Thursday, April 18, 2019

Where the Waldos Are

When I was in the fifth grade, my best friend told me to drop everything and read Harriet the Spy. She also told me to get a black and white composition book and to start thinking about a spy route.  I was in.  As soon as I finished the book, we got together to begin our new lives in espionage.  I firmly wrote KEEP OUT on the cover and PRIVET. My friend then dictated the rules which had to be written on the first page.

1. Never let anyone see this book no matter what.

2. Practice writing metholy.

3. Write everything in this book.

4. Use also for spy route

I asked her how to spell that inscrutable word in rule number two, not wanting to admit that I didn't know what it meant. I never did find out. Despite my confusion, I forged ahead with a spy route made up of five neighbors and loosely the whole fifth grade.  And then the sixth grade.  And so on.

I soon realized that keeping my thoughts in a notebook was an excellent way to relieve crushing boredom at school, work, or even a Grateful Dead concert. (Sorry, my dear deadheads, but in my defense, I was sober.) I became a voracious eavesdropper, yet somehow I got through most of my life without ever hearing about 4-20. According to one notebook, I did partake in high school.  (ha ha. high school,  get it?)  WHFS always used to play that inspirational anthem "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" on the radio, and we wouldn't go in to school until the song was over.

But I digress.

Although the expression was once credited to followers of the Dead, the real story happened at a school far away from my own in San Rafael, California. In the early 1970s, an informal smoking crew called "the Waldos" used to meet at 4:20 after school to discuss all things cannabis.  (Man, the internet is like one giant notebook, isn't it? ) The Huffington Post has the full story.

San Rafael High School paper
Celebrate the foggy legends of 420 with Better Off Dead and the Black Muddy River Band at Gypsy Sally's on Saturday, of course. 

If that's not your thing, The Luce Unplugged concert series is happening on Friday at the American Art Museum with one of my favorite bands We Were Pirates. Art, music and libations all together in one beautiful room.

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