While there was definitely a healthy propaganda machine active in the 50's to vilify marijuana, I don't think that is reason enough to write off the negative impacts of marijuana on society. We're at the onset of a grand social experiment here in the US. A few states have legalized it, and I am SUPER curious to see what the impacts will be in 10 years. We're only a few years in, and of course pot champions are hailing the success of the legalization.
I fall on the 'gateway' side of things. Is weed bad in and of itself? Probably not as bad as most people perceive. Does it lead to way worse things and should therefore be avoided/made illegal? I believe so.
"Oh, so you're just part of the teeming masses of idiots who will believe whatever the government tells you?"
No, some of us think for ourselves. Now, let me be clear. I have friends, former roommates, and even relatives who use weed recreationally. I haven't come to my conclusions without hearing a lot of debate. My conclusions are based on empirical evidence, anecdote from medical and law-enforcement professionals and my own life. This story comes from a real-life experience. The names of actual people have been changed to protect their...I don't know, I guess pride.
First you need some background.
My wife and are are on a family cell plan with my in-laws. Have been for years. Since night and weekend minutes were a thing! So, because of that my area code is from the town where they were living at the time we joined with them: Springfield, IL. It's gotten less confusing as the years have gone by. More and more people just keep their number when they move. Now, that was 10 years ago.
So, if I get a phone call or a text from that area code it is without fail a wrong number. Which, in my world, is a perfect opportunity to mess with someone. If it's innocent I'll simply do what most responsible adults do and gently let the person know they have the wrong number. This is where--let's call her M--comes in. Here is where she started:
The minute you drop the N word...especially if you drag it out and spell it wrong...you have earned the right to my ridicule. I decide I'm going to take this person for a ride. I try to type the dumbest response I could think of, and autocorrect turns it into, "wax zap." Nicely done.
Also, Let's keep track of the "lol" count. I promise she thinks it's a form of punctuation.
Now, I hear some of you asking, "Who is jojo?" That is a truly fantastic question. I have no idea. What is going on? I'm getting on my computer and opening up Google Maps to get a view of Springfield. I'm stalling.
lol score 2.
Now comes the truth. M is a pothead. Let's see just how long ago she started smoking and had her development arrested.
lol double combo score. current count is 4.
Chatham is a suburb on the south end of Springfield. Thanks, Google.
Solid. Now, do I know where wild life is? Wildlife is all around us. I can only assume she means somewhere specific. I frantically Google, "Springfield, wildlife, s-curve." This brings up the Lincoln Magnet School's page with directions to the Chatham Wildlife Sanctuary. Searching the sanctuary and the school lead me to a map that looks like this:
Ding! Ding! Ding! That's right, boys and girls. We have an s-curve! So I see that it is right off exit 98A on Interstate Highway 55. I tell her that I do indeed know where it is, and then I think of the douchiest car I can.
Oh, what's this? She drives a Mercedes? She can afford a little gas money for my amusement. So I take a little time to do some research. at the 22 minute mark I send a text sending her to an exit that is 4 miles south of where she is probably waiting for me...very dry.
I tease it out, but ultimately dangle a carrot.
Now, after I say, "That's the 1," I take a few minutes break to play with my kids. About 7-9 minutes later, assuming that she has taken off and is almost there, I send the message that her chauffeuring service may not be required. Who is Simeon? Again, pulled that name from thin air.
Now, some of you iPhone users may recognize my next message as a standard text message available for you to send when someone tries to call you. That's right M is calling me. The game is up. She will hear my outgoing message, and she will instantly know that I am not who she thinks I am. Which is sad. It's only been a little over a half an hour. Well, I guess all good things come to an end. I will think back on this time fondly as...
WE'RE STILL IN THE GAME! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are not finished yet!
Now, I'd like to take a minute here to point out a few things. She thinks I'm C! Now, if she knows this person she would probably have their number in her phone, which would ultimately show up in her chat session. So, she's having a conversation with C, but it's only showing up as a phone number and not as a contact. She calls that number and hears a stranger's outgoing message (which at that point was for a small handyman business I had) and is put back into play by a simple series of questions to put her on the defensive. And in just 5 words she's back in.
I also know that she is almost to the second location, so I have to have boogied by now. So I say we're gone.
For those of you keeping score at home that is 5 & 6 lols.
Now, I add a little intrigue and bring in John Law. What follows has to be one of my favorite parts. M 'sees' a green Scion in the parking lot at Walmart. I can't make this up. I can't explain it. It's the classic snype hunt where the unwitting victim believes that a complete lie is true. Behold, the power of the mind. If you believe it, you can achieve it!
I let some time roll by. I talk to my wife. Play with my kids some more. And now, with a brief hiccup courtesy of autocorrect, we proceed.
I tell her I'm getting a ticket and then let another 15 minutes roll by. I can't explain or take credit for what I think of next. I'm not really sure where it came from, but:
I swear I've only ever done that, like, twice in real life. And I was stone sober.
Now, I'm coming pretty rapid fire with my texts. And she is with the lol's. We're at 8. At this point I'm giggling uncontrollably because I picture her in her black Mercedes in the empty parking lot of a wildlife refuge having just spent the last hour driving around Springfield, Illinois, hoping to get some weed that she left a party to get from some exibitionist in a green Scion. I'm the one actually laughing out loud, but I don't feel the need to share that just yet.
We're both typing fast enough that our responses are overlapping our questions. I tell her to get out of her car and wave at me. I LOL, and she says she does. Also, "at the park with swings and slides and sh**," has quickly worked its way into my vernacular as the only way to describe a park.
Also, she levels up to text maven with her double digit lol count.
It has now been an hour and 9 minutes. I can't keep this going any longer. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. I drop the bomb. With a photo to prove that I'm not C.
This is not received well. Like, at all.
This is the part where I have to remind you that the whole point of this post has been to prove that marijuana is not good for you. Sure, M may be an outlying data point, but in combination with the rest of the reading I've done on the topic I stand by my stance. And M stands right there with me...
Because what happens next is so fantastic that I think even she would have to come out against the "benefits" of marijuana use. Again, we are overlapping our texts somewhat, so her first one back was written as mine was sending. Then she responds:
This more than makes up for 10 lol's. Not once, but twice she commits malapropism in such an egregious manner as to evoke my inner snark. I can't help it. If you can't spot it then your write their with her.
Now, it almost goes too far.
Once the legal term is dropped, I'm out.
So, that's one amazing way to spend nearly 1 1/4 hours of your life. Is it edifying? No, of course not. But it is a much more creative and memorable way to spend that time than, say, watching TV or smoking weed.
I hope M has thought about her life, and I really hope C has been told this story. I wish the best for jojo and Simeon, and I can't thank Google enough for making moments like this possible. I promise you that with just a little effort you too can make better use of your life. One very easy first step is to just lay down that pipe.
Jesse is a professor at Houston Baptist University. He also directs the school's theatre club, does handyman projects on the side, and produces features and short films. A Pastor's kid/missionary kid, his view of life is at the very least unique. And hopefully helpful.