They said it would bring disaster. They said the country would go to pot. They said it would cause the sky to fall. There were even little chickens runnin' all about the place, bobbin' their heads up and down in agreement. Well my little chicken friends, the sky did fall and the country did not go to pot as previously, had been thought. MOUSES!
I bet you're all wonderin' what in the world peeps believed could bring wreck and ruin to the country and cause the sky to come tumblin' down. Why, I'm talkin' about the legalisation of nip, of course. What else?
Once upon a time, back in the olden days, there was very limited availability of the nip. There were a few backyard growers, of course, scattered about the country. Chamomile and mint imbibin' peeps would grow a patch or two of the stuff, usin' it for medicinal purposes and to augment their herbal teas. If you were a lucky cat, livin' with such an herbal tea lovin' peep, you could sneak out into the garden every now and then and grab a paw of the leaves for yourself.
I'm sure it was a cat who first discovered that while Nepeta cataria might calm and relax the nerves of peeps, it had the exact opposite effect on the superior, feline species. For cats, the nip gets us... well... nipped.
Some of these aforementioned herbal tea lovin' peeps eventually started growin' a little extra nip on the side for the neighbourhood cats. They would harvest this nip each fall, hanging up big bunches of the stuff to dry on porches and verandas and in barns and whatnot. This dried nip was then used to make nip mice and biff bags and all sorts of wonderful toys appropriate for kitties of legal age.
Cats in the country and the burbs were in luck for, generally speakin', they had easy access to the nip. If your own peeps didn't grow it, someone nearby likely did. But what about city cats? Where could they get their paws on some nip? This was a major dilemma, for sure.
It didn't take long before the Weasel Syndicate saw an opportunity to make a profit on the nip-sellin' front. Those weasels - bein' weasels - would head out to the burbs, sneakin' into the backyards of unsuspectin' nip-growin' peeps each fall. Not wantin' to do the work of growin' and harvestin' the nip themselves - after all, they are weasels - they would wait until peeps had their nip hangin' out to dry. They would then steal those bunches of nip and take 'em back to the Weasel Syndicate.
Let me tell you what you might have found, a century or so ago...
Picture it, you come across what appears to be a reputable business on a busy city street. Enterin' said business, you find a dark, smoke-filled room, filled with weasels smokin' whatever weasels smoke and drinkin' whatever they drink. Weasels laughin' and cajolin', drinkin' away their profits from the illegal nip trade. After makin' your way through this weasel-infested room, you come to another door. You give the weasel guardin' said door the password - which you have previously obtained from a secret but highly reliable source, for a somewhat reasonable price, before startin' your investigation - and you are allowed entry. What lies before you is a scene that brings shock and disbelief.
In this inner sanctum of the Weasel Syndicate you find a brightly lit room with bare white walls and stark, yet sparkling, white floors. There are rows upon rows of tables and workin' at these tables are weasels, all clad in long white coats and gloves. The weasels are strippin' the nip branches of their dried leaves, sortin' and crushin' those leaves, weighing 'em carefully and then packagin' them up into little clear plastic baggies. These bags of nip are destined to make their way onto the city streets where they will be sold to city cats, allowin' them, too, to imbibe in the nip.
Now you might be thinkin' that the ways of the past worked. Cats were gettin' their nip and the weasels were makin' a little money on the side but in truth, this black market nip trade was rife with problems.
For starters, the weasels were makin' a fortune. Do you know what a gang of weasels does with the money it makes? Neither do I but rest assured, it's not good. After all, they're weasels. MOUSES!
Secondly, the Weasel Syndicate had the city nip markets cornered and there was no quality control. There was no one controllin' nip quality at all.
Weasels were takin' short cuts left, right and centre. They were cuttin' the nip in ways that were shortin' their customers, for sure. Instead of just usin' the leaves and dried flower buds of the nip, they were usin' pieces of stem. Cats were findin' stems in their nip! It was outrageous.
And stems weren't the only thing a cat might find in that nip. All sorts of cheap fillers were bein' used. Those weasels would cut their stuff with anythin' that even resembled nip. Peppermint, spearmint and even lemon balm. Once, I heard tell of a cat buyin' a baggy of nip from some street corner dealer named Jack only to find he had just purchased an old lavender sachet that had been pulled straight out of somebody's grandmother's dresser drawer! MOUSES!
And it didn't stop there. The nip market was growin' exponentially and thefts from backyard growin' ops, couldn't keep up. The weasels had stolen all they could steal from the mom and pop operations and moved onto bigger nip-growin' fields. Unlike the healthy, organically grown nip from backyard herb gardens, some of these larger fields had been contaminated with all sorts of who-knows-what but the syndicate didn't care. They just needed that nip. Their profits were at stake.
Thankfully, at some point, peeps saw a way to bring an end to the weasel monopolization of this black market nip trade with the legalisation of the nip.
In the modern world of today, nip can be purchased almost anywhere. Health food stores, pet stores and even grocery stores have all taken advantage of the Nip Rush by sellin' nip. Catnip has become commercialised, for sure. And the government takes a cut as well. That's right, my friends, nip is a taxable product. The government taxes our nip! MOUSES!
Of course, there are still plenty of backyard grow-ops around. Almost every gardener worth his or her salt - you might wanna pay attention to that, ol' peep of mine - has at least a little patch of the stuff growin' for the neighbourhood moggies. But the backyard growers are no longer bein' faced with the constant thefts by members of the Weasel Syndicate. Oh sure, the Syndicate still exists but as there is no longer a profit to be made with the illegal nip trade, it has moved onto bigger and better things. I understand they're now breakin' into the businesses of bankin' and politics and whatnot. MOUSES!
Before legalisation, any cat, anywhere, could buy the nip from a weasel but now, there are controls in place. A weasel would sell to any kitten weaned from his mama but now only kittens of legal age can get their paws on the stuff.
What's more, a weasel would sell a cat as much nip as he or she could afford with never a thought given to the health or welfare of said cat. A cat high on the nip can get out of control. Believe me, I know. Now with nip bein' all legal and whatnot, cats can get nipped in the safety and comfort of their own homes, avoidin' the possibility of becomin' a public nuisance. Nothin' worse than seein' a cat all nipped up, pickin' fights with the neighbourhood squirrels. MOUSES!
The legalisation of nip has made possible its regulation and that really is a very good thing, for sure.
Of course, there were those who once said that the legalisation of nip would facilitate the use of other recreational substances. Nip today, vine tomorrow. Well actually, the naysayers might have been right about that. Even we have a little patch of Valerian root growin' although it's only my brother Seville who likes it. Stuff smells of stinky feet, you see. Again I must say, MOUSES!
While the trade of illegal nip might once have only made it into the crime beats of the local papers, it is now entirely possible that we'll be seein' mention made of nip futures in the financial sections and perhaps even a column or two by a nip editor. That's right, papers could have nip editors, discussin' the best varieties of nip, best nip toys available and nip sales goin' on. Basically, discussin' all things nip. And who better to be one of those editors than me? I'll be a paw-in, for sure. MOUSES!