Con­ver­sa­tions about an­other high would wait

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL - Steve Bartlett Steve Bartlett is an edi­tor with SaltWire Net­work. He dives in the Deep End Mon­days to es­cape re­al­ity and the munchies. Reach him at steve.bartlett@thetele­gram.com.

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.

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