‚ÄúThe writer crafts their ideal world. In my world, everyone has really long conversations or just picks apart pop culture to death and everyone talks in monologue.‚ÄĚ‚Äď Kevin Smith
There is a handwritten note hanging above the desk in my office that reads ‚ÄúNo Buzzed Posting.‚ÄĚ Although this loose leaf warning is meant to prevent me from potentially embarrassing myself on social media after a few cocktails or several hits of a high-THC, trap-yapping sativa (probably both), it is also supposed to serve as a reminder from upper management (sober me) that I should never, never, ever, make any important decisions, aside from maybe what I‚Äôm having for dinner, once I‚Äôve entered the debauched land of the crocked. The cutoff, or so I used to think, was somewhere around six drinks. I have since come to realize that the actual number is closer to three. This is when the discerning editor in me goes off the deep end ‚Äď the time when I‚Äôm most likely to consent, without any discrimination whatsoever, to the various proposals, projects and interview requests that filter into my inbox on a daily basis ‚Äď the queries I would flat-out refuse during regular work hours. I mean, listen, I have certain interests ‚Äď a preferred beat, if you will, so, for the record, I‚Äôm never going to get overly excited about writing a story on a company and its new line of CBD¬†oil. Just sayin‚Äô. Unless the money is really good. But since it rarely is, I usually bypass those pitches. In fact, I like telling people no. Try it sometime. It will change your life.
But once cocktail hour comes around, and I start feeding my weary head with beers and buds to try and escape the horrors of the day, my inhibitions go numb and I become more agreeable ‚Äď an amendable pawn of sorts — to topics I would, in most cases, find extremely loathsome and boring. No matter how much I try to fight it, there is a certain point in the evening when I start thinking more in terms of ‚Äúwhy not‚ÄĚ rather than ‚Äúthere‚Äôs no freaking way.‚ÄĚ Believe me, I‚Äôve tried hard to embrace the Mr. Hyde. Many times I‚Äôve thought, ‚ÄúWhy fight this gruesome monster? It is just the frightened child inside of you trying to break down your comfort zone and open up some new opportunities.‚ÄĚ Of course, in this line of work, smashing any and all personal barriers is never a bad idea. So I‚Äôve tried to be its friend. Really I have. But I simply cannot embrace the beast and its desire to drag me straight to hell night after night.
Without fail, if I disregard the warning sign (and I do‚Ä¶often) I am destined to wake up in the middle of the night soaking in a puddle of guilt and regret, trying, first, to remember exactly what kind of gut churning nonsense I may have agreed to prior to passing out. From there, once the initial panic subsides, I‚Äôll spend the rest of the early morning hours trying to figure out how to travel back in time to erase my not-so-sober commitment. And just as I exhaust every single reasonable option for getting myself out of the booze-soaked, THC-infused conundrum that I got¬†myself into the dastardly alarm goes off, giving me no choice but to do the work. I would not put it past me to, one day, fake my own death in order to avoid the follow¬†through. It‚Äôs a sickness. Of this, I am fully aware. Still, I cannot seem to prevent this colossal blunder from happening time and again. I only mention it because this psychological malfunction of mine almost got the best of me earlier this week. Call this account a cautionary tale — call it cry for help. For me, it is a written confession and personal intervention.
It was Monday. Around five o‚Äôclock in the evening. The typing and constant brainstorming for story ideas had finally come to a screeching halt, allowing me to become fully immersed in intoxicating liquids and leaf. Cocktail hour was in full swing, the part of the day (usually a lot longer than an hour) that I use to lick my wounds and conjure enough guts to wake up in the morning and do it all over again. This is an important ritual when it comes to maintaining my stability and overall mental health. Without it, I would certainly lose my grip at some point during the week and tragically implode. More than that I might suffer a small stroke and be doomed to live out the rest of my days with a lazy eye or some sort of bizarre speech impediment. So, rather than risk any unsavory physical deformities as a result from my chosen profession, I medicate with a vengeance in the afternoon and slowly start to work myself back into an enthusiastic frame of mind. So far, so good.
I had just popped the top to my third or fourth beer and put on the record Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers when I heard a Bing, telling me there was a new email in my inbox. Although it was quitting time in my neck of the woods ‚Äď Southern Indiana — I do a lot of work for publications on the West coast. I needed to make sure there wasn‚Äôt a problem. So, I sat down at my desk and noticed that it was, in fact, a message from one of my editors. Admittedly, the subject ‚ÄúGet High With Kevin Smith‚ÄĚ caught my attention. I thought, ‚ÄúWell, heck yeah, if Silent Bob wants to get me stoned, it would be rude to refuse such hospitality.‚ÄĚ Yet once I opened the email, it became readily apparent that this was not a social invitation to hang out and smoke weed with that one dude from Clerks. It was, however, a message from a press agent trying to drum up some publicity for his new show Hollyweed. The attached note from my editor said something like, ‚ÄúHey Mike, I‚Äôm thinking about putting you on this interview‚Ä¶ blah, blah, blah, blah, blah‚Ä¶you can ask a bunch of questions and do one story immediately for the website and another for the magazine.‚ÄĚ
Had the email landed in front of me at noon, I would have had a severe panic attack. Then, in pure neurotic fashion, I probably would have¬†made up some broke dick excuse for why I couldn‚Äôt do it. Honestly, it sounded like a whole lot of work, even with a nice buzz creeping in. But the would be assignment did not come at noon. It crossed my path during cocktail hour, my most volatile time of day. So, what should have ended with an immediate rejection was, of course, handled poorly by my clicking of the ‚Äúreply‚ÄĚ button and the typing out of a brief message that read something to the effect of, ‚ÄúTell that no-talking bastage to put on his big girl panties‚Ä¶ I‚Äôm in!‚ÄĚ I hit send and went about the rest of the¬†night.
Somewhere around three-in-the-morning I woke up and realized that I had, like I had done so many¬†times before, agreed to yet another project that I wanted nothing to do with. There was not a single part of me that actually wanted to interview Kevin Smith. I mean, don‚Äôt get me wrong, it‚Äôs not like I have anything against the guy. I‚Äôve seen a handful of his movies ‚Äď maybe all of them. I can‚Äôt be sure. They‚Äôre funny. His character development is funny. He‚Äôs funny. But I‚Äôm not what one might consider a fan. Sure, he‚Äôs made me laugh a few times, but I know absolutely nothing about him other than what some of my close friends — a couple of guys I do consider dedicated, die-hard fanatics — have told me. And sadly, aside from those dudes singing his¬†high praises for giving¬†legendary comedian George Carlin a few roles, I forget most of the details.
Look, it‚Äôs not him it‚Äôs me. In my twenties, comedy was hands down my favorite genre of film. In some ways, it still is. I‚Äôm a Seinfeld lifer for sure. But these days, I seem to laugh a lot less and contemplate the end more. I get nostalgic at times, and I freak out about all the things I haven‚Äôt yet accomplished and still very much need to before reaching the big finish. But it gets so much worse. I worry about things like excess body hair, eating too much pizza before bed, the showing of time on my face, dropping dead of a massive heart attack, cancer and all the other real, but pathetic nonsense that men start to concern themselves with around the coming of middle age. When taking into account all of this anxiety and unfulfillment, how could I possibly interview Kevin Smith or anyone else for that matter‚Ä¶ much less do any of the research needed (remember I know nothing about him) before we connected over the phone, conceivably within the next few hours? ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve done it again, Adams,‚ÄĚ I thought to myself. ‚ÄúYou should be put down.‚ÄĚ But there was nothing I could do. Although I had not yet received confirmation that the interview was a sure thing, the commitment had already been made. Like it or not, I had to suck it up and interview this guy.
I jumped out of bed and made a beeline for my office. There, hanging on the wall, the smug ‚ÄúNo Buzzed Posting‚ÄĚ sign continued to mock me as if it held a grudge. It crossed my mind that maybe, rather than hanging a sign, I should employ more superior technology. Perhaps an interlocking Breathalyzer-type device that prevents idiots, like me, from doing business via phone or computer under the influence of, well, anything. This was the only way to prevent this madness from happening ever again.
But it was too late to remedy my current situation. I had to do the work. I felt I should at least familiarize myself with the show Smith was promoting, Hollyweed, as to not come across like a complete imbecile following the first question: So, like, did you get high before you started writing the show? ¬†
The press release said that he had just posted the free pilot episode to Rivit TV, an audience powered television platform, in hopes of raising a little over $5.3 million to green light Season One. I thought that would be the best place to start my shotgun research. So, while dumping copious amounts of caffeine down my shameful gullet, I spent some time watching Smith‚Äôs latest offering.
My initial thought was ‚ÄúOh man, the cannabis industry is going to hate this show¬†with an almighty passion.‚ÄĚ They would burn him at the stake. I could hear the bad reviews pouring out of the fingers of overly sensitive pot editors all across the nation: Smith‚Äôs show is offensive to cannabis users‚Ä¶someone needs to write a more accurate script about dispensary life.”¬†Much like with Chuck Lorre‚Äôs marijuana-themed Netflix series ‚ÄėDisjointed‚Äô, which was canceled after only one season, Hollyweed is full of the same kind of stoner stereotypes¬†that the industry is trying to disassociate from. This aspect of the production pleased me, as I happen to still very much enjoy calling attention to the fact that while weed might be considered medicine in some circles, it still gets the rest of us really freaking high.
My creative wheels were turning. I was starting to piece together a devious angle for the Smith interview that would surely shake the foundation of controversy and perhaps lead to a digital ruckus, of sorts, which would surely fill my inbox with hate mail and death threats for the next month. ‚ÄúThis might not be such a bad project to take on after all,‚ÄĚ I thought, getting somewhat excited about moving forward with it. I had no interest in asking the guy the same questions as every other journalist, nor would I tell the same butt-kissing tale. Instead, my plan was to converse frankly about why Stoner Dramas do not exist ‚Äď and how a story involving an accurate depiction of life in a medical marijuana dispensary would be depressing and about as dull as chewing on an old tire. My mission was clear. I was ready get him on the phone.¬†Muahahahaha!
Several hours later, as I put the finishing touches on another assignment, I received an email from my editor saying, ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt worry about the Smith interview. We are going to take care of it in-house.‚ÄĚ If I‚Äôm being honest, I was a little let down by this, yet somewhat relieved. Still, the call to remove me from the assignment was probably for the best. I got to thinking that my evil plot to use Smith to stir the proverbial commode of the cannabis trade would have likely caused me more grief than I cared to endure. Not that any of it really mattered. I would someday soon enough get another chance to exploit someone‚Äôs celebrity to further my own rotten agenda. After all, cocktail hour is a daily¬†affair.
As for Hollyweed — the show in which the fans are responsible for determining its fate — there is roughly only about a month left to raise the multi-million dollar budget needed to get it made. You can watch the free 25-minute pilot here and donate to the cause. I felt so bad for trying to avoid talking to Smith that I contributed a few bucks. Let‚Äôs just say I did it for my buddies. But Smith, if you ever want to get super stoned in real life and talk about heart attack scares, strong weed and relentless body hair, I‚Äôm your dude.