Every story must have a transition and in that liminal space, the gatekeeper awaits. I came across him in a small park at the boundary of my destination. The field, which was usually carpeted with grass, was now covered in snow. As I made my way across it- marveling at my shoes digging in the snow- I heard a sound.
“Psst! Hey buddy, got a sec?”
I stopped, looked around me, and saw nobody there, except a scraggly-looking snowman.
“Come closer,” said the snowman. “Could you do me favor?”
This is quite the plot twist, I thought. It was not everyday that you came across a talking snowman, and not one to be impolite, I approached the frozen fellow.
I cleared my throat and said, “how can I be of service my good man… or should I say snowman?”
“Ha ha ha. Very funny. I’ve never heard that one before,” said the snowman. “Now listen here, funny guy, I got myself a little pickle. You see these seashells all over my body?”
I leaned closer. Indeed, his face and body were covered in what looked like mussel shells.
“Very dashing,” I complimented him, not knowing what else to say.
“The problem is that some of them have fallen off me. See?"
Yes, the snowman was correct. His smile was missing a few shells
"Look on the ground,” he said.
I saw a few shells scattered on the snow.
“How about you pick ‘em up and put them back in my body?”
“I’m certainly not doing that,” I said.
“Why not?” said the snowman taken aback at my refusal.
“First of all, I’m a grown man, I can’t very well stand here and decorate a snowman with seashells.”
“Well, you’re a grown man who just an hour ago put a mind-altering substance under his tongue and is now standing here talking to a snowman.”
“I beg your pardon sir, you’re the one who called me here. I was merely being polite. Besides, what I do with my consciousness, what shores I steer it to, is none of your business. And I’ll have you know, Cannabis tinctures are legal in this country, so I am not breaking any law.”
“Oh yea? What about the law of morality? You think people should just go around getting high whenever they feel like it.”
“Look,” I said beginning to get irritated with the flaky creature. “This argument about morality is tired and has been discussed ad nauseam by better men than you and me. So, let’s cut to the chase. We’re all intelligent adults- young and otherwise- and have sufficient capacity to inform ourselves of the benefits and dangers that natural botanicals and synthetic neuro-chemicals pose. Just say know, as they say down by the Ganges. The only two rules of the neural age are: 1) Do not forcefully alter the electro-biochemistry of your neighbor, and 2)Do not forcefully prevent your neighbor from altering his/her biochemistry. As Benjamin Franklin aptly put it, mind your business.”
The snowman was silent for a moment, then said, “so what’s second of all?”
“Second of all,” I said with a finger in the air, “my powers of deduction tell me that children were involved in the making of you. They handled these seashells with their grimy little hands, which have been touching goodness knows what. Do you think it is wise to touch potentially infected surfaces in the middle of a pandemic?”
“But think of the children, and how much joy they’ll get on seeing me smile. What kind of flower child, are you?”
“I’m no flower child,” I said to the snowman, “I’m a blockchain man, and I ain’t touching your seashells.”
I turned to go.
“Ah come on, stop being so frigging paranoid,” shouted the snowman, “it’s just the weed, dude.”
I shook my head adamantly and walked away.
“Hey, come back! Don’t be such a pussy.”
I moved on, my eyes fixed straight ahead, and the snowman receding behind me.