Conversations about another high would wait
The distinctive smell of weed was permeating through the air around the concert grounds. And I was panicking.
Not because I had sparked one up and feared getting caught.
No, I was afraid of a question — “Daddy, what’s that smell?”
You see, I was doing my rock’n’roll duty, trying to pass my burning love of concerts on to my young’uns.
It was their first show. It was a Canada Day freebee and it was spectacular, with a lineup that included The Novaks, a St. John’s-based rock machine, and The Sheepdogs, the Saskatoon band with big sound and even bigger hair.
The Bartletts were rocking out.
The kids were dancing, running, jumping and getting up on grownups’ shoulders to clap illuminated Canada 150 thundersticks together and howl “Wahoooo” in between some seriously good rock songs.
The grownups were dancing too, but they were also holding the kids’ drinks, lining up with them for the portapotty, and refereeing when one clunked the other upside the head with a thunderstick.
Somewhere in the middle of it all, my wife glanced over and asked, “Do you smell the weed?” Woah, did I ever.
The whiff brought me back to my first big concert, and the first time I experienced the scent of the burning bud.
It was Iron Maiden with Twisted Sister at the Halifax Metro Centre on Nov. 24, 1984.
I was 16, sporting a mullet and wearing Jordache.
And as soon as Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider stepped on stage, if memory serves correctly, the guy in front me lit a joint.
I was old enough to figure it out right away, and it didn’t distract me from enjoying a rock spectacle.
But my kids are seven and almost five.
And that’s what made me worry about them realizing something didn’t smell right.
My oldest child, who asks more questions than the Canada Revenue Agency, would wonder about the smell and want immediate answers.
“It’s marijuana,” I’d tell him. “Something grown-ups smoke, kinda like cigarettes. It’s not for kids.”
Then my youngest would chime in, “Why do they smoke it?”
Me: “Ahhh …”
As a dad, I strive to give them accurate and age-appropriate answers to all queries.
But replying to a question about weed, well, that would be unexpectedly challenging as society is more accepting of it and the laws will be relaxed in exactly a year.
Full disclosure: I’ve never tried it.
But that doesn’t mean I never will or that I judge anyone who smokes it, because that’s certainly not the case.
The issue here was having the right answer, the best one possible, ready for young kids.
I didn’t want to paint marijuana as romantic, nor did I want to imply that it was pure evil.
I just wanted to let them know it exists, and it’s something we’ll discuss at length, and weigh the pros and cons, when they’re old enough.
Ahhh, there was my answer right there.
I was ready.
But in the end, the kids didn’t mention the smell and all the panic was for naught.
They were stoked about their first concert though, and thankfully conversations about another kind of rock’n’roll high, a different kind of thunder stick, would wait.