What do King Tut, Christopher Colombus, Louis Armstrong, and Al Capone have in common? Find out in Highly Inventive, the perfect bathroom book for weed lovers.
I have a lot of ideas and not all of them are good, explains BS Wedeman as I am interviewing the two authors of Highly Inventive: A Highbrow History of Man’s Quest For Weed, a fantastic book that was published last summer.
“But this was a good idea,” Ted Tronnes quickly chimes in.
Together, Ted and BS Wedeman wrote and illustrated the hilarious Highly Inventive: A Highbrow History of Man’s Quest For Weed, a piece that instantly became my number one read whenever I had 10 minutes to spare. And that happens to often be in the loo.
“The idea came about, as most of my ideas do: as I was rolling a joint.”
This “bathroom book,” as the authors so lovingly describe it too, boasts a collection of vignettes and illustrations that offer a brief-yet surprisingly detailed, quirky, and ultra-funny look into mankind’s history with weed.
“The idea came about, as most of my ideas do: as I was rolling a joint.” laughs BS Wedeman,
“I’d been reading a book about Benjamin Franklin, who of course invented bifocals. I was using my bifocals at that very moment to see and be able to roll my j, and I started thinking; ‘what other people have, through an invention or some other way, influenced my ability to enjoy marijuana?’” she says, immediately recalling some of the early stars of her book:
There’s John Landis Mason, who invented the mason jar (a go-to recipient for weed); Luis Marcus who invented the bobby pin (which many people use to hold a joint), and the Phoenicians, who discovered glass-blowing and may have invented some of the first glass pipes.
“Immediately, I called Ted and told him about my new idea,” adds BS Wedeman.
Fun facts for a witty weed read
From Ancient Egypt to the colonial US, Ted and BS Wedeman managed to combine close to 90 weed-related vignettes that offer an eye-opening account of just how present cannabis has been throughout human history.
Did you know, for example, that Egyptian pharaohs like Hatshepsut and Tutankhamun used cannabis to relieve menstrual cramps, cleft palate, scoliosis, malaria, and hemorrhoids?
Or that refusing to grow hemp as a US farmer was a crime punishable by jail time up until the 1800s?
“One of the biggest challenges we faced was differentiating between what was true and what wasn’t” explains Ted.
Luckily, BS Wedeman is a professor and professional researcher, so she had access to plenty of reliable databases and information to fuel her research.
To help add some weight to the stories she and Ted included in the book, the two decided to add an appendix with links for those readers wanting to dive deeper into weed history.
Banned from advertising
Now, almost 18 months after BS Wedeman first called Ted with her idea, the two are psyched to have published their work.
“We never thought we’d publish a book about weed,” laughs Ted, who works as a freelance graphic designer and art director in Kansas City, Missouri.
BS Wedeman also has a well established career as a renowned author, researcher, and consultant.
But the comfort of their day-jobs hasn’t slowed the authors’ enthusiasm for getting their book out there:
“I’d love for this book to earn it’s place in every weed-lover’s bathroom,” says BS Wedeman.
Unfortunately, like with most cannabis-related business ideas, achieving that goal is no smoke in the park.
“We just learned that we can’t advertise on Amazon,” says Ted, “because the book relates to an illicit substance.”
BS Wedeman has also opted to write under a pseudonym out of fear of being criticized in her industry.
“If the book were really successful, I would put my name on it. But right now I can’t risk it,” she says.
But the two hope to overcome these hurdles by getting their book into brick-and-mortar retailers like CBD stores and vape/head shops this year.
A podcast based on the book
They are also planning on launching a new line of merch, a podcast with the working title The One Hitter by Highly Inventive (made up of 1-2 minute segments of more weed trivia), and possibly even a second book.
“We’re just having fun with it,” says Ted. “If the book manages to rake in a few dollars, then great, we’ll just pass them on to Haley (the Highly Inventive one-woman marketing team),” he laughs.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for that weed-loving friend or want to stock up on facts to fuel the banter at your next smoke sesh, make sure to check out Highly Inventive: A Highbrow History of Man’ Quest For Weed on Amazon.