DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. Todd Schepper is a 55-year-old man who still lives in his parents’ basement in this suburb of Chicago, but today he’s on top of the world. “We won,” he repeats quietly to himself as he walks past posters of his favorite rock bands and climbs the stairs into the bright light of his mother’s kitchen. “I can’t believe it!”
Botticelli: “I freaking give up.”
The cause of Schepper’s jubilation was a diplomatic cable he received from Michael Botticelli, the current U.S. “drug czar,” reading simply “The War on Drugs is over,” causing the stoned pothead and his friends to emerge from hiding in much the same manner that Japanese soldiers stumbled out of South Pacific caves long after World War II ended.
“Like the Viet Cong, middle-aged pot heads stuck to their home turf and conquered an invading force,” says Cornell Wilbur, a professor of military strategy at the Army War College. “They operated in the dark, using only black lights and glowing Jimi Hendrix posters to guide them, and prevailed.”
The War on Drugs was actually not a declared war, much like the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam in which the U.S. became involved. “We were just passing around a doobie listening to the Moody Blues when the first attack came,” recalls Chad Howard, who in 1970 loaned his friend Schepper an Iron Butterfly Greatest Hit album that was lost in the ensuing confusion as they scrambled upstairs to stockpile munchies in anticipation of a prolonged siege.
Schepper’s parents provided a vital lifeline of supplies over the next three decades, enabling the young men to remain in their bean bag chairs while their peers surrendered and were forced into boring, high-paying jobs.
President Obama will sign the peace treaty on behalf of the United States in a formal ceremony at The Head Shoppe, a purveyor of drug paraphernalia located in enemy territory on Chicago’s North Side.