There are two holidays coming up this week, as Bill Maher pointed out Friday night; Earth Day and the every stoner’s favorite “holiday,” 4/20. Bill tells a story about 4/20 which is, indeed, false, however, it serves as the perfect lead to what is becoming an annual tradition on his Real Time With Bill Maher program on HBO:
The reading of “Twas The Night Before 4/20”
This is a clever little poem you will want to share with all your marijuana-appreciating friends. It has all the elements a good stoner poem should have.
Enjoy it in the video below.
As I mentioned before, the story of high school kids getting high at 4:20 is an old, but false, story. In 2004, I wrote the REAL inside scoop on the origins of the holiday, which is basically the longest running “prankster” prank going.
Here’s an exerpt:
Today is 4/20/2004. This is the counterculture’s favorite day of the year. For this is “Four-Twenty,” the stoner holiday.
Today, more people will toke up around the world than any other day. It has happened every year. And every year hundreds of millions of people around the world enjoy the holiday, with the aid of some good smoke and their favorite piece of smoking paraphernalia. But more than anything else, this day shows just how unobservant we are. It is a lesson that marijuana smokers remind themselves of every year. A lesson that shows just how unaware the rest of the population is. And for the rest of the population, the fact that they don’t even know, or barely know that this holiday, which has been celebrated all over the world, including in their neighborhood, exists, simply proves it.
420 started with a couple of creative deadheads back in 1970. with only a carbon copy machine (remember those) operated by a hand crank, they created a holiday exclusively for the celebration of the enjoyment of cannibals. They essentially created the hippie version of St Patrick’s Day. They advertised through their manual “printing press” about how California police code for a “bowl of marijuana in progress” was the code “4-20.” This rumor spread like wild fire thru Grateful Dead circles and other counterculture environments. And by the mid 70’s, deadheads and potheads all over the world related the alleged code with the calendar date of April, 20.
The funniest part about the whole story is that it was made up from the start. The 2 pranksters made up the California police code. It doesn’t exist. But just like political pundits for the most part, no one ever “fact checked” the flyers put out by that little carbon copier. It was a joke. One that had been put over on the whole world. And it is a running joke that continues today. Outside of the marijuana smoking world, the whole she-bang goes unnoticed. Inside the counterculture, some people still believe that 4:20 is actually California police code for observing someone smoking some ganja. (But deeper) Inside of the counterculture circles, more informed members know the inside of that joke.
But the really aware and observant remind themselves of the lessons of 4/20. The lesson that shows you how people will continue to believe falsehoods if it is convenient to do so. The lesson that a whole culture can exist inside of a culture that is totally unaware of it. The lesson that despite spending billions of dollars to try to wipe out anything, if people want to do something, they are going to do it despite the machine’s attempts. And of course the lesson that sometimes one does need to step back from the rat race and check some facts before going forward.