There once was a time when my hands, my fingers, could do things no one else in my family could do quite as well. When I was about 13, Krank Ficken sat me down and he broke open a cigarette. He set a pack of Zigs next to the dried flakes of tobacco and he told me to get to work. After a few tries of nothing but making a second pile of tobacco crumbs, Krank Ficken sat down beside me and he walked me through rolling a joint “proper.” He said there are many different ways, many tricks, and he could show me all of them but “one but needs the basics to burn their own path.” Take a paper, fold it, fill it, roll it. “It’s an art, not a chore.”
Finesse, confidence and developed skill are all you need to do anything in this life
Really, that doesn’t even make sense, right? Or does it? Wise words are never something you understand right away. It doesn’t matter. Point is: my childhood rapist taught me how to roll a joint and I got pretty damn good at it quickly. I was the friend in the circle that not only always had bud in her pocket, or at least in her lungs, but was also the designated roller. I was the one that made pipes out of foil, poked holes in cans I dented and could roll one up on my thigh in a moving vehicle. Those cans, those were from the good ol’ days when you really did smoke just for fun. Funny; my step mother was here just before Thanksgiving and was telling me she was so desperate to smoke a few days earlier that she actually used a can. She said she hadn’t felt so young in so long.
People think it’s in the roll or the quality of the filling but no; it’s all in how you prepare the paper and break up the filling . I taught so many friends over the years how to roll, how make it so it didn’t come out pregnant; how to make it so it would burn smooth. I was the one you went to; I was your sensei and I taught you how to remain calm when that damn paper wanted to pop a crease and make your filling fly out. I’m probably exaggerating but in my head I’m a star so let me dream. This was what I did; my talent and my friends and family appreciated it about me.
When I lost the use of my left body a thousand things went through my head as the reality of that started sinking in and these were all losses. Hiking, playing video games and teaching my boys athletics are all great losses but become even greater when you realize that though you may once again do those things, they will never be done with the finesse, skill and confidence you once were able to provide for each task. It’s heartbreaking and you grieve but you kind of get over it after a while. Maybe it’s more that you get used to it rather than over it, though. But nearly every day there are new reminders that you are different from who you were and who you were becoming. It’s unavoidable but you find a way to avoid the feeling of them nonetheless. However, sometimes you find yourself making the choice to deny yourself that denial and you want to challenge yourself with something new. Maybe it’s so you can feel for your old self again, make sure she still exists somewhere inside of you. Maybe it’s because you didn’t feel like sitting there staring at something you wish you could manipulate or do what you would have done:
had this not happened to me.
Self-pity blows, man. It sucks. It’s heavy and it pulls at everything inside of you. Jesus, sometimes I think self-pity is worse than depression but at least self-pity can be a motivator, unlike most depression. So that’s what happened to me today. Kasper is at work, the boys are in school, I made all of my phone calls to help my stupid food stamp issue move along in the right direction and I even met the new maintenance guy. Why are they never hot like in the movies? Then I was sitting here at the computer checking e-mail, bank balances and tracking packages in the mail and my eye kept wandering over to the pot box on the desk beside me. I usually smoke a pipe; a small one-hitter that I can use with no hands so my one hand can use the lighter. It hurts my teeth and pipes suck to clean with one hand. And the screen is lost right now. I have no idea what the hell… I really was wishing for a joint or at least a longer roach in the bottom of the box but no; no joint fairies came by and all our roaches are average-ly small.
About a year ago, I rolled a joint and it was actually pretty good. I thought I could give that another shot instead of spitting out charred bud and feeling sorry for not having a joint pre-rolled for me. Twenty minutes later I was cussing under my breath. These new papers… They just don’t make them like they used to. Fingers slipping all over the damn things, I couldn’t get even a small grip so I pussed out and made a hollow tube out of the paper, twisted one end, clamped it with a paper clamp I laid on its side and shook some shake in there from a line I made in the fold of a piece of paper. Then I went all precision and used this weird tool Kasper stole from a docs office (it’s one of those weird things he does. I’ve never seen him leave a doc’s office without something new in his pocket). I used this stick thingy to push down the filling and then twisted the end after unclamping it. Then I did something Krank Ficken said was demeaning to any true pothead: I put the “joint” into the folded paper and used that paper to tighten the joint *gasp* what have I done?! I’ll tell you what I did: I rolled the ugliest joint I have ever rolled in my life:
Look, so hideous! Look at those smooshed creases from the excess paper! It’s hideous and I feel let down because of how awesome I used to be at rolling. But you know what? I rolled that fucker and you know what else? It’s holding together while I smoke it and it’s burning real slow and good so
Hell, looks ain’t everything, baby.