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Dear Ask a Deadhead

I’m a third-generation Deadhead who is about to graduate high school and my mom wants to host a party in my honor. Here’s the problem: I have eight grandparents and they are all retired, all political, and all passionate about their favorite presidential candidates. I know exactly what’s going to happen: My Warren-warrior Nana Grace will start ripping into Bernie for being a carpetbagger out to ruin the Democratic Party and Pop-Pop Iko Iko, who has worn Bernie Bro garb for four years and counting, will go into a  totally cringe-worthy native American rain dance to get under her skin. Then Grampa Glen will insist that Biden is the only true rainmaker, which will make Big Mama Sofie howl with fury.

  She’ll say something like “I’m so glad I hooked up that security dude at Winterland ‘74,” which is a pretty horrible thing to say, since that broke up their marriage.

  Big Mama Sofie will also say that Kamala Harris will destroy Biden in a debate, which I think is kind of true. But I won’t dare say anything, because I’ll be praying that when G-pa’s Mervin and Lance are all ga-ga about Mayor Pete, Granny Amanda doesn’t start ranting at Mervin—-who left her for Lance in 2002—about how fixing infrastructure, the economy, and health care are just a teeny-tiny-bit more important than gay identity politics!

  And that will get a loud: “Amen to that, Sister!” from Aunt Mary who will start going on about how “nothing is more important than stopping Putin and Trump!” Which is when Big Tom is going to call them all a bunch of fucking morons like he did at Thanksgiving after the mid-terms and all hell broke loose. It was pandemonium. Worse than a food fight at an old age home. Punches were thrown, Grampa Glen’s bong collection went flying, spilling mucky bong water on the living room carpet and Big Tom actually got hauled off by the local cops. I still have nightmares of him in handcuffs yelling “You idiots are blind to the Deep State!”

  My mom also invited my five closest friends. They know about my hippie grandparents, but nothing in life has ever prepared them for my CSPAN-meets-Walking Dead family? What can I do?

Samantha ‘19 a.k.a. Trapped and Mortified in Denver.


Dear Samantha,

My Cousin Phreaky, who was really my step-cousin, which means he wasn’t, technically, my cousin at all, used to show up on my birthday and give me a soaked and drooping box with a festive red bow tied on it.

  I’d start removing the sopping wrapping paper and he’d yell out, “It’s a Box of Rain, dude!” —as if this was the greatest joke in the world.

“I was hoping for a bowl of air,” I’d say, without cracking a smile. 

Then, although I wanted to throw the soggy mess at Phreaky’s head, I just tossed it into the garbage.

  Eventually, Phreaky got the message. His joke wasn’t that funny. In fact, it was offensive to me.

  People who forsake the work of the One and his apostles Phil, Bobby, Mickey, and Bill, do them a great disservice.  And it seems like your eight grandparents have missed the larger lesson, or what I call the Vibe of the Tribe, which is we are all—or should be—playing in the band.

  What does playing in the band mean in the context of your divided grandparents?

  Let me be blunt: Right now in the United States of America, we have a president who rails against the freedom of the press, who thinks global warming is a joke, who lusts after bromance relationships with despicable fascist heads of state, and who thinks and acts as if he above the law. Meanwhile, gutless, power-crazed Senators refuse to call him out. It’s about as unhigh a situation as has ever existed. So playing in the band means working to unravel this horrifying state of affairs. And all your elders need to get their shit together and play together to remove these dumb motherfuckers from office.

  Sorry. I get worked up about this.

  Let me get off my soapbox and address your dilemma.

  Get your mom to send out a note with the invitations. Something like:


This is a day to celebrate Samantha and our  POSITIVE collective family vibe. No bad trips will be tolerated. Please leave your combative political egos and deep-seated psychological wounds at home. To help you, Samantha advises you to take these lyrics to heart:

Some folks trust to reason

Others trust to might

I don'’t trust to nothing

But I know it come out right


Say it once again now

Oh, I hope you understand

When it's done and over

Lord, a man is just a man



Playing in the band


Daybreak on the land


Some folks look for answers

Others look for fights

Some folks up in treetops

Just look to see the sights

Grandparental Politics Ruin Graduate Gal's Highest Moment!

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and I'll rock you back an answer as pronto as possible!

"Metaphysical Graffiti will make you think twice (and laugh thrice).” —Will Hermes, author, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire

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DAAD #7: Sinister Patchouli Plot Revealed
DAAD #8: Bobby vs. Pigpen and Phil Kavanaugh
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