One of the things that struck me when I first moved abroad was the very noticeable abundance of t-shirts with random collections of words on them. To be fair, I was never really very fashion-conscious in America, but it seemed to me that most of our t-shirts had things like the brand name or maybe just some kind of graphic design on them. Once you move to abroad, and particularly to a place in Eastern Europe, you start noticing a lot of Chinese knockoff clothing covered with nonsensical words and phrases. These days I understand that even in the US one finds name brand clothing with the titles of random, non-existent surf clubs on them, but go to a market full of knockoff clothing and you’re like to find a t-shirt which reads something like MALAYSIAN UNDERGROUND DISCO COCKFIGHTING CLUB EST. 1978. Obviously after over 8 years of living abroad I’m pretty much used to this and generally ignore it. That is until yesterday, when something caught my eye.
In the Moscow metro, people who are in a rush walk, run, jump, or tumble down the left side. Those who are resigned to merely stand and enjoy the descent stay to the right. Violate that rule at your own peril. Anyway, I’m going down the left side and as I do, I see a man wearing this shirt with a massive green pot leaf on the back. Superimposed over the pot leaf was a long quote, at least a paragraph, in English. Now that alone is odd; weed typically doesn’t merit citations. But what really struck me was the part of the quote I managed to catch as I rushed past him. It read:
“In order to win, you must constantly struggle…”
Once I reached the platform at the bottom of the escalator I suddenly took that quote to heart. In order to win…constantly struggle. Then I ask myself- Is this the kind of sentiment we normally associate with weed? Can one imagine Ghengis Khan, surrounded by his warriors, taking a long toke off a pipe and then imploring them to sack a Chinese city without mercy? Can you imagine Churchill saying, “We shall fight them on the beaches. We shall fight them in the fields. We shall fight them…on the beaches. Wait…Why are we fighting the Germans again? I thought we beat those guys. Oh maaaaan!”
No, constant struggle to achieve victory without regards to the costs is a sentiment which simply does not go with weed. I’ll tell you what it would go great with. Crystal meth, or cocaine. Of course in that case the shirt would have to be considerably bigger to fit all the words. Yet however inappropriate the juxtaposition of this sentiment and weed may be, I think the shirt does send a powerful message, once properly broken down. First, you must constantly struggle to win. Second, if you find the time to rest at any point during your constant struggle for victory, smoke weed. Well played, t-shirt! Well played.