FROM BOOZE TO BUDS:
a drunkard’s decent into reefer madness
By: Kyle Pogue
Hello, friends. I’m new here, so I’ll introduce myself. My name is Kyle Pogue. If a man is to be defined by his passionate pursuits, then I am a stand up comedian, writer and most certainly, a drunkard. A drunkard, not a drunk. A drunk is a low and mean animal, choked by the stranglehold that alcohol keeps tight on his throat. A drunk is a broken, spineless creature whose yellowed eyes peer only towards the bottom of the glass and whose heart is kept meek by cowardice. A drunkard, on the other hand, is person who soars to great heights of the soul and lives a life of revelry and adventure, fueled by the juice of the barley and an insatiable lust for life. I’ve spent time as a drunk, to be sure, as most drunkards have from time to time. All it takes is a few wrong turns, and after all, there are no road maps out here in the wilderness of debauchery. But these short prison sentences of the spirit are quickly left behind by the stout of heart. It is the drunkard’s life for me, and one I’ve embraced fully.
I go to such lengths to define myself to you in these terms because if you are reading this column, then you most likely fall into another camp: The Stoner. Yes, yes, I know, you don’t call yourself that. You don’t think of yourself or others in such narrow and easily defined terms. There is so much more to you as a person than what falls under such a simple moniker. And while I’m sure that’s true, you are reading an article in a publication called The Ganja Gazette, so you will forgive my assumptions. You smoke weed. And for you, it’s a lifestyle.
It is a lifestyle that I have long derided. For years, I sneered through wine stained lips at the placid pot heads, quietly observing life with a visage of (mildly confused) awe. Meanwhile, there I was, risking dignity and physical safety in pursuit of my own brand of mind altered enlightenment. The way I saw it, there was no experience in marijuana. There were no grand stories of unexpected adventure nor narrow escape. Do stoners ever get too high and wake up next to a stranger, or in a bathtub? Have potheads ever looked out of the window of their house to see an unknown car parked sidelong across their lawn and thus became torpid, ad hoc private investigators? No, no, I thought, there is simply no daring in The Devil’s Lettuce. Why, if it weren’t for all the misadventures that drunkeness leads to, what would I do with my time? It was not the drug for me, I was sure of it. But that has begun to change.
I must admit, I have always been jealous of the Super Stoners. The people who can smoke copious amounts of The Righteous Bush and become outgoing, focused, social butterflies spreading their wings and not only displaying no obvious effects of the high, but actually becoming the very best versions of themselves. I know this type, because I am the same type when imbibing strong drink or beer. While there are the occasional discrepancies, when drinking, I am who I should be. Many a time have friends said to me, “I didn’t even know you were drunk, and then you just fell down.” This is usually the sign that you are partaking in your true drug of choice. Not only one you enjoy, but one that you are “good at”, despite the falling down.
I am not good at weed. But I began to dabble. I tried a little bit and not only enjoyed the immediate effects on my mind but also the soothing effects on my body. While the drink itself has not taken a severe physical toll, a lifetime of menial labor jobs which drunkeness and an uncommon lack of ambition have shackled me to, has. A few furtive puffs and suddenly my joint pain was gone. I’m not sure if I needed to lay in bed flexing and unflexing my muscles for 30 or so minutes, but I certainly did, and it felt great. Another unexpected but enjoyable effect of the Giggle Smoke was stress relief. Now, I know this seems a foolishly obvious thing to bring up, but it wasn’t stress relief in the moment of “highness”. At the time of smoking I was actually quite nervous, being out of my element as I was. But, the next day, I felt a marked lessoning of the day to day, background stress that I hadn’t fully realized was burdening me to such a degree. To borrow from your own vernacular, my good stoner, I felt groovy.
So I have continued to experiment. I have smoked socially, to good and ill effect. I have now tried dabs, about which I can only ask, how dare you? And I have begun to experiment with a variety of weed strains for various, desired effects. I have begun to learn when to properly time getting high into my drunken evenings (hint: it’s at the end). And while it is true that smoking ol’ Juanita has not lead to any grand adventure in the wild streets of the city, I have had my mind blown by art and music like never before and have considered my own universal insignificance in a new and humbling way, which has been spiritually beneficial.
There I go now, sounding like one of you. I suppose before long I’ll start decorating my bicycle for Burning Man and arguing that reggae is way more interesting than you think, man. I will remain a drunkard and debauched reveler, have no fear, but I will continue to embed myself in your leafy culture and report back. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s cocktail hour.