few years later, Soldier of Fortune magazine seared the battle for Afghanistan into my pubescent American mind with color photos and bloody stories from the front lines. Then I began listening to the Grateful Dead.
Flash forward to 1984, when my friends and I climbed to the top of a windy Bay Area hill to illegally camp for the night. We watched Silicon Valley twinkle in the dark below, and then we climbed into our tent and hotboxed it with a pipeful of opiated Thai stick. I’ve never been so high before or since, and I never want to be again.
Between Dead shows, my bored teenage mind dreamed of joining the Mujahideen in their fight against the evil Soviet Empire. I wanted to smuggle arms to them, but instead I got hold of some Afghani hashish, and—acutely aware of the centuries of culture behind the aromatic product—smoked history.
Nowadays, pot is so strong that I don’t want to smoke it. If I ran the circus, I’d market a strain of 1986-quality “shake” for the older Gen X crowd. I’d sell 86™, the VW bug of the marijuana industry, in 35mm film canisters.
Will America’s current love affair with weed last? Who knows? Legal weed and electric cars and Afghani refugees flooding America are the stuff of my 8th-grade sci-fi dreams. The truth is, as California burns and the world heats towards an apocalyptic boiling point, we all have bigger fish to fry.
Which brings us back to my hippie-survivalist roots. In my idealized vision of the imminent greenhouse future, I spend my retirement in a neo-kibbutz in the Mendocino redwoods, where an organic garden is the center of our community. We grow vegetables and pot to Grateful Dead tunes each day, and armed with antique .303 Lee Enfield rifles and rusting RPGs, we trade hashish for salmon with pirate Russian fishermen on the local beach each night. No one ever fires a shot, and we all part stoned and satiated friends, as the gods of California have always wanted it to be.
Mark Fernquest lives and writes in Sebastopol.