Hey everybody, this is my roommate Shane. He is the only person I've ever known with that name who wasn't in a cowboy movie.
Shane is a professional video gamer, and has won tournaments up and down our Valley. Addiction dulled his co-ordination, but now in sobriety he practices by the hour to regain his edge. When he's fit to return to the cyber-battlefield, he can win more money from one tournament than I can make in six months on welfare.
Damn, I wish I was half my age! I'd be a skateboarding video gamer with an erotic website - starring myself, of course.
The truth is people like Shane and me wouldn't be down and out like we are if all we had ever done is smoke marijuana. How is it that obviously evil drugs like alcohol and cigarettes are legal, and no one thinks of banning them, but marijuana, which is obviously safer by far, is against the law?
Marijuana is not harmless, and really no recreational drug is. They all come with a price, at the very least in time shaved off your stay in the nursing home. I'm one of those unfortunate souls who can't do any drugs at all, because I have a genetic/psychological imperative to abuse any drug I take. Like the Grateful Dead sang:
On the day when I was born
Daddy sat down and cried
I had the mark just as plain as day
It could not be denied
But most people aren't like me. They can get high or not, as they please, and they never get addicted. So why do we make the average person choose lousy drugs like alcohol and nicotine? Even caffeine is a lousy grade of speed, if you consider what else is available. Shouldn't we rethink our whole approach to legalizing drugs?
First of all, we need to decide whether we want drugs to be legal at all. They all come with negative side effects, so if our goal is complete safety, then only a total ban on all forms of getting high is the answer. Of course history has shown that to be a difficult choice to enforce. People want to get high, in fact it may be a biological need. Even children will twirl around or hold their breath in spontanteous attempts to alter their consciousness. For some as yet not understood reason we seem biologically programmed to seek altered states.
So if our conclusion is that yes, we are going to allow some legal way to get high, then what should people be allowed to get high on? If we want to do the least harm to people and their health, then we need to legalize only the safest ways of getting high. No one would choose to legalize alcohol by that standard. Cigarettes don't even really get you high, they would be also instantly banned by any rational standard.
But rational thinking has little to do with why alcohol and cigarettes are legal. It is merely tradition and custom that keeps these poisons on the shelf. That and the legal and political clout of those who make good money as licensed drug pushers selling them. Isn't it time to put an end to this madness?
Alcohol and tobacco should be made illegal, and nevermind the fact that prohibition failed in the last century. It failed because there was no alternative to getting high, and we won't make that mistake again. The tobacco growers should be told to grow marijuana. The profit margin is actually higher, since marijuana is a weed that is much easier and cheaper to grow than tobacco. Not one tobacco farmer in the Southern states need go out of business.
A society of people partying on pot is far preferable to a society of boozers. Ask any cop which type of crowd they would like to police, a crowd of stoners or a crowd of drunks? Let's get rational about our nation's drug policies.
Let's start by legalizing marijuana.
Here's a picture of Massachusetts State Representative Mary S. Rogeness (right) and former State Senator Brian Lees.
Soon to join Lees in the "former" category is Rogeness, who announced yesterday that she is retiring from the legislature. I know her a little bit. Once I sat at her table with her husband and daughter at a banquet honoring then Massachusetts Governor Paul Celluci. I can't recall anything I talked about with the State Representative, but her daughter I clearly remember as talking to me in a funny and compelling way about vegetarianism. She didn't convert me to her diet, but she charmed me in a way that if I were straight I would have hit on her.
Rogeness' retirement is a potential disaster for the local GOP, which has seen virtually every one of their seats that have been opened replaced by a Democrat. To have half a chance Republicans need to unite early behind a strong candidate, such as Enrico J. Villamaino.
With the cold and the snow and the icy rain, it is hard not to yearn for summer, when all the pretty girls flock to Antonio's Pizza in Amherst.
All the pretty boys too!
Some folks emailed me wondering why I didn't mention Valentine's Day yesterday. Well, allegedly in recovery I'm not supposed to be having sex, at least not with other people.
So I've been celibate lately, except for that time last week when a studly fan I'd never met before pulled me by my belt buckle into the downstairs restroom of The Haymarket. But that doesn't count, right?
Anyway, happy belated Valentine's Day to you and yours.
I'm still coming across things I missed when I was in rehab, the latest being this October storefront appearance by British troubador and gay rights activist Billy Bragg in Northampton.
Dave works hard at the plant and spends two nights each week bowling and plays golf every Saturday. His wife thinks he's pushing himself too hard, so for his birthday she takes him to a local strip club. The doorman at the club greets them and says, "Hey, Dave! How ya doin?"
His wife is puzzled and asks if he has been to this club before.
"Oh no," says Dave. "He's on my bowling team."
When they are seated, a waitress asks Dave if he'd like his usual and brings over a Budweiser. His wife is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and says, "How did she know that you drink Budweiser?"
"I recognize her, she's the waitress from the golf club. I always have a Bud at the end of the 1st nine, honey."
A stripper then comes over to their table, throws her arms around Dave, starts to rub herself all over him and says, "Hi Davey. Want your usual table dance, big boy?"
Dave's wife, now furious, grabs her purse and storms out of the club. Dave follows and spots her getting into a cab. Before she can slam the door he jumps in beside her. Dave tries desperately to explain how the stripper must have mistaken him for someone else, but his wife is having none of it. She is screaming at him at the top of her lungs, calling him every four letter word in the book.
The cabby turns around and says, "Geez Dave, you picked up a real bitch this time."