Two peanuts walk into The Shanty... uh ... we'll get back to that.
Often when I feel as though I'm lacking perspective in my seemingly hectic life, I like to take a long weekend and escape to Southern Humboldt to hang out with my many opinionated grower buddies -- "opinionated" might be redundant, fair enough. It's enlightening -- and to me important -- to hear lofty views on the purpose for human existence that you'd be unlikely to hear from anyone that toils here in metropolitan Eureka. I've always felt to "keep it real" you gotta venture outta that comfort zone. I guess SoHum keeps me balanced.
On a recent trip, I found myself in a heated debate with my friend Grover over last year's controversial Prop 19. After taking a fatty bong rip, I offered up that it seemed odd to me that he and his associates had essentially voted to remain criminals. Grover disagreed with my assessment.
He told me of a similar situation that's currently an issue in North Korea. According to Grover, the North Korean people have an affinity for elf meat similar to our fondness for pot. (Yes, they have elves in North Korea. Check Wikipedia.)
Problems have arisen, however. Like the Humboldt marijuana trade, the elf meat industry -- which is primarily focused in urban areas -- remains primarily underground and unregulated. Kim Jong Il has for years hoped to develop a profitable food tourism industry to cash in on North Korea's burgeoning image as the world's premiere elf meat destination, but those that harvest elves have thus far skillfully resisted bringing their operations under government control. Quite a feat in the DPRK! The fear for elf farmers, Grover claims, is that the price of elf meat would plummet and they would not recover.
As my conversation with Grover lingered long into the frigid Humboldt night, he expressed that he felt a certain solidarity with North Korean elf meat harvesters. He didn't want to see his livelihood regulated. Neither did they. "But," he added, leaning in close as though he were telling me something he'd be embarrassed to reveal to the rest of his SoHum colleagues, "I do understand that at some point the allure of profiting off of the Humboldt stereotype will be too great to the majority of its citizens. It'll happen in North Korea too." He shook his head, somehow defeated. After I commented I didn't think Humboldt or North Korea were as known for their underground delicacies as Grover was projecting, he held fast.
"Even if you refuse to accept it," he added, "to most outsiders who think about people in Humboldt, it's a given we love dope. Pyongyang, it's elves."
Oh! Completely unrelated. This weekend, Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m., the fine citizens of Humboldt will gather at the Arcata Theatre Lounge for the 20th Almost Annual Pun-off, a benefit for Food for People. Like a bad masseuse, this night is likely to rub you the wrong way as you watch puntestants battle for the coveted jar of Pepto Dismal. $15 plus a food-filled can can get you in the door, if you dare. Sorry, no kids (no kidding); it's for those 21 and over.
... Oh yeah! About those peanuts. The bartender asked, "Why the long face?" Uh, or something. Whatever.