Tag Archives: smoking

Drop the Roach

Interviewee: ES; Interviewer’s Housemate

“So this is really common in stoner culture. The superstition is that if you drop the roach someone’s sleeping with your partner.”

interviewer asks: “Can you explain what a ‘roach is’?”

“Yeah so like-” *interviewee shuffles around on the bed for a second and pulls out an old mint tin from under their pillow*

“a roach is like the, um, the end of the joint? Kinda. It’s the part closest to the filter.” *interviewee pulls out a soot covered filter from their tin*

Interviewer asks: “so can you explain where the superstition come from?”

“Not entirely sure! When I first started smoking, I accidentally dropped the joint on the floor and my friend at the time was like, ‘yoooo someone’s fucking your bitch’. I genuinely-” *interviewee begins to laugh* “I really don’t know where that came from but apparently it’s a thing. Almost like a sign of bad luck?”

My interpretation: I think this is the funniest thing to come out of stoner culture. It feels synonymous to the Mexican saying “que te robaste?” when you get the hiccups. I think it’s just a way to point out someone’s anxiety or clumsiness when doing the activity. It’s treated more like an omen of bad luck. (I’ve never dropped the roach, is all I’m saying)

Double-Cross Blunt and Other Shaped Blunts

This friend knows a lot about marijuana, and on Halloween (a few days after his birthday) he made a double-cross blunt or a large blunt with two smaller blunts inserted at the far end. The goal is that the smoker will get two friends to light all ends of the blunt so that the smoker gets an initial rush of smoke. This rush of smoke is more powerful than smoking a single blunt, and the idea was first shared in the movie Pineapple Express.

“Basically, it’s this guy, who’s a process server. That’s Seth Rogen, by the way. And then this is James Franco… And then there’s Danny McBride, who’s read and he’s this kind of comedic in the movie. But in the beginning of the movie, when Dale when Seth Rogen picks up his weed from James Franco. James Franco goes, Oh, Bro, I got this sweet Pineapple Express. And you know, like, Oh, they said the name of the movie. But he’s like, Oh, I who am I gonna smoke this cross joint with? I need two people. Because you need three lighters to light the joint. You need to light all three tips. I needed somebody to light the first two tips on the double cross joint and then like the other two for me as I lifted the front.”

There is no religious association with the blunt.

The speaker continued to explain that there are all sorts of shaped blunts (note: a blunt is not the same as a joint). There are turkey-shaped blunts and tarantula blunts (the legs or ‘feathers’ are additional blunts).

When asked what this double-cross blunt meant to him, the speaker said, “You’re smoking with two boys, or whoever’s there. But like, you’re just chilling out. You’re having a good time you’re smoking.”


I know that this piece was important to the speaker and he was very proud of his double-cross blunt. I do not smoke but it is interesting to see that there is an art to creating blunts and edibles (this speaker also creates cannabis butter from sativa which he then uses to make very strong edibles.) Because this speaker has knowledge of weed, I respect him more than were he just a regular ‘stoner.’

In this example, the speaker learned about the cross blunt from the film Pineapple Express, but this tradition is seen in other online weed forums and even Pinterest boards. Lighting the blunt is a group activity because the speaker cannot light all ends of the blunt at once. Adding the double cross shows that the speaker has improved the movie’s version of the blunt, and it allows for multiplicity and variation.

Puff Puff Pass

Main Piece: 

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant and the interviewer.

Interviewer: So you’re an avid weed smoker, right?

Informant: oh yeah, I’ve been smoking basically everyday since highschool. 

Interviewer: Dope, dope my guy… So I know there’s a lot of stoner-specific terms which are thrown around when people are smoking together, do you have any idea what some of these would be?

Informant: Yeah definitely, for starters, a lot of my friends call weed “kush” or “bud” amongst a bunch of other things haha… and everyone knows the whole 4:20 hype, but I’d say the biggest one by far is “puff puff pass”. 

Interviewer: and what does “Puff Puff Pass” Actually mean?

Informant: It’s basically when you’re smoking a joint or something and you’re supposed to only take two puffs before you pass it to the next person in the rotation. It’s mostly a respect thing just so everyone’s getting their fair share of bud and all that. 


My informant is from Minnesota, growing up with a mix of liberal and conservative friends. His parents were both born in America, however, have more republican views than my informant’s more liberal views. Even though he lived in Minnesota, weed is still very prevalent amongst the youth there. He moved to California for college and his smoking habits have stayed more or less the same. 


I think it’s interesting how stoner culture is generally looked at in a negative light, with people saying they’re lazy or disrespectful, while in reality, they have countless sayings and proverbs enforcing moral “rules” on how to be the best smoke buddy. I also found it interesting that stoner culture’s around the world use the phrase “puff puff pass” even though most of the other slang that people use tends to  vary a lot between places and age groups. 

“Three On a Match” Superstition

Main Text:

Lighting three cigarettes with the same match is bad luck.


DS said she heard this over the years of smoking and people had mentioned it to her if she was using matches. She said that she remembers it because she used to be a heavy smoker and it came up fairly often so she would avoid using the same match to light multiple cigarettes just in case in order to avoid any chance of bad luck falling upon her and her family. When I asked her if she would pass this belief along to anyone she said she probably would not because it never really made much sense to her and she does not see many people smoking with matches anymore.


To understand why this piece is passed down it is important to go back to the origins and see where it may have originated from and the theories for why the folk group smokers think “three on a match” is bad luck.

One of the origins of this phrase comes all the way form World War I. If three soldiers were smoking cigarettes during the dark hours of the night then superstition held that one of them was going to die. This is because they believed that striking the match on the box would alert the enemy to the presences of the soldiers and as the matched burned to light the second cigarette the enemy would have time to aim his gun in the direction of where he now knows that the soldiers are. Finally as the third cigarette was being lit up the enemy shooter would be able to see and shoot the third soldier. I think this theory is important because it begins to explain why many smokers in America know and hold this belief because they were taught and/or experienced it way back in the early 1900s. When the war ended in 1918, many of the men who fought in the war came back to the America and shared this superstition they had when out in the battlefield to their families and friends who were also smokers and I believe that this is one of the reasons it caught on initially and still carries on today, even if people do not know why they say it.

Another theory that can be used to analyze how this superstition originated and why it still gets passed along is the theory of the Holy Trinity. Many very religious people that I have known and spoken to in my lifetime believe that using the Holy Trinity symbol (or performing things in threes) as a casual act is very disrespectful to the Holy Law. People who do this they say are helpless in the face of evil (even to the devil himself). To apply this to smoking, this notion has spread and said that those smokers who do light three cigarettes from one match disrespect the Holy Trinity, cause evilness (or bad luck) to come upon them and “light the fires of hell” themselves with that one match that they used. People who happened to be religious who also smoked more likely than not shared this belief with the people that they smoked with and this is how it spread around the smoking community.

The final theory took some research but it explains this folk belief in a more reasonable ( to corporate America at least) way. This theory is about Ivar Kreugar who was a deceitful businessman who bought many matchmaking factories in the 1920’s and monopolized them. This made him rich and powerful to the point where he could spread an entire superstition without question from those he told it to, probably the matchmakers and smokers themselves. The theory goes that Kruegar made up this superstition and then got it to spread among the smoking community as a way for people to use more matches which allows him to sell more matches and make more money.

To summarize, there are three theories that I believe help to explain why this superstition was formed and how it spread to smokers in the United States. The first theory is that during Wold War I this superstition was shared among smokers on the battlefield as a way to make sure that they keep their matches and noises associated with using them hidden from the enemy to not disclose their location and get killed. The second theory is that doing something casual such as lighting a match in threes disrespects Holy Law because of the Holy Trinity and causes evil to come upon you. The third and final theory was that a businessman by the name of Ivar Kreugar monopolized many matchmaking factories in the United States and created this superstition as a way to have people buy more matches so that he could make more money.

A Smoker’s Superstition

The following is a conversation with CL that describes his interpretation of a superstition found among smokers.


CL: As the story goes, back in World War One, there were three soldiers, I don’t know what army they were fighting for or whatever, but they were all in a trench and they were going to have a cigarette, but they only had one match. So, they lit the match, and the first soldier got his cigarette lit. And across the way, there was another soldier watching and saw the light, so he aimed his rifle at the light. And the second cigarette got lit with the next soldier, and that time the soldier across the way took aim. And then the third soldier got his cigarette lit, and the soldier across the way fired and killed all three soldiers. So, it has become unlucky to light three cigarettes off the same match.


EK: Interesting, so do you partake in this superstition yourself?


CL: Absolutely. To this day you’ll find people that will- guys sitting around having cigarettes will give a light to one person with a lighter, and then a second person, and then will stop the light and light the third cigarette with a different lighter. But to this day, I’m not sure if this soldier story is true or not, but smokers partake in it all the time.


EK: So where did you here this from, other than just being a smoker yourself?


CL: That comes down to me from my mom who told me that story when I was much younger. And yeah, I use it myself, so I guess that’s what it means to me, haha.


My Interpretation:

As a non-smoker, I’m not familiar with this superstition. However, several family members of mine are smokers and do partake in this superstition, though as I’ve asked around, not many know the root of the superstition like CL. Though I find the superstition to be strange, I think that smokers find the superstition very serious. I assume that they believe that if they don’t follow this rule, that a variety of bad things associated with smoking could happen to them. Happenings such as dropping the match and everything catching on fire, getting lung cancer, or maybe even just losing your lighter or box of cigarettes, would all be motivation for a smoker to follow through on this superstition, because it’s not worth the chance that these things could happen.