Imagine, for a moment, Hamlet, pondering his question, wondering, instead of being or nothingness (to be is to do?), or non-being and somethingness (to do is to be?), the choice between action and essence (do be do be do? – oh, no, that’s Sinatra). Oh, he’d have to refer that to a joint session. Got it? Doobie! Reefer! Joint! Ha ha ha hahahahaha oh pass me that thing again man.

I’m not endorsing the use of marijuana (or, if you’re in the RCMP or sticky about original spellings, marihuana), but the Olympic games are here and there will be snowboarding and much of the games are set at Whistler, home of Ross Rebagliati, who almost lost a medal due to using a performance-impairing drug (!), who now runs the Rebagliati Alpine Snowboard Training Academy (RASTA) (this is true). And I think I used the term doobie in a recent word tasting note. What? Oh, huh. Yeah…

So anyway, this word has a kind of snub-nosed roundness to it, with those two voiced stops; it’s also rather childish, with its open consonant-vowel syllables and its [u]–[i] vowels, making the mouth start with a pucker than then spread wide open. Say it again and again. Actually, it’s a pucker like taking a toke and then that silly grin some guys like to do thereafter. It sure is round, anyway, that opening bit, doob, looking like a slow turn of the head, or like two dudes blowing smoke rings at each other, or ears and glasses or whatever… And then the spliff right there i and the guy with the smile e. Or something. Spliff is a softer word with echoes of split, and joint has a point and has echoes of, um, knees and elbows and things and… So but doobie is another word for the same thing but it just feels. Different. You. Know? Know? Now? Ow? W? Oo…

So where did this word come from? What? Huh. Oh, what? No, they don’t know. It’s been suggested that it’s related to dobby. That really helps. I don’t know either. But I guess the fondness of the members of an American rock band for smoking weed has greatly increased the currency of this word, because they took the name The Doobie Brothers and then they got famous for a whole bunch of songs with that a sound that’s both funky and heavy (“China Grove,” “Black Water,” “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “Minute by Minute”). OK, wait, try this, this is really cool, take a 45 of “Urgent” by Foreigner and play it at 33 1/3. It sounds exactly like The Doobie Brothers. No, really! Yeah!

What do you mean no one has 45s and LPS anymore? I have a whole bunch right here. Man, pass me that thing, you’re making me nervous…

No plant matter was combusted or ingested during the writing of this word tasting note.

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