Pot…

My last post made me start thinking of those nostalgic herbal days of the past. As a child of the 60s/70s, I grew up in an era that preceded the “war on drugs” with its commensurate “this is your brain on drugs” PSAs which, by the way, have been immensely successful in some ways. I found this out many years after college when Mom and I got together. She’s at least one generation younger and occasionally a conversation with her friend or friends would meander around to drug use or maybe just college shenanigans and I would relay a story from the old school days that inevitably revealed the preponderance of mary jane, say in the dormitories or something, and the friend would suddenly look at me with the look. If you’re in your 50s, then you probably know the look… it’s the “wow, I knew you were old but I didn’t realize you were one of those criminal druggies the frying egg warned us about”. The fact is that I didn’t even know anyone in school who didn’t get stoned at parties and other social events and of course there were some that started when they awoke and kept going til they hit the sack. The dorms were crawling with parties and everyone it seemed had a rolled up towel at the base of their door. We’d play darts, listen to our LPs or sit around and have hilarious conversations that we would forget ever happened the following day.

So here’s my favorite cannabis story. The background for it is that I never tried pot until I was 18 in central NY, which in retrospect probably had more to do with availability than anything else because I lived in a very very small rural town. Sure there were kids that got high but it wasn’t as prevalent as it certainly must have been in larger towns or cities. I mention this only to point out that the couple of times I partook prior to college did not qualify me as experienced in any way. So, at 19 I ventured south not realizing the vast differences that still haunt me today. At Thanksgiving the first year in KY I traveled to Louisville to spend the Thanksgiving break with a friend who had graciously invited me to his home because I couldn’t afford to make the trip north. I also had no car and no driver’s license (another story) so I wasn’t going anywhere. The point is that it was November and I had only arrived in KY two months prior. So I came up here to Louisville and my friend (let’s call him Marvin) lived south of downtown in what seemed like an urban irish neighborhood but who knows really. So we arrive at Marvin’s house and his Mom’s in the kitchen and his Dad’s not home… yet. We say hi and immediately head upstairs to Marvin’s little brother’s room. The door was closed and as we opened it to enter, a dense cloud of smoke wafts out of the room. We entered the room and quickly closed the door. The only light in the room came from a window and it was overcast so the room was relatively dark. “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys” was blaring from the stereo and Marvin’s brother was sitting cross-legged on the bed with a bread bag full of pot in front of him…

He hands Marvin a spleef and, being as inexperienced as I was, I voiced my reticence about getting stoned while his Mom was just downstairs. Marvin assured me that his mom never came up to their rooms and that I shouldn’t worry about it. Well, I doubted that there would be a problem because, well because clearly Marvin and his brother had no compunction about it. So I thought, what the hell and we got really baked. I remember to this day that wonderful Stevie Winwood song pulsing with the surreal lyrics and suddenly the door opens and this big, very stout red-headed dude walks into the room with a menacing look on his face. He was not sociable or friendly in the least and he kept staring at me in a very disturbing manner. I know what you’re thinking… that I was so stoned that I was just being paranoid. To counter this notion, I’ll take a brief digression as I point out that years later I became friends with another Louisville native who coincidentally knew this same football-player sized redhead. Before I ever relayed this story, he told me a story of how they had gone hiking down in the Red River Gorge together and as they stopped to eat something, the dude took out a shotgun and as he loaded the first bullet said… “one for X” (insert my friend’s name there) and after loading a second said… “one for me”. Fortunately, nothing tragic came of this but it gives you an idea of the sense that I felt in Marvin’s brother’s room. Eventually the big dude left to my great relief and I settled back into a blissful euphoria. As we relaxed in the smoke-filled room, I was wakened from my reverie by the sound of Marvin’s mother yelling up the stairs… “dinner’s ready”. As they say, or should I say, as they text nowadays… OMG! OMG! Really? Dinner’s ready? Of course being the veterans that Marvin and his brother were, they had no problem with this and simply dismissed me as being silly. So down the stairs. At that point Marvin’s father was home and his other brother, a law student at UofL and his sister were all seated at the dinner table and I was about as stoned as I had ever been. Introductions were made and of course that entire interchange was peppered with my thoughts of “did I just say that out loud?” and “was she talking to me?”, etc. We eventually sat down to one of the longest meals I’ve ever eaten. Aside from playful smirks and jibes from the other siblings, what I remember most was Marvin’s father, who I eventually came to be much closer to, holding court in a way as he talked on and on about the local democratic politics of whatever district they resided there in the city. I hadn’t a clue what he was on about nor do I now but what I really wanted was to climb those stairs as soon as possible and get back to that cave of a bedroom and chill chill chill. Thus my real introduction to the demon gateway drug was complete. The next day was a repeat of that day and we went out that night, robbed a liquor store, beat up a homeless person, stole a car, tortured a stray dog and finally jumped off of a 10 story parking garage because we thought we could fly. I guess those PSAs were right and war on drugs is legitimate. And now all these years later, no one realizes that I am addicted to meth and heroin… isn’t it obvious by the pots I make? Lest this post be all about pot and not about pots, here’s the cuppage I’ll be working on for some time…

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6 Responses to “Pot…”

  1. Rob, Simple Circle Studios Says:

    Good story. I assume you have heard about the Washington and Colorado legalization votes?

  2. Barb at Alchemy of Clay Says:

    Thanks, loved the link for the Traffic recording…been many years since I’ve heard it.

  3. Ashley Says:

    Oh the good old days. I may not be 50 but I went to University in British Columbia Canada, so that should explain a lot. I think we used it as garnish on our pizza.

  4. M@ Says:

    Dang, Jim! What a pot head. And that poor stray dog!

  5. Michèle Says:

    those were the daze!

  6. Call me Cool Breeze Says:

    As “Marvin’s” little brother (and I do look forward to calling him that in L-ville this Christmas), I feel free to make comments.
    1) A very funny trip down memory lane. I seldom laugh out loud and spew coffee while staring at a computer screen.
    2) I never really followed what the old man was going on about, either, even when I was not stoned.
    3) I would not ascribe the weirdness to any southern-ness. If I have my red-haired dudes correct, he came from Appalachia, which produces much harder characters than the sunny south. And as transplanted Yankees, my family was not a product of Southern Gothic—I still remember the look on my mother’s face when, after she asked for tea in a restaurant, the waitress brought her a glass of brown liquid with ice in it. Every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way.
    4) Your daughter and pottery are lovely.

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