My Beautiful Wickedness

My sentiments exactly.
February 4, 2009, 8:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yes, I’m lame for not posting more. I am getting slammed at work; I had forgotten just how draining the job can be. Plus, I’m still gamely traveling on with the whole “don’t forget about yourself” project and while it’s not exactly a part-time job, it does involve more from-scratch cooking (with which I get abundant support from John, who really does most of the cooking around here) and working out and sleeping more. What I’m finding is that one of the ways that I make it appear that I can do everything all at once is by never sleeping. That’s not a sustainable way to live. So, reluctantly, I’m having to slow down on some things and blogging is one of them.

Anyhow, I ran across this Radley Balko piece on Michael Phelps and I thought I’d pass it along. I never was a pot smoker. I hung out with a lot of pot smokers once upon a time, but I just wasn’t into it. I didn’t like the hazy feeling (speed was my illegal drug of choice) and I have always been somewhat protective of my lungs, if you don’t count that infatuation with clove cigarettes in the spring of 1985. However, I see nothing wrong with pot use. I see something wrong with wasting your life sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and watching the PowerPuff Girls, but let’s be honest; most people grow out of that and those that don’t probably are dodging bigger issues of which pot smoking is merely a symptom.

There are many reasons not to smoke pot. It doesn’t particularly taste good (to me), it’s expensive, it’s against the law and you can go to jail if you do something flagrantly stupid (even when you’re white and middle-class, because there are no end of people who want to dance their superiority dance on you and make you an example of what happens to BAD KIDS OF HIPPIE PARENTS), and because you’re smoking unfiltered tar-laden weeds, it’s hard on your lungs. It tends to thin your hair out, if you care about that sort of thing, but that’s not universal. If you’re in a situation where you need to keep your wits about you or when you’re operating a vehicle, it’s good not to be stoned because your judgment isn’t so good when high and your reaction time is impaired. It messes up your memory acquisition, so it’s not a drug to use when you’re heading off to class. It puts you in the company of people who may not give a damn about the finer points of legality and people who deal drugs (even small time dealers, like the people I knew) are not very trustworthy when it gets down to it. You can get in over your head quickly and it is often the case that drug “friends” aren’t really your friends when you run out of drugs, especially when you’re in college and don’t have much of a history with your peers. I guess that’s the case I’ll be making to my kid when she is of age. What I won’t be doing is drawing a moral bright line between the saved and the damned, the straight and the stoned.


18 Comments so far
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To paraphrase a very old joke:

“Is it okay if I only do it until I need extensions?”

Seriously, what you said about pot use being symptomatic of other, larger problems is probably right on the money. I suspect that if we stopped throwing low level dealers and users in the pokey (and REALLY went after the urban gangs who friggin’ kill people for cryin’ out loud!) that we would not see a huge surge in pot-related violence. Obviously, if the feds weren’t able to eliminate the use of alcohol in the early part of the 20th century you would think they would have learned that such a task is Sisyphian, by its very nature. But, then again, when has the fed ever learned from it’s expensive mistakes?

Kudos to you, for posting at all. I don’t post as much lately, because my fingers–and brain–get frozen if I sit still too long in my underheated home. It’s sort of like being stoned, without the buzz.

Comment by democommie

“…infatuation with clove cigarettes in the spring of 1985”

You were one of those? Some of my band’s psuedo-groupies were clove cigarette smokers. Memories…

“It tends to thin your hair out..”

I never knew that. I guess that explains my Blago-hair.

My pot abstinence was borne of rebellion; not against my parents (who nutured me), but my peers (who mostly rejected me). As you recall, in 1982, even valdedictorians were lighting up. Not smoking pot was my way of sticking it to the man, so to speak. That, and nerding out over ELO.

Later, when high school/college social dynamics no longer concerned me, I rebelled against another norm: as a metal-pop musician who didn’t smoke pot. You should see the looks I got in the studio in 1987.

Now I’m just old and cheap.

Of course, I never gave it much thought till someone recently accused me of abstaining for reasons of piety. If they only knew.

Comment by Slartibartfast

Early in college, I was philosophically (and mostly in practice) a straight edge punk — came in right after the shouting, but before the veganism when the way to stick it to the man, as you say, was being cleaner than thou. My general disdain for diurnal life (I made an exception in my straight-edginess for speed, which led to big crashes and arrhythmia and all sorts of bizarre situations which are better left in the past) and my rejection of institutional conformity and things like going to class nearly got me tossed from college, so I had to calm down a little bit on that.

I liked the fashion of the mods and New Romantics and so I made that scene for a while. It takes a long time to find a good vintage dress and they weren’t cheap, so I didn’t have the cash for pot and didn’t want anything but clear drinks spilled on my finery. I was dating a guy (Hi, John Gruver!) who didn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs and so while we were deeply into the music and the performative aspects of 1980s pop culture, the drug part of the 1980s passed me by.

Anyhow, I have realized that I could be on the moral high ground (pardon the pun) about pot due to the accidents of my personal history and that as Kid gets older, I would be shirking my duty to her if I didn’t clearly communicate why I don’t think pot smoking is a great life plan. But then I just have to trust her to live her life as I have lived mine, steering serendipitously around catastrophe or riding them out when they hit.

Demo, head to a library or a bar to thaw out. It’s brutally cold up here and no amount of wood can keep an under-insulated house warm.

Comment by bridgett

i am now totally convinced that smoking weed is evil since it limited Phelps to winning only 8 gold medals in last year’s Olympics

Comment by coffee

You know, I’ve had a little baggie of weed in a *secret undisclosed location* for going on …. hmm, I’d guess about fifteen years now? I think I’m over it.

Comment by RockyCat

Here’s a screed on this topic that you might enjoy, regardless of whether you agree with it:

Comment by John Gruver

^ Damn, I’m an idiot! How did I not notice that I linked to the very topic of your post? Oy…

Comment by John Gruver


No wood heat, no central heat. Four layers on top, three on the bottom. I’d go to the liberry, but they don’t got happy hour over there. I’m off to the bar, after I have some sausage, peppers and onions–I got no heat, but I sure can cook! Hey, I just looked out the window and saw a mink–wearing a fleece!

Comment by democommie


I NEVER smoked pot and my hair is thinning anyway!

Comment by Gerald

One thing I noticed about the potheads at school, they were always nice.

Comment by patti

John, you know what they say about great minds…I actually find stuff like this funny and consoling, to know that we’re still so much on the same page. It’s like a little act of communion.

Comment by bridgett

The potheads in my high school have turned out fine, for the most part. They have rewarding jobs, seem happy, generally good family people, looking forward in life. The drunk jocks are still drunks and overall they are in dead-end small-town Glory Days mode.

Comment by bridgett

Gerald, John (my husband) feels your pain. He’s getting some shiny pink hair on the top when he bends over to tie his shoes, as one might predict if they met his dad or either of his granddads. However, his 5k time is just a shade slower than it was in high school, so he happily flies past all of these 20-odds who are slowed down by their luxuriant locks and beer guts.

Comment by bridgett

I smoked hellacious amounts of pot in my teens and early 20s, and my hair is still very thick. Maybe the mescaline cancelled the marijuana out?

Comment by nm

There’s a lot of theories about why the thinning hair, because it doesn’t happen for everyone. THC cools your scalp and it also builds up in hair follicles, so that may be part of it. Much of the evidence on it suggest a correlation rather than a direct causation, like for example, people smoke more when they are under stress as a coping mechanism, so the stress might cause the hair to fall out. People who buy pot with their grocery money or stay stoned and don’t eat well contribute to hair loss through malnutrition. Men seem much more affected than women, so there’s some acceleration of male pattern baldness that they don’t really understand why it happens, other than it does change your hormonal balance somewhat and men who smoke a lot of pot produce more estradiol, which is the major estrogen in the body — so that might cause them to get less hairy. (The good news in that, ladies, is that the augmentation of estradiol through pot smoking suggests that a little pot might work as well as hormone replacement therapy and would be effacacious to level out hot flashes.)

Comment by bridgett

a little pot might work as well as hormone replacement therapy and would be effacacious to level out hot flashes.

Now they tell me.

Comment by nm

I’m under incredible stress every day yet my hair never falls out. What’s up with that?

Comment by Nick Dupree

It’s love, maaaaaan. Or really good genes. Or simple orneriness?

Comment by bridgett

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