High Holy Day

How to Celebrate 4/20 Without Actually Smoking Weed

In honor of Sunday’s pot-smoking holiday, a definitive guide to art of the fake ’n’ bake.

The Daily Beast

“You already know about [4/20]. Either [it] lives in your heart, or [it] doesn’t.”—Don Draper, paraphrased for our purposes

Two kinds of people don’t need this column:

1. People who have been lovingly constructing their 4/20 plans the way a songbird constructs her nest: a flurry of calls to the dealer here, a little bit of Cheetos Mix-Ups and chocolate-covered gummy bears there, bound together with the confused delight and improbability that is the hallmark of any satisfying THC-blurred day. And Cosmos IMAX tickets.

2. People for whom today is the most holy day of the year, a celebration of triumph over mortality and faith in the life of the world to come. If today means any of the above to you, just go ahead and skip this column. Please. I don’t want to upset or ruin anyone’s Easter. On the upside, you won’t have to worry about these two holidays occurring on the same day again until 2025!

For those of you who have never attended public high school, April 20 is, in the most New York Times-ly sentence ever, an “annual… pot party that has been celebrated for decades at lazy, hazy rock shows, pungent backyard barbecues and untold numbers of air freshener-challenged dorm rooms.

But what about those of us who, for whatever our reasons, have left our hazy, giggly days behind us? Those for whom 4/20 brings fond memories but no desire to figure out which younger relative we should approach to see if they have a hook-up?

We can still live the magic! Sort of! Who says you need that good, good stuff to get in touch with your inner stoner, to revisit and even celebrate the high, idiotic but joyful teenager you once were? You deserve a day spent delighting in the small things, eating shameful food combinations and thinking hard about life, y’know?

It’s time to get the munchies, to sit slack-jawed with wonder, to spiel at length on theories about what if my red is, like, totally different from your red? It’s time to get high on life, or at least wrench a little bit of amusement out of those who are high on, you know, drugs. Here’s some festive ideas:

Step 1: Get in your car and try to find a spot where there are no adults around. Industrial areas could be good for this, or blackberry brambles, or that sweet-ass spot by the river where there’s a tiny beach but you have to watch out for the homeless encampment. Try to find a hiding spot. Sit in there, wide-eyed, for 10 minutes, then stumble out and look guiltily at the wholesome family who is there for an Easter picnic.

Step 2: Shopping time! Head to the nearest 7-Eleven. The goal here is to spend at least $27 on snacks. Pick up each and every candy bar, individually. Close your eyes. Imagine what it would taste like. Now imagine what it would taste like if you added Doritos to it. Smile broadly to yourself, eyes still closed. Sway a little bit.

Step 3: Go sit in a public park. Lay down, and look at clouds. Wonder briefly if the CIA has any control over clouds. Furrow your brow. Turn to your companion to voice this worry, but then instead get distracted by a dandelion. Let that dandelion remind you of Horton Hears a Who, and then let this lead you naturally into a thought of what if there are tiny worlds on this dandelion? Forget momentarily about the maybe-worlds on it and blow. Feel really guilty about having maybe just caused the greatest natural disaster ever on Dandelion World X177782.

Step 4: If you feel like being irreverent, you can shout any of the following: “EASTER GRASSSSSSSS!” “GOD IS DANK!” “PRAISE AND BLAZE, SON!”

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Step 5: Look at your hands. This should take up the next hour or so. Think, for a second, about what it would be like if every single person whose hand you’ve ever shaken were in the same room, then begin to quantify other aspects of your life similarly. What if every bit of food you’ve ever eaten were stacked in a warehouse? How big would that warehouse be? Remember that you still have hands, and look at them as though you’ve never seen them before. Hands, man! Hands.

Step 6: Throughout today, frequently ask your companion in a hushed, concerned whisper if anyone knows you’re not high.

Step 7: Head home to watch Dark Side of the Rainbow, but stop paying attention when you start to think about how hard it must’ve been to be a little person in the 1930s, how people were just assholes to them. Initiate a dialogue about how we are all kind of like little people, if you think about it, at least compared to the One Percent.


Step 9: Wake up from a nap you don’t remember starting; eat a stray Funyun that was resting on your chest.

Step 10: Call someone you had forgotten you liked, or maybe never liked. Have the kind of conversation neither of you can explain later. Why did you talk about your brother? Has this person even met your brother? Exit awkwardly.

Step 11: Return to your living room, and fall asleep as a low-budget cop drama plays on a smallish computer monitor. Have no dreams. Wake up feeling refreshed and a little confused about the timeline on steps 6-10. Go back to real life, but first take a second and honor your inner stoner first. Close your eyes, smile, and whisper “I’ll see you on the dark side of the mooooooooon!