by John Furgele (228)
Back in high school, the pot smokers went to parties. They used to bring their pot and then, after a few beers, or perhaps even the 1980s phenomenon wine coolers, it was time. The time had come to gather a few friends, get out the bag of weed and head behind the shed or the garden to fire up a blunt and get the buzz going. I always found the art of pot-smoking funny. Because it wasn’t legal, there was a certain shame in it and because of that had to be enjoyed secretly. Sure, the rest of the high schoolers knew who smoked, but those who did the smoking tried to be discreet. For beer, there was no shame. The 15 and 16-year olds drank openly—and illegally—in front of everybody. But, pot, weed, grass and any other name was done behind the shed.
The potheads tried to be discreet, but they were lousy at it. They would come back glassy-eyed and full of giggles and before long, would eat anything they could get their hands on. Doritos, Fritos, Twinkies, King Dons, you name it, if they could find it, they would eat it. The giggles were followed by the munchies. Ah, those were the days.
I wasn’t one of those people. I went to the parties, but I was usually the guy who had the pound of Doritos (in the days before stealth inflation, you got 16 ounces, not 10.5) Everybody laughed at me at the beginning of the party, but by the end, me—and my Doritos—were everybody’s best friend. This was high school and I guess drinking and smoking by the river was a fun and a cool thing to do.
In college, there was plenty of dope to go round. You know how college can be. It’s very tough. You have to go to classes, study a bit and do your best to get a 2.0 or even a C+ or two on the old progress report. After a few days, the old college students had to blow off some steam with some cocktails and then some dope. By Saturday night, the dorm vending machine was usually out of Ho-Hos, so those who needed food had to resort to extreme measures. When I was freshman my mom used to send me care packages and in it, there were Twinkies. I never really liked Twinkies, but mom sent them anyways. There were two “dopers,” who lived down the hall and were always willing to buy my Twinkies. For me, it was win-win. Because I didn’t like Twinkies, I made a few bucks on weekends in old Morgan Hall.
Back in the day, pot was a discreet drug. I recall that even the fans of pot didn’t smoke it every day; they enjoyed it, made it last and used it more periodically. Today, pot seems to have taken over the world. It seems like everybody acts like pot is legal in all 50 states, when, in reality, it is legal in four states and a few cities. That means that the drug is still illegal in 46 states.
I always thought that people grew up and out of smoking pot. It was something to do in high school, in college to enhance the educational experience, but soon, when it was time to go to work, get married and have some kids, the pot-smoking “daze” would be gone. Why, would a 9 to 5er continue to smoke pot? I equated smoking pot to those who pre-determined that they were going to get drunk on beer days in advance. But, drinking 15 beers at a fraternity party on a Saturday night usually was replaced by going out to dinner with your spouse and some friends where a couple drinks would suffice.
I was wrong. Pot smoking might be more popular than ever. Grown adults at adult parties continue to drift away from the mainstream and go somewhere away from others to get stoned. It amazes me because I still think of pot as a little kid’s drug. Not pre-teens, but high school and college kids. Pot is now rationalized by those who smoke it. The defenders argue that pot is no more harmful than beer, wine or other forms of alcohol. Most of these people still drink in addition to smoking pot. So, instead of dismissing pot as “something they did when they were young,” they continue to flame up and enjoy the buzz that goes along with it.
Athletes love pot more than ever. They love smoking it. Michael Phelps liked a bong or two with others using gas masks to get the full effect of the cannabis. Most athletes think pot should be legalized, so when they get caught (test positive), they say they’re sorry, but beg their respective leagues to take pot off the banned substance list. There are some NFL players that are so addicted to pot that they are thinking of taking action to make it no longer a punishable offense. The NFL knows that they can’t do this because as we mentioned earlier, pot is still illegal in 46 states. But the players vow to keep working for a solution. In the meantime, we see players like Josh Gordon, Marcel Dareus, Lavion Bell and recently released running back Karlos Williams continue to use and get caught. In the NFL a four-game suspension indicates a second positive test. Browns receiver Josh Gordon loves pot so much that he was suspended for 4, 8, and then 16 games—an entire season—because he liked to get baked.
Williams was a peculiar case. In the offseason, he gained 50 pounds. He blamed the weight gain on his fiancée’s pregnancy. She got cravings and he decided that it would be wrong for her to eat alone. He came to training camp perhaps a few pounds lighter, but then failed to show up for a drug test and thus was suspended for four games. The Bills decided to rid themselves of the pot-addicted Williams and as of today, he has cleared waivers, meaning he and his one-hitter are free to sign with any team.
What has gone wrong? Why is pot so prevalent among today’s athletes? They say that it helps with pain management, but that’s just an excuse, a cop-out for not realizing that pot is for 16 to 21 year-olds and not for those who work in the real world. Am I naïve for saying this? Probably, but to me, pot is for immature people, not for NFL and NBA players who make millions of dollars to play a sport. For these players, the desire to smoke pot outweighs the desire to get in tip-top shape, put one’s team first and play to the best of one’s ability.
Forgive me for not getting on the “pot should be legal bandwagon.” Do I think people should be thrown in jail for having a dime-bag on them? Of course not, but right now, the drug is illegal and right now, the respective sports leagues have to treat it as such. But the real blame is on the players. They have to grow up and stop taking a drug that required sneaking around in their younger days. The time has come for the Josh Gordons and the Marcel Dareus’ of the world to say that pot is for little kids, not well-conditioned athletes who are paid handsomely to not smoke it.
And, while these athletes are at it, stay away from Twinkies, too!
Johnny Furgele remains the one and only 228. Don’t get confused by wannabes.