Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Reefer Madness

Everybody wants to relive their mispent youth. Especially the parts they didn't actually get to live, the parts that exist in the memory of "shoulda/coulda/woulda". Even a bunch of staid attorneys can indulge in a moment of might have been.
Early 1970's
My dad and his cohorts were sitting in a diner one day, talking politics, law, dames, kids and all the other things men discuss that make life either worth living or worthless. That's what a bunch of 40-ish guys did back then, in New York. Nowadays, they'd play racket ball, golf, texas hold 'em or take a gourmet cooking class as a prelude to talk. Back then, the diner sufficed.
The discussion turned to the growing influence of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. If any women had been present, a connection might have been made to NARAL, National Abortion Rights Action League, just a few letters and a million miles away. In the 1970's, though, no women were present at this political gathering. Just as well, a woman would have boxed their ears and sent them home with no dinner. And no story for me, lo! these many years later.
Most of the men present at this pale Algonquin shadow had served in World War II. They'd gone to college on the GI bill. They wanted better for their kids, that their kids shouldn't have to struggle like they did. So they sent their kinder off to the best colleges to be influenced by persons they wouldn't cross the street to kick.
The kids would come home, reeking of pot, and displaying various problems in their pants. The dads decided to fight fire with fire, to infiltrate the masses,discover the enemy by experiencing it. They were going to smoke some of that deadly weed and flush the rest! Yeah, right. Wanna buy a bridge? Cheap? Talk about after the fact justification!
How are they going to get the stuff? None of them have connections. It would be too embarrassing to ask their kids. So who? A lightbulb went off. One of the rounders suggested they ask the nice young man (NYM) from legal services, he must have access. He's got long hair. And a beard. And [OMG!!!!] pierced ears!
They make the approach by phone. Phone booth, not cell phone. There were no such things as cells, PC's, Starbucks, iPods back then or any of the other techno things we can't imagine living without. He agrees to catch up with them later in the week.
The pale Algonquins watch as NYM rolls a few joints, taps them, and passes them around. They dutifully smoke the joints, coughing and hacking. Some of these men haven't smoked a cigarette in years, let alone anything more...intriguing. They get giddy, hungry, giggly. After an hour or two, they agree to go home, that they will discuss it in the morning.
My dad comes home and sits at the kitchen table, relating the nights' misadventures to my mom. She makes him toast, coffee, more toast to settle the munchies. Carbo loading, but this is a sugar he'll have to digest slowly with the rest of the night. They talk about the risks of having approached an outsider, even if he is an attorney.
My oldest brother comes home, says hello to the pair of them. Our dad tells BB what happened and how it felt. Big Brother nods and continues to listen.
After a while, when our Dad has told the whole sordid tale, BB speaks He looked at my dad, lost in his oreos and toast.
"You know, dad, you didn't have to ask NYM for help. I could have helped you. All you had to do was tell me what you wanted, what you were thinking. Less risky than bringing in an outsider with little to lose and much to gain by reporting you. In any case, did you have a good time?"
My dad replied, "You could have gotten us some weed? How? Where? Why?"
Big Brother, "Of course I can. I'm in college."
Dad: "You smoke weed?"
Big Brother: "Gets me through the night in this crazy family."
Dad: "Umm, yeah. You smoke this stuff? You think its good?"
Mom: "You smoke marijuana? Doesn't that stuff make you crazy and psycho?"
Dad and Big Brother together: "Hey, this is guy talk. Leave it alone."
Dad: "So you smoke? You're not pulling my leg."
Big Brother: "Yep. Nope. Maybe soap. In any event, Dad, keep it in the family. You ever want more, just ask me. That's all. "
Dad: "Oh wow."
Poor Daddy. Attempting to recreate his youth brought him into sharp contact with the youthful life of his own kids. And he did not like it one bit. As for me, I prefer to have my senses altered by other endorphins. But what do I know about anything anyway?


Independent Accountant said...

That's not my recollection of the incident. No matter. It's fairly close.

zoesmomdebbie said...

Did NYM have the initials KK by some chance? He sure fits the description... You know, unc could have asked me too...