Long ago and far away, when he grew up in Ashland, Oregon, arguably one of the more bizarre places on the West Coast to grow up. I asked James to provide a pithy synopsis of the town for the uninitated reader, and he said "Ashland is the midway point between San Fransisco and Eugene."
"That's not real helpful," I said.
"It's very helpful," he insisted. "'Cos if you're a pot-smoking hippy driving from Frisco to Eugene, and you've dropped a few tabs, by the time you get to Ashland you'll be too high to drive any farther."**
I am unable to fault his logic. Certainly, in addition to one of the biggest Shakespeare-fests around, Ashland has far more than its share of deranged hippies, tourists, lunatics and crystal thumpers. Also white trash. Also weird ass people living up in the hills on BLM land who would trade deerskins in town, before getting busted by the man and being forced to live in town. I am not making this up, although I cannot vouch for the accuracy of James's childhood memories, as he did enough recreational pharmaceuticals in his youth to drop a charging rhino. On the other hand, James is today pragmatic, responsible, good-natured, kind, works like a team of sled-dogs, and is very very good at what he does, and takes approximately one sick-day a decade, so I really can't knock the process.
It is because James is, in general, intensely honest, and has been high so often that he's fairly good at it, that I cannot dismiss The Thing With The Ninjas out of hand. For one thing, he's stuck to his guns for a decade. For another, he doesn't particularly expect anyone to believe him, because the story is so very ridiculous.
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