Deadiquette: Common Deadhead courtesies demystified

With the surviving members of the Grateful Dead reuniting for their first tour in six years, Deadheads have been whipped into a frenzy. It's been a long time since they've seen one another. Will they be able to shake off the dust? It's hard to say. But with this etiquette column from Modern Miracle, a new magazine for “the discerning Deadhead,” they certainly have a head start toward reacquiring the appropriate decorum.

Hey, Brother, 
I am a proud Deadhead and mother. Recently, my daughter spoke her first word. Now that little Kaya is talking, I wondered how I could get her started on the right track toward courtesy.

Mama Tried

Katy, TX

Thoughts were born free, even incoherent ones. So be sure to teach Kaya not to interrupt others when they're rambling on about “existence.” When your daughter's turn to speak does come, be sure to nod vaguely and say, “Yeah, sister, yeah” — even if what she says is practical advice you should act upon immediately (such as: “Don't kiss that man, Mommy! His trust fund is restricted!”) and not just a mishmash of Timothy Leary quotes. Remember to gently reinforce leaving her “bullshit detector” at home. Because a truly open mind needs to get a little drafty.

Hey, Brother,
I met this cute boy who I thought was a Deadhead. Now I'm worried he might be a freak-folkie instead. Is there a polite way to confront him so I know for sure? 

Pain in My Heart

New Brunswick, NJ

Freak-folkies and jam-band fans are easily confused: They're both hairy, and their homes are decorated with dreamcatchers used to snatch overalls from the ether. And yet they can be quite antagonistic toward one another. So your best route is a subtle one. If he owns back issues of Arthur magazine, or endlessly digresses on Fugs anecdotes stolen from Mojo magazine, you could have a freak-folkie on your hands. If he smells of vegetable oil after refueling his van, you're safe.

Hey, Brother, 
Aren't manners just another tool for the Man to make us feel inferior? I mean, it all seems so arbitrary: “Please!” “Thank you!” “Raid!” Who needs it? 

Throwing Stones

Wellfleet, MA

It sounds like you're unsure where to place your Ps and Qs. Here's a quick review: Use “please” when asking for help. Example: “Will you please tell me where I can find a young puppy on a hemp rope?” In addition, when helping someone else, say “No worries” after they thank you: “Thanks for the chlamydia!” “No worries, man.”    

Hey, Brother, 
I thought opening doors for others was for squares. But my dealer/guru disagrees. Who's right? 

The Stranger

Park City, UT


Opening doors for others is an often overlooked aspect of Dead show etiquette — and I'm not just talking about the doors of perception. When entering a van, allow the member of the party with the messiah complex (usually the one wearing the white robe and Adidas) to go first. Be sure to open the door for this person if you suspect he or she isn't aware there is one.    

Hey, Brother, 
Just how important is a first impression when you're standing in the parking lot outside Shoreline Amphitheatre? 

Here Comes Sunshine

Mountain View, CA 

 First impressions are key, especially when it comes to greeting someone approaching your veggie burrito stand. When the level of formality is unclear, you can give this person a passively clinging hug. He or she will appreciate the semblance of eroticism. Even though, “Hey, we're all brothers and sisters here.”   

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