Every now and then, my students (usually the seniors) will ask me if I've ever smoked pot before. Oftentimes, it's phrased in the following fashion, "C'mon, Mr. Johnson, you used to hella smoke weed when you were in high school, didn't you?"
I tell them that I didn't. In fact, I've never tried it. (I did live in the dorms at SF State for a semester though, and I've been to a lot of rock concerts, so I'm sure that I've had more than a few contact highs.) They usually don't believe me. I'm not sure what it is. They probably figure that any guy who tries to teach Hamlet while wearing a Spider-Man T-shirt must have done a lot of drugs in his day. I don't really spend a lot of time trying to convince them, as I really don't care if they believe me or not.
So why haven't I? Honestly, I don't think about it all that often. Shoot, this wasn't even going to be what I was going to blog on originally, but what I started wasn't moving me, and I figured that maybe I could say a thing or two on this.
Let's get it out of the way that I'm obviously not some sort of a religious nut. I'm also not a health freak. What reason could possibly exist then?
I just wasn't that interested. Shoot, maybe my parents put the fear of God into me when my older sister got caught smoking it when she was a kid. I doubt that though.
Anybody who knows me that I tend to automatically resist something if I get the feeling that people are doing it because everybody else is. Peer pressure really doesn't have an impact on me. In fact, if I say no at first, and then you start trying to convince me otherwise, I tend to get annoyed that you're not respecting my decision. If anything, it makes me pull back even further, and I start to not follow you out of spite. I'm not sure if this is necessarily a good quality of mine, but it certainly prevents me from doing a lot of stupid stuff. (Not that I don't think of stupid stuff to do independently of others.)
I also know that I was getting a bit tired of all the people my age who were acting like smoking pot somehow made them deep. I had a public speaking class and four kids did their persuasive speeches on why marijuana should be legalized. While I agree with the sentiment, you'd think that was the only thing these people even cared about. I remember one girl ending her speech with, "People who smoke pot are more creative." Umm...okay. Yeah, not being creative - that's a complaint that I get a lot.
So, there were plenty of opportunities, but I always passed. I didn't have any objections to my friends and roommates doing it. It just wasn't my thing. Kinda like macaroni salad. If you want to eat it, that's fine. Don't mind me if I just pass it along though, okay?
I even took a bit of ribbing from some friends due to the fact that I went to Amsterdam and didn't go to one of the hash bars. Honestly, this held absolutely no interest for me for a few reasons. One, my wife doesn't do it either. Two, we only had one full day to spend there. Three, it's not like there's nothing else to do in Amsterdam. I suppose that if I was going to stay there for a month, then maybe I'd try it. I honestly don't feel like I missed out on anything. Kirsti and I walked all around the city, and we spent several hours in the Reichsmuseum. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was gaining a real appreciation for art - Rembrandt in particular. This was definitely a life-changing experience for me, and I wouldn't have done it any other way. When we were done, it was more important to me to get something to eat and get some rest. (I also wasn't really interested in the Red Light District - sounds depressing, honestly.)
It's funny because I don't look down on people who smoke marijuana, but I've felt people looking down at ME because I don't. (Not often, but it's happened.) Where's the sense in that? That said, I hate the fact that my tax dollars are wasted on enforcing a ban on the stuff. I mean, why is it okay for me to drink and make beer, but somebody can't have a joint and grow their own? It's hypocritical, honestly - especially considering how alcohol is MUCH more damaging and destructive than pot will ever be. Yadda, yadda, yadda though - I'm starting to sound like one of those kids in my public speaking class.
The thing is, somebody owes me $20. That's right. When I was in high school, my neighbor bet me $10 that I wouldn't make it through high school without trying it. I also tend to remember everything (probably because I don't smoke pot) so I confronted him with this when I saw him again while I was in college. He doubled it to $20 and said that I wouldn't make it through college without trying it.
Jeff Blake, you owe me $20. Pay up or I'm kicking your ass.