Thursday, November 25, 2010


After a day or two of unusual heat, San Franciscans were griping about it. Kind of humorous to me. Here's what I emailed to a friend who had spent some time in my native state. I bet you thought you were back in NC the last couple of days. But, it ain't the same. In NC, the sweat would be rolling off us by the bucket fulls. We are so lucky to live in such a great place. Last night, however, I did hear the sea lions barking big time: has to be the heat, first time ever.

I went to the Folsom St faire and the Polk St Blues Festival Sunday. Fun, fun, interesting, interesting! I had to smile when the Chronicle in reviewing the Folsom St faire said "bare men's posteriors and sexual aggression" was the order of the day. I'll say: a few whips and chains. Only in San Fran.


The "pot" initiative failed in California. I was surprised although I voted against it. Why? Well, to be honest, in counseling lots over the years whose lives were pretty wasted to drugs, all started with cannabis/pot/marijuana. And, to be honest, I don't have any strong feelings one way or another. And, to be honest, I doubt that it will make lots of difference in California. Medical marijuana outlets are everywhere and jokingly, everybody on any street corner in San Fran can get a prescription. I had a little dialogue with my buddy, an attorney who now lives in England. Interesting.

Listening to a news spot on TV concerning the mental health of our soldiers and especially the idea that a soldier could have two positive drug tests and still stay in the military, reminded me when I was a soldier in Germany during the early seventies. Soldiers were smoking hashish (stronger and purer pot) with great regularity and I didn't even know it. A couple of them recently told me and we had a laugh, especially how they would come to see me, go to church-feeling good. Then, we turned serious since both are outstanding citizens, (one, retired cop, now a PI; the other, an economics prof at Ohio State) The question I had for them: do all drug users start with marijuana. Answer from them, They think: YES!!!!

As Californians will soon vote whether to legalize or not is a big issue. To be honest, I haven't had much personal experience with pot. I tried a little in Vietnam but nothing. For one thing, I've never smoked and think you have to have been a smoker to be good at it. I was "Bill" as in Clinton, didn't inhale. Then a couple of dozen years ago, I ran into an old high school buddy and he was into it. I tried a puff. Nothing.

So after a healthy discussion with some of my buds, one was convinced that a "brownie" was the answer. Since my buddy was pro legalizing, his thinking, "if you just try it, realize it merely relaxes, you'll see the benefits." So, what the hell! So, here I am with this brownie. Let's just relax, take a little bite, it's not going to kill you. So, a little chunk. An hour or so, nothing. OK, here's another chunk, bigger one this time. I'm sitting on the couch, suddenly, my head begins to hurt, my ears are burning. I stumble to the bathroom. My ears are blood red. I make it back to the couch and pretend to watch TV. The TV looks a little blurry, maybe I just think it is. I seem a little nauseous, where is the relaxing. Maybe the brownie was tainted or bad or something. No, it came from a marijuana dispensary. This is weird. I'm really feeling weird. Maybe I should call 911. What am I going to tell them, "I had a brownie." Dang! The feelings finally passed. I never relaxed. I flushed the rest of it down the toilet. Well, I can tell you this: I KNOW HOW I'M GOING TO VOTE ON THE POT ISSUE.

FROM MY BUD: Was that really your experience of something you forwarded?
It reminded me exactly of my own experience. But mine was worse. You know I'm totally socially liberal and would let anyone do anything so long as it does not harm other people. But in the case of legalizing pot I would vote NO, for two reasons.

Reason 1 - A couple of years ago when I lived on Funston ave, I went to a party that some of my gay friends were having. They are all very decent normal guys, people I know and like and respect. One of them had made pot brownies. Now, I am not into pot or any other drugs (unless you count beer and wine, which perhaps I should). I had tried all sorts of drugs when I was in high school, just to try. They seemed like a complete waste of time and money and none made me feel particularly happy or interested or excited (except LSD - and I stopped that immediately because I actually liked it and I could tell it was pretty wacky stuff). I was offered a pot brownie at this party. My reasoning was this.... I am an intelligent adult person with good self control. I am with people I trust. Now what is this thing?... It is pot and a brownie. The brownie part is fairly innocuous. OK. And as for the pot, well, it seems like every high school student in the US seems to be smoking the stuff all the time, so how bad can it be? I had a nibble. Nothing. I had some more. Nothing. It tasted good though. I just thought I was immune. So I finished the thing. About 30 minutes passed. Suddenly I felt dizzy and my eyesight and hearing were wobbly. Then I started to feel anxious. I was taken home by Stacy (who was living with me at the time). I drank some water and sat on the bed and then I knew I was feeling very anxious. Then scared. Then very scared. My heart was beating wildly. I was doing everything I could to be quiet and look normal. I tried to tell Stacy what was going on. I tried to tell her I was scared. I could either not talk or only a whisper came out. Apparently I looked very funny because I was sitting bolt upright in bed with my eyes wide open clearly trying to smile but just looking very worried. I new what I wanted to say but I could not make my mouth say the words. It was just like being in a nightmare where you need to move but you are paralyzed. I believed at the time that I had permanently damaged my brain, that I would be able to think like a normal person but that I was forever trapped in this body not being able to talk or communicate. It was absolutely TERRIFYING. I eventually was sick and projectile vomited all over the bathroom. I swear the next day there were green chunks of marijuana vomit all over the bathroom, on the walls and the ceiling. And it absolutely reeked of pot. The next day I was fine again. Just weak and shattered. It was a very frightening experience. Now, when your brain is swamped with unusual foreign chemicals that alter the way you perceive reality, subvert your ability to talk and even to reason, that's a pretty serious physiological event. It's not something that I feel I would ever want to experiment with again. The brain is a pretty tough piece of hardware, but it is not indestructible, and if you damage it enough it will not recover. The lethargy, paranoia, and inability to focus, concentrate, or truly be engaged in life that I see in habitual marijuana users is a powerful deterrent to me. And the experience I had makes me think that any brain, including mine, could be vulnerable.

Reason 2 - I used to live on Funston and Geary, just around the corner from a marijuana dispensary, next to the electronic music shop. I got to see the people who used marijuana. They were not old people with glaucoma or people going through chemo. They were almost 80% young punks in souped-up BMWs and kids in Escalades. None older than about 25 and all clearly disaffected, aggressive and insecure looking - clearly not nice people. About 20% were just stoners, between 25 and 40. Just long term drug users. Hopeless flotsam and jetsam of society. I would see some of them sleeping in the bushes along Park Presidio. This is not the sort of character development we want to encourage.

I think this stuff should be illegal. It's bad for the people who use it. It's bad for society that has to deal with these people, and it enriches people who are parasites.