For me, a carnal, atavistic and visceral Scorpio, it’s that dreaded anniversary of the planet rounding the sun. My birthday was Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5. It’s vexing because it’s that much closer to 30 for me, turning 29. Well, just as Jerry Orbach had to wait until he was in his 50s to grace us with his portrayal of Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order, or how Enigma waited more than 25 years to release part two of “Sadeness,” dreams and other groovy things take time — as does curing virtuoso cannabis for the hedonistic epicurean. 

High Hopes dispensaries know this well, and occupy a place reserved for the intelligentsia, bohemians and bon vivants of cannabis. The most terrific part is you can be a total ignoramus when it comes to fire flower and still appreciate what High Hopes has on the menu. Combine that with well-lit glass cases and vivacious budtenders, and it’s flabbergasting they only have two locations. High Hopes fills great expectations.

It had been a while since I swaggered into High Hopes’ south location in the Academy Crossings shopping center, but I felt like the prodigal son returning to his empyrean home when I arrived. And I left with some sensational Flonkers Live Badder, extracted from High Hopes’ own grow. 

Even for this taste-maker of a dispensary, this hasheesh was nothing short of electrifying and majestic — a most dynamite delight for my dreary birthday. 

Some violet devil’s lettuce brewed with golden badder (a soft cannabis concentrate) is a delicacy that causes an invigorating head high. The butane- and propane-derived live badder lets out fumes that smell like candied clementines or the tangiest orange with tinges of Pine-Sol. The aftertaste rings of orange rinds, orange cupcake frosting and Lifesavers. And if I was a betting man... the terpene profile seems to express alpha and beta pinene, mycrene and d-limonene. 

Flonkers takes its name from parent strains Bonkers and Flo (aka DJ Short’s Flo) — the latter of which was bred from landrace strains and is highly regarded in the medical marijuana community. Bonkers and Flo are both hybrids, but considering the term is lukewarm and nonspecific, I feel the strain leans weightily on the Sativa side (although the Purple Thai and Afghani Indica parents of Flo eased my epileptic partner’s muscle ache). 

The high made me feel hungry and horny, so I didn’t know if I should go tantric or taste test the pantry, but then it brought me to the place I want all of my crocodile cigarettes with my alligator clip to walk me to... Satori, or sudden enlightenment. I go on a kinhin, a walking meditation, with my Chihuahua and ponder Zen koans with my shiba inu. 

It is in this state I consider a quote by James Shelby Downard: “This is as good a time as any to tell you Nothing Is What It Seems... the hoodwinked populace unfortunately, will sink lower and lower as they discover the extent to which they have been duped and may, reactively, search for a ruler or drug to put them asleep, to make them less aware.” But a top-shelf toke is one that — rather than putting you to sleep — helps you evolve.