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Thursday, July 09, 2009

High Life by Hayes Hemingway

You can be educated in so many ways in life and ironically I was schooled on marijuana in school, thoroughly. I'm not saying that like someone ought to give me an award, I'm just thinking out loud and realizing that marijuana was a very prevalent thing throughout my scholastic career.

I started smoking in High School, when I was 15. I'd been surrounded by it since Middle School but I never took the leap. What I mean is since I was in Middle School I always knew of someone who smoked, so that meant it wasn't a figment of the media--it actually existed.
It was always news when you heard someone was smoking especially if they were only 12. At age 12 it was 1992 and I was a big Cypress Hill fan. Also for some reason anytime I saw the pot leaf it always appealed to me. I saw it on Snoop's white hat in the "Nuthin' but a G Thang" video and I was like "Man, that thing is cool, whatever it is." Later on MTV blurred it out, but that made it even cooler.

My two next door neighbors played such an important role in my life culturally, because they both were about 6 years older and we all shared similar interests like Hip Hop and Skateboarding. One day I saw one of them wearing a long-sleeved button up shirt and there was a small patch on the shirt with a pot leaf. When I asked him what it was he said "Hemp." I said, "What the fuck is hemp?" He simply smiled and I left it alone. The next time I saw him he had on a gold necklace with a pot leaf on it and I said, "You must really like hemp." He said, "I love marijuana." That's when I realized what it was and but still I had no interest in it. I just thought it was a really nice looking leaf--nice enough to wear on a shirt or a hat or something like that. I knew people smoked to feel good, but I never really had an interest in it until I felt a need to get high.

For many years I listened to every pot-smoking musician you can think of, but I still had no desire to get high. It wasn't until I experienced something that pissed me off to no end, that I got high.

Right outside my school was a freshman, who sold bud during lunch time. He looked like Da Brat's little brother, to a 'T.' He sold nickel bags of backyard boogie, for five dollars. My first time two classmates and I smoked a joint of that and then went back to lunch. The first few times I smoked I never got high, but once I did, I realized two things: School was a much better place stoned, and being high made me stop dwelling on my problems.

I began to smoke before school. The bus would drop me off there a good forty minutes before school actually started. The campus was surrounded by woods so there were plenty of known places to comfortably blaze and socialize. Teachers knew I was stoned either because they walked past me in the halls and smelled the smoke on me or because they could tell by interacting with me.

One time I had an extra-credit presentation that I worked on seven days straight for History. History was my first class of the day. I was so proud of my work that I decided to get high before my presentation to reward myself early. That didn't work out for me. When I got in front of the class I was in such another world I really didn't even remember what I was doing up there. I had all my notes on a single page, front and back. Unfortunately I began reading from the back. So essentially I started my presentation with my conclusion. When I got to the end of my conclusion I realized what was going on, and one of my friends who knew I was stoned and saw me come to this realization--burst out laughing. Even my teacher grinned. All I could say was, "I had this presentation to share with you but I messed up by starting at the end," and some people laughed and others just shook their heads. Regardless I started it all over again and finished it just fine.

That same year I had a project where I had to make a children's book for my creative writing class. I chose to parody a book called, "The Sad, Sad Story of Marijuana." The idea came from a drug awareness book I got from a program I was in where we talked to kids about drugs. To parody the book I took their serious information and made jokes out of it. When I presented it in class I made sure I was extra high. My classmates enjoyed it. My teacher did not. Normally a fan of my work, when she collected this project, she told me with a look of disgust, that she "did not want it."

I didn't really smoke after school because I had to go straight home, and report to my mother, but I have a story about a time when someone's smoking after school made me irate. When I was on the soccer team we had a game where we lost because my teammate touched the ball with his hands, and the other team got a free kick and scored. I remember being mad about that for months, because I couldn't understand why he was so uncoordinated and committed the most capital crime in soccer--touching the ball with your hands--in the box. It came to my attention later, that he was high and honestly I wasn't even mad anymore. It was a situation where he was with some girls and he smoked during the last lunch period which was the second to last period of the day and despite it being a good 3 hours prior to kickoff he had still been high even at the end when he lost the game for us. It happens.

My health teacher didn't like that my teammate was getting high, especially during school hours. He didn't use Visine so it was easy to tell when he was stoned. Every time my teacher saw my teammate, either in class or in the halls he'd go out of his way to say, "Learn these words, because at the rate you're going you're going to be saying them for the rest of your life. 'Would you like fries with that?'"

Eventually my mother found out that I was smoking during school and she told the principal not to allow me to leave school. I don't believe the principal took her seriously, but my mother's version of the events was that the school knew I smoked during school hours and that everyone was watching me and that the security guard carried my photo around in his back pocket.

Yeah, right.

Around this time I went to a Summer program in New York City where I was taking pre-college classes and I ended up getting expelled from the dorms for having a bong, and I went on a smoking hiatus for about 4 years.

What got me to stop was my parents. They made life so not worth living.

What got me to smoke again was my parents. I was in college and they wanted me to move back home and the thought of that was so incredibly depressing I said, "The only way I can cope with this realization is to smoke weed." So I did.

On my 21st birthday, it was 2001, and I was nowhere near a bar. I was getting high.

College is where I expanded my knowledge of marijuana. I knew all the off-campus dealers at my school and I was typically present when they'd convene to smoke and discuss various topics like customers, the police and marijuana of course. I didn't ask to be join their discussions, I just happened to be there copping while they were in session a few times and they asked me for my opinion. The question I was asked this time was peculiar to say the least. "If your professor is banging a female in your class and you know he's married and that student is getting an 'A' the non-traditional way, who don't you blackmail? Be honest."All I could say was "How do you even know about the professor and the student?""Maybe I should restate the question. If you're on your way to sell weed to your professor and the hottest girl in your class comes walking out of his house..."

One time I had to meet my group for a video-editing project and I was smoking with my friends, not paying attention to the time. By the time I showed up for my group project it was done. They were premiering it for my professor and I was baked, like a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10. Now I think what saved me is that all the work they needed to do, I had already done. I did the camera work. I got all the shots so my job was done. I think because of that my professor (who I believed also smoked) gave me a wry smile like 'you stoned bastard,' and an 'A' for my participation in my group project.

As you can see my scholastic experience with marijuana has had its ups and downs as well as lefts and rights and I'm sure there are some tales buried in my memory banks but these are the stories I can remember.

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