Thursday, April 11, 2013

Confession first...lame explanation later...


 Lids and Furlongs:
     Well, there was that small misunderstanding about the 54lbs of marijuana... 
Really belonged to the one-armed guy they handcuffed to the banister on the patio.  Naturally he escaped, dragging twelve feet of iron railing behind him.  You would have thought that he’d be pretty easy to spot.  Might have clarified things with the judge, though it really didn’t matter since the evidence had mysteriously disappeared anyway.  No, not corrupt cops.  The stuff had some quality control issues.  It had this really peculiar odor to it.  A little like sitting next to a live skunk that had eaten moldy sauerkraut for lunch.  You see, 1970-era marijuana was still in the pre-product improvement stage.  What that meant was that the whole plant got ground up -- seeds, stems, maggots, roots – might even find somebody’s finger in the mix.  Then it was distributed to consumers in a sandwich bag, affectionately known as a ‘lid.’  A lid was a pretty subjective form of measurement.  Kind of like a ‘ furlong’ in racing.  Nobody seemed to know where the term came from or what in the hell it meant.  (Furlong, not lid.)  The end result was that when you smoked a joint of this awful stuff, two things were bound to happen:  either a seed would explode and take out your left eye, or the heat generated in the joint would magically turn all the maggots into happy little flies.  And about the only way you got high was to smoke the marijuana with the plastic bag.
 Okay, a lid is roughly 1 to 3 fingers short of a full sandwich bag of weed* and each finger was considered to be about an ounce unless you were either near death from smoking plastic and dead maggots or you had fat fingers.  The term ‘lid’ was derived from the fact that an ounce of marijuana would fill an average sized Mason jar lid.

  As for ‘furlong,’ we can all thank the British again.  The word is derived from the Old English words furh (furrow) and lang (long) and originated in the 9th century.  That’s probably why it is ‘Old English’ rather than something we can actually understand, like Hungarian goulash recipes.

Originally it referred to the length of a furrow in a one acre field.  Never mind what shape the acre was in because it appears a couple of oxen were doing most of the math.  So it comes out to 1/8 of an international mile, 220 yards or 660 feet – though none of that matters since the term isn’t recognized as having any real meaning anyway, particularly if you’re building a house or outrunning a cop.  Just hang onto this example:  five furlongs is approximately (British ho-hum math again) 1 kilometer. (Really 1.0058 km.)  A meter is one-quarter of one ten-millionth of the circumference of the Earth, measured where it passes through a well-known boulangerie in Paris, France.  I’m not sure why Paris claimed this distinction, but if you ran a race that began and ended in front of Gustave Eifel’s odd little monument, it would be a 200,000 furlong race.  No, I don’t think I’d wait around for the winner, much less a potential windfall on the daily-double.]

*Or, if you were a novice shopper, three fingers of oregano, basil and alfalfa.  Never happened to me though.
A book that eventually clarifies everything you really didn't want
 to know about...