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Too Much Of A Good Thing

The problem with the Mendocino County marijuana industry is quality control. The growers have honed their skills over the last couple decades and now they’re just too good at what they do. The pot is of “high” quality, but the high itself is unbearable.

With names like “Train Wreck” and “Utter Annihilation,” the primo bud of today will put you in an extreme stupor. Take one too many bong hits and you’re catatonic. There’s not much you can do but lie down. Pray that the phone doesn’t ring and that uninvited guests don’t show up. Pull down the blinds and lock the doors. Hide.

Sure, some of the paranoia may be a direct result of the bud’s THC. But some of it comes from the realization that you are no longer a functional human being. You are a walking vegetable, or a staggering string bean, assuming you’re able to move at all. You are now without dignity, and time must pass before you can appear without shame before your fellow man.

As you cower in the bedroom and watch the TV flicker, you try to focus your mind on a line of self inquiry: How did you get here? Are you drooling? Are you saying this out loud or just thinking it? What happened to your pants?

You must focus. Turn the channel to the O’Reilly Factor, but there’s so much spinning going on in the No Spin Zone that you feel dizzy. You take a shot at Larry King, who is getting a kiss from Marlon Brando on the mouth. Turn off the TV. Pick up the AVA and try to read Off The Record, but it’s a blur. Small print, kind of fuzzy, and your mind is unable to connect the words or the sentences. Mike Sweeney… bomber… Cherney… fraud… incompetent judges. What? Turn the page and you’re reading a letter from some guy named MacQueen, but it’s like deja vu — didn’t you read that last week? You’re losing it. Big time. Someone named Charmian has a recipe you know will come in handy when the munchies kick in, but why risk burning down the house?

As much as you looked forward to getting high, you’re now praying for the buzz to be cut in half. Not sobriety, mind you. Just bring it down a few notches, restore some semblance of sanity and escape from this self-induced stoney hell.

It’s just too much of a good thing.

But it wasn’t always this way. In college I used to fire up a few doobies and get that warm fuzzy feeling. The colors would brighten up, I’d eat some biscuits and then proceed with the day’s activities, like going on a lazy bike ride or visiting the Willits Museum. I could talk. I could function. I was stoned, but it was nice. I waved at the tourists on the Skunk Train and if they talked to me I could give them The Good News: They had seen everything there was to see in Willits and were free to leave.

But now I don’t dare smoke the stuff unless it’s late at night and I’m prepared to crawl under the covers and suck my thumb. I twitch. I drool. I’m too high to stay awake, too high to sleep. It’s so strong that it’s not enjoyable anymore. Just give me a couple glasses of wine. Now that’s good medicine, at least in moderation.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking. I’m a lightweight. A big pussy who can’t handle his weed. And what the hell am I doing complaining about “good” pot?

What if the same thing that’s happened with marijuana happened to you beverage of choice?

Imagine that wonderful feeling of chugging down a cold beer while sitting under an oak tree at City Park in Willits. As city planners nearby conceive of new ways to uglify the town and approve building permits for houses with architectural styles that scream “A car lives here!,” you pop open a can of Keystone. It’s cool. It’s refreshing and it tastes oh so good. After the first one, maybe you’ll have a second. Maybe even a third. But you know your limit. It’s not until you’re heading to the Circle K to get your second six-pack that things will start getting weird, but you’ve had time to contemplate your impending bender. You know where you’re brain is going (at least up until you get there!)

But what if someone changed the beer formula, but not the taste? Your beer was no longer just a beer — not even a bold Boonville ale. It was now pure-grain, liver destroying juggernaut juice — the equivalent of a gallon or two of Everclear, crammed into that little Keystone can. You try to sip the beer, but even in small quantities you’re suddenly swimming in Whisky River, streaking through town naked and trying to mount the Willits Arch. Once again, too much of a good thing.

I suppose the high-grade bud is a botanical miracle and something that the growing community is proud of. But, as is demonstrated by Pamela Anderson’s busom and Michael Jackson’s nose job, sometimes you can overdo it.

(Rocky Mulligan lives on the outskirts of Willits and works in the lowest ranks of the restaurant industry.)

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