The Ballad of an American Hero
Way back in the beatnik days,
In times of cheap, abundant weed,
There lived a young hipster boy
Named Johnny Reeferseed.
One day old Johnny got it in his mind
To travel far and wide
And plant patches of herbal joy
All round the countryside.
So he packed up everything he owned,
Said goodbye to Mom and Pop.
Said goodbye to their little cottage,
And to the local cop.
Said goodbye to his hipster buddies,
And to the neighbors, too.
But what touched him most was sayin' goodbye
To his younger sister, Sue.
To her he said, "Sue, life is short
"And the world ain't really small.
"Don't think you have to go out
"And try to see it all.
"Be happy when you can,
"And when you're sad endure it.
"And if that don't work, a little toke
"Of the magic weed will cure it."
Sue looked sadly into his red eyes
And said, "Johnny please don't go.
"There's no one else around can teach me
"How to make the ganja grow.
"We'll be lost without you, Johnny,
"This town'll be dry as a bone!"
He said, "Never fear, Sue, when I harvest my weed,
"You know I'll send some home."
So he left his little town
In his shorts and his old sandals.
In a backpack was his water bong
And fifteen psychedelic candles.
He had his Zig-Zag papers, his hashish pipe,
Everything a stoner needs.
To top it off he brought a sack,
Filled with fifty thousand seeds.
They were the best seeds a doper could want,
Just waitin' to germinate
And blossom into juicy buds
That only a cop could hate.
His plan was to plant 'em deep
In patches by the roadside.
And in the towns and round the farms,
With which the locals to provide.
So Johnny hitchhiked all around,
Trading his grass for food.
And he camped beneath the shining stars,
Sleeping in the nude.
He planted seeds all around,
Leaving a trail of weed
That was free to all, big or small,
Who felt they had the need.
He planted gardens in Seattle,
Where espresso shops abound.
And all along the Mississippi,
Johnny's footprints could be found.
Some Cleveland heads found a patch,
And smoked it with a bong.
One said grinning, "That's even better
"Than the last shit from Hong Kong."
He left his mark on California,
He planted forests in Massachusetts.
And in New York, Pakistanis smoked it
Outta them Persian what's-a-who's-its.
In Florida, they knew his name,
They smoked fatties in his honor.
At Christmastime, Rudolf found some
And made sure to share with Donner.
And so it came to pass
That the whole damn country was filled
With a million of the finest plants
(Minus some narcs found and killed).
And Johnny Reeferseed was on the road
For thirty some-odd years,
Leaving behind such luscious gifts
As brought grateful heads to tears.
Imagine the glee of this great nation's
When they looked in their yards and saw those plants
Of which they were now the owners.
And think of the Day-Glo-painted buses
Of those heads who traveled the highways,
When they looked to the side, saw fields of pot,
And headed for the skyways.
And think of the cops who couldn't figure it out,
In spite of all their tips.
They kept a sharp eye on Mexico and at the docks
Went through all the ships.
They wondered where it all came from,
As if it sprang out of thin air.
For despite their greatest efforts,
Every stoner got his rightful share.
Throughout the land, there was rejoicing,
And in Washington great sorrow.
For every head was stoned today
And would most likely be tomorrow.
At last big business came to a halt,
For the workers' minds were zooming.
No bombs got built, no oil got drilled.
Only the munchie industry was booming.
Things went great for a while.
Most folks were stoned and very kind.
Just livin' and tokin' and jokin' together,
Leaving hate and greed behind.
But nonprofit, peaceful coexistence
Just ain't the capitalist way,
And Johnny's free gardens of grass
Were nearing their final day.
It was during the Reagan years
That an FBI man stood up and said,
"There's dope growin' everywhere, and I won't rest
"Until the last plant's dead.
"Let's have a war on drugs
"And stamp out this evil weed!
"Crime has a name in this country,
"And it's Johnny Reeferseed!"
So this FBI guy, in his brown suit and tie,
Climbed into his plain brown sedan.
He hit the highway and his tiny mind
Began to formulate a plan.
He picked up Johnny's trail of pot
Just outside of Tucson,
And extorted info outta captured dopers
Whom he declared a truce on.
He'd let 'em go, as long as they said
Which way old Johnny'd gone.
By no self-respecting pothead would be
A slimy G-man's pawn.
So they all told him,
Under pressure of his loaded gun,
"Johnny went off thataway,
"Into the setting sun."
But the truth was that Johnny
Had gone back to the old Northeast,
To the fertile fields of Vermont
For the autumn's harvest feast.
And while this FBI guy
Was scouring the Western plain,
Johnny smoked fresh-reaped buds
With all the heads of Maine.
And when the cop finally reached New England,
Johnny to the West had flown,
To Washington, Oregon, and California,
Where his legend was well known.
And when the cop sought him there,
His friends hid him in the cellar,
And said, "No officer, he ain't here;
"He's not our type of feller."
So for nigh on a decade,
This cat-and-mouse chase raged.
Neither would give up the run,
Though it got slower as they aged.
Until finally, in the early nineties,
Johnny was apprehended in Alabama.
The FBI man, he smugly said,
"You're goin' to the slammer."
But Johnny just shook his head.
He smiled and chuckled for a while.
You see, he'd just eaten a pound of grass;
He'd be stoned throughout the trial.
The judge looked into his bloodshot eyes
And asked, "You know just what this means?
"Why couldn't you plant corn or rice,
Or patriotic, American beans?"
Johnny said, "But the crop I've chosen
"Suits this country well.
"It's the nonstoned among us
"Who'll take this land to hell.
"This system of yours has filled the land
"With discontented mopers,
"And made hated criminals out of us
"Happy and harmless dopers."
But the judge didn't like Johnny's words,
And he let the gavel fall.
"Thirty years in San Quentin!" he cried
In a voice that filled the hall.
When the sentence was pronounced,
In the room was not a sound.
Till judge, guards and DA gasped,
For Johnny could not be found.
He slipped away right out from under
Their prying and prodding noses.
To track him down, they fetched riot gear:
Helmets, tear gas, fire hoses.
But they didn't have to look too long,
He was caught the very next dawn.
He'd sneaked back in and was planting seeds
Right on the courthouse lawn.
So now Johnny resides within
The cold walls of San Quentin jail.
At least there they respect his feats,
And so don't violate his tail.
But life is hard without pot and sunshine.
Very hard and cruel, too.
The only solace Johnny gets are visits
From his younger sister, Sue.
She tells him hopeful stories,
And often sweetly sings.
And I speculate it ain't mere poppyseeds
In all them cakes she brings.
For she knows what Johnny likes,
And it'll be long before he's out.
But in the prison yard, some funny plants
Are just now beginning to sprout.