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A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot

In my little town
I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all.

– Simon and Garfunkel, My Little Town

Hello my old friends Paul and Art,

I’m just sitting here chilling out in the silent darkness of a late night spinning some discs and thinking your song is great but even great songs age as do we all and so I want to tell you that as a NYC born and bred boy like you guys who moved out to the country some years ago that in my little town many young people grew up not believing that God keeps his eye on us all because they grew up not believing in God, and even many of their parents, baby-boomer believers in hands-off parenting and meditation and yoga weekends didn’t keep an eye on them, not at all, since the parents thought of themselves as super cool and so the kids were allowed to fend for themselves in a most culturally liberal life-style way, and then, when the kids got confused and screwed up and did various drugs, especially a lot of pot following on the Ritalin they were given for their “disabilities” and the anti-depression meds that fell out of the families’ medicine cabinets and of course booze, and I guess I should add some heroin and the other shit that’s around – man, it’s crazy – the parents were dumbfounded and couldn’t understand what went wrong and why their kids, even as they aged, were still kids like they the parents were, caught in a stream of lostness, an existential despair unaware of its despair, to quote my old friend Soren, so they lived in a haze of smoke and mirrors and that darkness you guys sang about where they suffered from socially-induced attention deficit disorder and floated in a culture of cultural self-awareness and eclectic New-Ageism feasting on organic food and nostalgia for penny candy and days at summer camp even as the town they settled in became an up-scaled high-tech movie set for millionaires in which the cool people could mingle with cooler people as the celebrities came and went and the out-of-towners all dressed in black like walking shades brought their money from Wall St. and high tech and financial institutions and the little town acquired a reputation as the hippest coolest place to visit and move to especially after 9/11 even before the town went to pot and allowed multiple pot stores to open in its small space and the lines of the desperadoes waiting for their legal fixes wound round and round and all the heads were spinning and dizzy with dreams of mashed potatoes and brownies unlike mom used to make but the money kept pouring in and the press went wild with popular stories of weed and more weed and the true believers in this enormous and shattering breakthrough of legal pot and brilliant entrepreneurial instant millionaires that would end their chronic pains and everyone would be dreamily happy and relaxed as they awaited redemption at the hands of the latest liberal avatar of Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama to ride to the rescue and save the country and ease all the pain caused by Mr. Pumpkin Head and his ilk, like what would be better, man, if you know what I mean, but there’s something a little weird with all this crazy excitement about getting high legally and paying for what you can grow, but I guess the town likes the tax revenue but I’m thinking what’s happened to old-fashioned DIY Yankee initiative and cool stuff like that in a town where the American Revolution was fought to allow the rich to build their McMansions and buy up the land to raise llamas and place Buddha statues and even their own little churches on and stuff like that but maybe I’m starting to get off topic a bit here so I should probably stop now while I’m ahead and on a high note about revolution and making the world safe for weed which should be the goal even though I’m not so sure aging hippies and their hipster kids will know how to use the stuff responsibly and stay off the road to ruin and avoid accidents while high and just chill out like I’m sure the USA will do once we get rid of the orange man and vote with my little town to return a Democrat to the White House so we can assume our responsibility to protect all those countries threatened by madmen like Gaddafi and Assad and maybe even do something about that demon Putin that will allow us little town folks to feel safe as once again God and the NSA keep their eyes on us all even while we are getting high which is our god given right as god fearing americans and we return to the old values that we all shared before we went down the New Jersey Turnpike looking for America, guys, Kathy ain’t the only one sleeping and your singer not the only one lost if you get my drift.

Here’s to chilling,

EJ

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Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely.  He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/

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