Barack Obama said there’s no real difference between alcohol and marijuana. I’m tempted to call him President Obama, since it lends more relevance to the news. But to me, in all honesty, yesterday doesn’t care about this news.
The other day at Max’s Deli, the older brother of a childhood friend approached me to say hello.
I asked if he did anything special for the holidays. He said he spent the holidays in Florida, with all of his brothers, all of their kids, all of their cousins. He was beaming with happiness. He told me he was high pretty much every second of every day. Then he paused, to make sure we were on the same page, and asked, “You get high? Don’t you?”
“I smoked pot in high school,” I told him. “I did it to win your brother’s friendship. I smoked pot for a lot of years. But I never liked the way it made me feel. I liked the smell. I liked the camaraderie. But I never liked the way it made me feel.”
Pot was interesting, until it wasn’t. Pot held me back, until it didn’t. Mostly, I grew bored. It’s the same thing with day-drinking and shooting pool. I grew bored. I wanted more from my life than managing hangovers and basing the illusion of friendship on passing around a joint.
Truth is, we still incarcerate non-violent drug offenders while international war criminals who twisted torture into enhanced interrogation techniques go fly-fishing in Wyoming.
Truth is, we still incarcerate non-violent drug offenders while the Ghost of MLK rolls his eyes at our collective lack of audacity.
My favorite speech isn’t “I Have A Dream.” My favorite speech was delivered when Dr. King accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. And I quote: “I have the audacity to believe peoples everywhere can have 3-meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for the minds…dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
It’s the speech where hope first met audacity.
In college, I got into trouble for giving a far less eloquent speech. “What’s the big deal,” I asked, “about blowing a little weed?” I was trying to sound hip and cool. Truth is, I didn’t know anything about being hip. Truth is, I didn’t know anything about being cool. As much as I pretended to like smoking pot, I was more interested in challenging the rules than getting high.
Many years later, I was dating a woman named Lila. We were out with my parents one fateful night when she tried to impress my Dad by telling him she’d never experimented with drugs. Without missing a beat, Dad turned to Lila and said, “It reflects a lack of intellectual curiosity.”
Ah, Brutally Frank! That’s where I get it from. Not the desire to make friends by passing around a joint so much as the desire to try something for myself, see for myself, challenge myself to form my own opinions.
As much as I want to be excited about Barack Obama, President Obama, speaking out on behalf of pot smokers, all I can say is he’s 27-years late to the party. In college, they called us “Time Travelers,” in an attempt to label the group who smoked pot as the kids who were stuck in the past.