Pubdate: Fri, 15 Nov 2013
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2013 Times-Standard
Author: John Chiv
Note: John Chiv is a freelance news and feature writer and local 
business consultant. Chiv has a local blog,


How to tell you are not a Humboldt native? Other than the obvious 
when your family has not been here for multiple generations, it is 
the ability to instantly know what certain words mean.

Anywhere else, you say trimmer and people's first thought usually 
would be an implement used for trimming off the unwanted or untidy 
parts of something. Anywhere else you say bud, people may think a 
cold beer or flower yet unopened. Here, we know what that means. Same 
goes for weed, pot, grower, hill. All these words have other 
meanings, but here in Humboldt these words have obvious associations.

Anywhere else, an unemployed plumber or electrician means someone 
looking for work. Here it means wads of cash in your pocket, untaxed; 
an obnoxious attitude and lame pickup lines.

When I moved here 10 years ago, I didn't get why the mall had a store 
full of shirts with 420 on them. It took me four years before I got 
clued in by someone. In the first couple years when I traveled to 
other parts of California and I told them where I was from, they 
would smirk and say, "Oh, you are from Humboldt." And I would wonder 
what that meant; now I give a disclaimer. I had no idea of Humboldt's 
reputation before I moved here. That brings a look of disbelief until 
I explain to people that the friends who told me about this place 
talked about the weather, the art and culture, the small town feel, 
the fog, but they did not mention pot because that is not a factor in 
their lives or mine.

Believe it or not, there are people whose lives don't revolve around 
marijuana. We even envision an economy other than weed, and some of 
us, a very rare breed, are allergic to it. That usually either 
elicits laughter from people here or a retort, "Well, then you moved 
to the wrong county, dude."

I realize for some people it is unthinkable that someone wouldn't wax 
poetic or get ecstatic about our local crop. Trust me, there is a 
whole universe out there, pot-free. Even in Humboldt where many 
people work, live, enjoy and boldly go where some Humboldtians have 
never gone before. And since we live in a free country, please 
respect my right and that of others to have our own beliefs.

I have been thinking of forming a pot-free Human Rights Group 
demanding our entitled pot-free zone, having some discrimination laws 
passed by the City Council and Board of Supervisors because I was not 
hired because I didn't have the right pot-i-tude.

Tolerance and respect work both ways.

I may not be cool in the Humboldt sense and I am OK with it. Humboldt 
has many things it could be known for; the next time I travel outside 
Humboldt, I hope people ask me about all those other things we take 
for granted.

I would rather get high on life, not escape it.
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