I made a new friend tonight, an intriguingly inspiring friend that I never knew was a friend, but I always held dear in my heart: The Den. For anyone who doesn't know the den, life must be miserable. For those who do know the den, rejoice--for you are God's chosen people. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, go to my friends, click on "The Den" (the painting is by Cybill Cohen, btw), and understand that the most important room in anyone's house is not the kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. It's the tiny hollow carved out of your driveway that blows more smoke than an industrial revolution.
The first time I ever stepped in to The Den must have been the summer after junior year of high school. SAT's were over, so were classes, and I wasn't doing anything besides advancing rapidly at the world's biggest slipper factory. That left a lot of time for two things: smoking pot and playing music. The latter was achieved in various symphony halls, and the former was accomplished in virtually any place where there was a second to spare, some tin foil, and a light. But smoking pot in the den was different than smoking it anywhere else. Take this analogy: you could, theoretically, buy a bag of sand and build a sandcastle on your lawn. Or, you could go to the beach in Maui and build a sand superstructure.
The den was about natural habitat--it was as if, in some metaphysical way, the THC bounced off the walls and back to you, like a reciprocated or codependent intoxication system. Chicken or the egg? Was the den stoned and got you stoned by osmosis, or was it the other way around? Doesn't matter much now, since the brain cells I would have used to figure that query are probably floating somewhere in the paint cans we used to cover the walls with trip-friendly frescos.
I haven't spent any quality time in the den in years, and I've been through a lot since then: different hair lengths, a job or two (no more slippers), the end of a really really fun drug habit, and a few philosophical ideologies. The den is constant, though, in what it stands for, and in what it represent for myself and the rest of the fortunate teaneckers who discovered that ben druck can honestly snap along to any song in the whole entire world. Props, esther, for making your den a second home to all of us.