while my guitar gently weeps.
GEORGE SAID YES.When I was in High School I smoked WEED. I hung out with a bunch of WEED DEALERS and on the occasions that their supply dried up, my friends and I would pile into someone's car and drive into the city to buy a bag from whomever happened to be standing on the corner of 2nd and P, NE. I know NOW that this was dangerous (because NOW I've seen EVERY EPISODE of The Wire), but at the time it felt totally safe because we NEVER got out of the car (though I did know a kid who got carjacked there, and he probably operated under the same philosophy that we did. That said, when the police found the car a couple of weeks later and returned it to his parents there were new Alpine speakers installed and a never-worn North Face jacket in the back. The universe has a way of righting itself.). We'd head back to THE SUBURBS and find a street to park, smoke, and blast RAP MUSIC until dinnertime. I went home dumber every single day.
Everything about WEED felt illegal on a number of levels, and I started getting crazy paranoid whenever I smoked (like, do-I-have-two-bodies-one-on-the-inside-one-on-the-outside-does-everyone-hate-me-can-my-parents-see-me-is-there-an-alien-in-my-mouth-no-wait-are-you-sure-seriously-dude-is-there-an-alien-in-there-what-the-fuck paranoid). I realized that the only good thing that had come from my smoking was an evenhanded appreciation for both East Coast and West Coast rap, and JUST SAY NO became my mantra all through college and for several years after. It lasted through to my late 20s, when someone passed me a joint at a party and I was all "what the hell," and then someone else put a Zeppelin record on and my brain fucking exploded.
WHO KNEW? WHO KNEW that WEED was actually POT and that instead of getting FUCKED UP you could get STONED? That getting high didn't have to feel like your parents would disown you, but instead like maybe your whole family could move to a mountaintop and start an organic tambourine business and live together in a yurt and never, ever fight? That maybe, as an adult, a mild hallucinogenic was a GOOD and NECESSARY thing? I felt duped.
I made up for lost time with a hit here and there, a couple of times a month, always careful not to smoke more than I needed to get juuuuuuuust a little high (and as to NOT invite the aliens back into my mouth); if I'd been drinking I'd just ask one of my friends to exhale AT me and that was enough to float me into outerspace. This went on for about a year.
A couple of days before I turned 30 I went to the hospital, having had MAYBE two hits more than my usual ONE. At my sister's insistence (and with my entire body broken out in hives and my hands and feet swollen to twice their normal size), I rolled into the ER at 3 in the morning; by 3:10 I'd decided it was probably best NOT to tell the MEDICAL DOCTOR that I was HIGH on DRUGS; by 3:30 my swelling had gone down; somewhere around 3:45 it took every ounce of strength I had left to mumble "TSS?" without laughing when the doctor stared me in the face and asked what I thought the problem might have been. The answer was obvious, and I kept it to myself. I had OD'd on pot.
And so ended marijuana's second chance. While I maybe have one regret - I never listened to the White Album ON MARS - my JUST SAY NO campaign began, again and by necessity, at age 30. You kids can keep your pot. If you need me I'll be in the Pinot Grigio Lounge. Or taking a nap. BECAUSE I'M OLD.