From Trousering Your Weasel

Marijuana is now legal in a couple of states (smoked and baked), and close to legal in several others, where it is relabeled “medicalmarijuana” and available to all who suffer from medical conditions such as chronic sobriety. There’s a problem in the flat-out legal states. The drug can be purchased in ingestible treats such as brownies, and apparently some people are a little confused about the proper dose. The drug effect of marijuana is delayed when it is eaten, as opposed to when it is smoked. So a person could have eaten way too many brownies by the time she realizes the stuff is working after all, and then it’s too late.

That’s how it is with getting stoned. You don’t suddenly recognize that you’re stoned; you recognize that you’ve been stoned for, like, five minutes. It’s like sticking your foot in scalding bathwater. You know you’re in trouble, but it takes a second for the pain to hit your brain (or longer, if you’re really tall). “This is going to hurt,” you have time to say to yourself as you pull your foot out, and you’re always right. If you’ve eaten too many brownies, it could begin to dawn on you that you’re in trouble and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So some dispensaries are putting warning labels on their pot brownies. Take a little bite, they say, and wait an hour to see how it’s going. Well, no one does that with brownies. They should put the stuff in okra if they wanted people to be prudent.

Weed wasn’t very strong when I was a kid. You were going to have to soldier through a pretty fat joint before any effect became noticeable. What with all the pauses to hack your lungs out, you could pretty much keep track of your mental state and adjust your intake accordingly.

Within a few years, though, folks were getting sophisticated about their growing techniques. Instead of buying a baggie of leaves, you’d buy a sticky bud, a tiny packet of trouble. For me, it acted like a little seed of panic, set to sprout in about a half hour. Call me a gardener, but I kept planting that seed, figuring I’d get a blossom of fun this time. I was not that bright.

Anyway, the last time I had pot brownies, it wasn’t made with the Good Stuff. We were just being thrifty. One day we took everything that was hanging around in the corners of shoeboxes, knocked out of the cover to the White Album, the contents of leftover roaches; seeds and stems and lint balls and things that might have been pot but might have been oregano or spiders or little mousie nests. Who knew? In it went, into the pan with the Betty Crocker brownie mix, and we had at it. They did not taste like brownies. They tasted like shit. The same culinary thrill could have been had by dicing up peat. Moderation was never much of a watchword for us, and we polished off half the pan looking for that elusive chocolate taste.

Then we went to dinner. At my mother-in-law’s house.

Where, somewhere into my third bite of leftover turkey, everything started going sideways.

Turkey is not a moist meat under the best of circumstances. Reheated turkey has the constitution of dentists’ cotton wads. All my saliva had retreated to parts unknown, even before the turkey. After I’d been masticating for a couple minutes without being able to swallow, it occurred to me that I looked suspicious, so I sawed off another bit of turkey and wedged that in alongside the first. A few minutes later I did it again. My mouth was now solid turkey wall-to-wall and evidently I was a little green, too. My sister-in-law, who was a take-charge person, saved the day. She leveled an authoritative index finger at me and said “Murr, you’re sick. Go lie down.” I had never loved her more.

Dave was persuaded to take me home. We got all the way there before it occurred to either of us to spit out our turkey. Or, rather, peel it off the roofs of our mouths and drop it in the shrubbery.

I don’t know if that was the last time I had pot. It might have been. But I’m not sure, because one incident like that will erase memories of things you haven’t even done yet.