The next person who suggests putting Bob Marley on the cover is going to be looking for a new job.
I would get in a lot of trouble for saying things like that, but seriously, Bob Fucking Marley? That’s the best you’ve got?
If you have ever imagined a creative meeting at a magazine to be a bubbling cauldron of energy and hot ideas, with ambitious editors pitching stories and competing to get plum assignments, well, this wasn’t it. My exhortations were greeted by grunts.
After years of pumping out seedy sex books and down-market filth, promoting the careers of devil-worshipping wrestlers and Bourbon Street strippers, I had finally scored my dream job—publisher of High Times magazine. What my grandma used to call “that dope rag.”
Strangely, not everyone wants to work for a marijuana magazine, no matter how famous it is. But after years of cut-rate pornography, drugs were a definite step up.
There was talent in the room, but most of it had been stifled by years of stoner ennui, the unfortunate side effect of working for a pop culture perennial where free weed was a perk. One editor, whose eyes looked like hemorrhoids from years of staring down the length of a water pipe, thumbed through an old issue dispassionately. Another amused himself with a chocolate-chip cookie. The others had about as much interest in my pep rally as a monkey might have in a chess match. I should have brought them a bright red rubber ball to play with. Or a coconut. These guys knew how to make a totally excellent bong out of a coconut.
But the magazine was in trouble. Circulation was flagging. It seemed like they had run out of ideas. Bob Marley? He had already been the cover story. Three times. There wasn’t a whole lot more to report.
When I came on board, the most recent celebrity to have been featured on the cover was Pancho Villa.
Presumably this is why I had been hired—to lead High Times out of the grove of hackneyed pothead icons and dead Mexican folk heroes.
I looked around the room and measured my team. The fellow who had been eating the cookie was covered in crumbs. Everyone looked as if they were just waiting for the bell to ring so they could go to recess.
This was not going to be easy.
Excerpted from I Have Fun Everywhere I Go by Mike Edison. Copyright © 2008 by Mike Edison. Published in May 2008 by Faber and Faber, Inc., an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All rights reserved.