Identification is a funny thing. What we align ourselves with defines us on some level, regardless of whether the alignment is made by thoughtful or unconscious decisions.
I have been keenly aware of custom license plates during my recent travels. Here is a small sampling I’ve come across, coupled with the musings that occurred to me while contemplating the meaning of these vanity tags: T•DRNKR – maybe an actual tea drinker, but could be a Tecate beer lover or an aficionado of Kermit the Frog memes. SKI•1 – easy enough, but then I wonder if someone in their family has the SKI•2 plate…and what about SKI•3? I also came across one a few days later that reads SKI•POW – so many questions. I crossed paths with a couple of sports fans. FN IRISH – I am assuming the F is for “fighting.” GO BRAVES – Georgia plates. A couple of music fans…possibly: SUMRWIND – Sinatra lover; A•ONE – Bumps Kendrick heavy. SOXOS – ahhhh, a palindrome! SHEBE – this person drives a Subaru and owns a Shiba Inu, or, I mused, maybe SHE just BE.
All of this got me thinking about what it means to “be something.” It gets pretty slippery, because there is the way in which you define a particular identification. This becomes a reality in your mind, but it can lead to conflict when that same term is defined differently by another person.
My identifications with cannabis have been varied – user, lover, buyer, seller, grower, felon, writer, consultant, and advocate. I have been actively involved with it for almost two-thirds of my days here on Earth. I have smoked thousands of joints, sold hundreds of pounds, nurtured hundreds of plants, and spent thousands of hours doing it. I have been called a stoner, a weedman, both a “hookup” and a “dealer” (same thing from different mouths, I think). I have made dozens of friends via La Vida Weeda, and have developed and deepened relationships with some of the now-favorite people I have had the good fortune to cross paths with. I have had the opportunity to interact with all you lovely folks – my DGO amigos! I also refrained from touching it for a period of three-quarters of a decade during my adult life.
Life changes. Identifications change. There is nary a trace of the current me that feels like a student or a teacher, two things I spent many years being. I can name the entire starting lineup of the Boston Red Sox from the late ’70s/early ’80s (Scott, Remy, Hobson, Burleson, Rice, Lynn, Yastrzemski), but I could not name nine current MLB players, so I guess I am not much of a baseball fan in 2018. I am a son, brother, uncle, nephew, grandson, husband (and maybe a few more things), but I am basically nothing to the two women I believed I would marry in my younger days. I have been listening to country music for about a year, the result of a cross-country trip through territory where it was the only music. People have cried laughing to discover this new proclivity.
One important thing I have learned through my wild, winding path is to take things as lightly as I can. The Buddha told us that attachment is suffering, and the Buddha was one sharp cookie. Cannabis is a huge helper in maintaining this mindset. There are days when I can almost literally watch my worries float away on the cloud of smoke I have just exhaled. It is one of the best feelings I know.
Take some time this week to look at your identifications – where did they originate? Are they helping or harming you? And, as much as you can, emulate our possible Japanese dog breed owner and just BE.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected]