I was a seeker of the dark and esoteric arts for many years before I evolved into the world-weary bon vivant you love to love. I came upon the Ming Joint legend during the lengthy wandering journeys of my youth.
I was a seeker of the dark and esoteric arts for many years before I evolved into the world-weary bon vivant you love to love. I was the guy you could discover hanged and dead from autoerotic asphyxiation in a hotel in Taiwan. I’m not saying those days are over—in fact, they’ve just begun—but I wasn’t as exhausted back then. And it was during the early wandering journeys I first learned about the Ming Joint legend.
I can’t recall who told me the story for the first time, but a man of tremendous power hailed from a dwarven family. Dwarves are known to be involved in a lot of magic, so I’m inclined to think this specific narrative might not be a myth after all. No, I’m reasonably confident of that. The Ming Joint exists.
I sipped tawny port and listened as the Man From Dwarves began his story at a squat glass patio table damaged by cigarette ash and beer cans, with the tobacco smell of a fresh cigar hanging low in the heavy atmosphere of nocturnal beach air.
It had also been told to him as a legend, the kind of hucksterism often heard only in the seediest opium dens, but like Pandora’s box, it begged to have its riddle revealed. According to the legend, there was a joint with meager beginnings and an ambiguous ending shared by the tragically rich and foolish poor around society’s campfire. The Ming Joint springs eternally in contrast to most marijuana cigarettes, whose lives begin and finish with fire. Its very name comes from an empire’s tradition of resiliency.
Ex cinis cinereous, ortus approximately translates to “from ashes, birth” in Latin. How fitting that mythology pours life into a dead tongue. The Ming Joint functions: When I say “real down cats” here, I’m probably referring to African-Americans. Back in the 1960s, some genuine down cats had just burned a fine doobie down past what was apparent “roach material.” Typically, the last bit of marijuana that was left over after a good hash session was treated with a James Bondian “live and let die” attitude, but one of those guys had a crazy idea. They would collect the leftover marijuana from their best joints and store it in a Shinola can. There would eventually be sufficient to create an entirely new joint that was essentially free. The Ming Joint was thus established.
If this were to end, the Ming Joint would probably exist as a minor footnote in counterculture mythology, a bedtime tale for stoners. The Ming Joint, however, was going to engage in a completely new reality, much like the very attitude of those long-gone drug users.
A chubby recluse who wisely identified as “Wizard” and drove a van around the periphery of civilization happened to find the exact location of the communal lighting of the first Ming Joint. Let this light not perish here, he uttered in all his immense wisdom. Or something comparable In any case, he planned to smoke the Ming Joint until only a few splinters remained so that it could be gathered and saved. And it would be kept until it could be combined with the ends of other Ming Joints (53 in all), forming a second-generation Ming Joint rather than being squandered on simple hippies with their skag cannabis. The others may have laughed or may not have, but the passion was sparked in the Wizard.
Even though Wizard and his vehicle have long since passed away, I’ve heard that the original Ming Joint—now in its seventh generation—is still being collected and tenderly preserved by guardians of the genuine ideal in anticipation of the day when it might be created… and revived.