This particular can of dirt has been with me for years. It goes where I go and shall always have a place in my home, wherever I may dwell. It is a can of Kansas dirt that my dad gave me while I was still living in Miami. Before he filled it with dirt, the can contained gourmet coffee--some fancy schmancy kind called "Superior Brand" coffee. Dad had taped a strip of paper across the lid certifying the contents as "100% Kansas Dirt". I took the dirt with me when I moved to New York, and packed it up again for the move to Kansas City. Over time Dad's handwriting on the strip of paper faded and eventually the paper fell to pieces. The can's plastic lid cracked in two. But the dirt is still there. I usually squirrel the can away in some box somewhere and then re-discover it when it's time to move again.
So on the morning of Earth Day, I took the can of dirt that I had just unpacked the night before and moved it to my dresser, where it will sit until I decide I don't have room on my dresser for a can of dirt, and then I'll put it up for safe-keeping in some box, where it will remain until it's time to move again. That was the only earthy thing I did on Earth day, unless you count me sweating a lot in the gymnasium of Shawnee Mission East High School, for the second night in a row. Yes, the night after the sweltering strings concert, the band held its concert at the same hour in the same high school gymnasiusm. Like sheep we parents once again fought for spots in the parking lot and filed obediently into the gymnasium for round two. Only those of us who had been there the night before appreciated that the stupifying heat was a tad less brain damaging than it had been on the previous night. One father sitting near me said, "This is horrible". I just smiled.
If my daughter hadn't been playing the flute in an oven that evening I would have been tempted to join an assortment of Earth Day celebrants who were riding their bikes to the UMKC campus to watch a free outdoor showing of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." You pretty much had to arrive by bike though, because the movie is all about Pee Wee's quest to recover his beloved bike after it is stolen, and the whole point of the event was to get people to use the clean-air energy generated by their pumping legs instead of driving their cars. So I would have had to park my gas-beast out of sight and then walk in, hoping nobody would notice. I'm sure I wouldn't have fooled anyone.
The other big day this week was 4:20, International Cannabis day. It was celebrated most conspicuously on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder, where a rally of 8,000 to 10,000 people gathered, and on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
As I heard it, the day's origins go back to 1971 when a group of high school students in California would meet at 4:20 every day to try to find a patch of mythical weed they'd been tipped off about. I guess they never found the weed, but 4:20 became a code word and eventually grew into a day on April 20th observed by pot advocates and law enforcement officials alike. The cops in Kansas City took pride in their special 4:20 "mobilization", in which they saturated "areas around schools" and "known party houses." Known party houses? Why don't I know about them? Why was I never told? Where are these party houses?
I wasn't any more successful at celebrating 4:20 day, than I was Earth day, which is either good or unfortunate, depending on your point of view.