Pubdate: Wed, 30 Sep 2015
Source: Seattle Weekly (WA)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 Village Voice Media
Author: Michael A. Stusser


How Weed Enhances Your Imagination. or Mine, at Least.

I'm clearly not as bright as Steve Jobs or Carl Sagan or Oprah, all 
of whom used weed at some point to energize their already wildly 
firing synapses. (As did President Obama, Stephen Jay Gould, Margaret 
Mead, Bill Gates, George Washington, Maya Angelou, Martha Stewart, et 
al.) But marijuana has helped spur my own creative process, or, if 
nothing else, helped me make connections I might otherwise have 
missed. I'll give ya some examples.


In 1989, I went on a brainstorming weekend with my high-school pal 
Mike Schiller. Our idea was to hole up in the woods and try to come 
up with the greatest invention ever-something that might actually do 
some societal good. And, like Steve Jobs, we brought a ton of weed to 
our imagineering weekend. Between bong hits, we put hundreds of 
innovative ideas up on a whiteboard: a real-estate company for 
energy-efficient houses; a volunteer-recruitment and matchmaking 
firm; The Home-Eco Audit Kit; Organic Meals on Wheels. After running 
out of ideas (and cannabis), the two of us decided on a board game 
about ecology called EarthAlert: The Active Environmental Game. A 
combination of Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary, EarthAlert even had 
spots on the board where you could earn "oxygen units" by actually 
doing something then and there to help save the planet, such as 
turning off lights that didn't need to be on, eliminating junk mail, 
or writing a letter to the president about an issue that concerned 
you. Our slogan: "Saving the Planet Has Never Been So Much Fun!" The 
game (printed on recycled paper, of course) was a mini-success, and 
led us to follow-ups including The Doonesbury Game (with cartoonist 
Garry Trudeau) and Hear Me Out, which was sold at Starbucks. Speaking 
of Starbucks, Mike and I should have gone with our second choice from 
that weeded weekend: A chain of sustainable eco-coffee shops. Woulda 
made us billionaires.

The Dead Guy Interviews

I've always loved history, but it's an intimidating and often boring 
subject. Back in 2000 or so I got totally baked (see the theme 
emerging here?) and attended a play called Dirty Blonde at ACT 
Theatre about the legendary Mae West. It was full of wonderful 
dialogue and real-life characters, and gave me an idea to "interview" 
historical figures in a modern-day setting; how fun would it be to 
talk to Cleopatra about her keys to success (and fling with Caesar!), 
quiz Dr. Freud about his mommy issues, or ask Beethoven what was on 
his iPod? The editors of mental_floss magazine agreed to run my 
indica-induced idea as a regular column, and these oft-stoned 
sessions were turned into a book, The Dead Guy Interviews: 
Conversations With 45 of the Most Accomplished, Notorious, and 
Deceased Personalities in History (Penguin, 2007). As Churchill once 
said, "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."

Eggplant Theory

My final example is less entrepreneurial-or ganjapreneurial, I should 
say-but still an important stoned epiphany: Turns out I'm an 
Eggplantatarian. The concept came to me years ago when I found myself 
high as a kite in a Thriftway produce aisle; before me was a gleaming 
colony of Purple Brain Pods, also known as aubergine, garden eggs, or 
eggplants. As I gazed at the violet enclave of nightshade, I felt the 
hum of their consciousness; I could see the ages-some older with fine 
lines in their black skins, others smooth as a baby's butt. I 
carefully grasped one of the purple perennials, and could sense its 
throbbing heart. Solanum melongena! It pulsed and wobbled. I felt 
like I could communicate with Eggie as it vibrated gently in my palm. 
"Don't eat me, Human. I'm meant for greater things . . . "

So now any time an eggplant (aka Guinea squash!) is present-at the 
store, in a home, or, God forbid, on a menu (murder via parmigiana di 
melanzane)-I share my clearly out-there theory about my mindful 
Eggplant friends. No doubt people think I'm insane on the subject, 
but they also feel that way about Tom Cruise and Scientology, 9-11 
conspiracy theorists, and the UFO crowd, so I'm in good company.

"Sure," I say with downtrodden eyes, "you can order the baba 
ghanoush, if you don't mind beating and charring and eating an 
intelligent species for dinner. But I'll have to pass, as I now need 
to live up to my cosmic awakening." Luckily, I never did really like 
the taste of eggplant, anyway. So I got that goin' for me . . .

I'm stoned now. Perhaps it's time to come down from my high . . . and 
return to Earth. Or perhaps I'll elevate once again, and attempt to 
come up with a new invention or book or-better yet-a device that 
allows humans to communicate with eggplants!
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom