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November 10, 2007 - Aspen Times (CO)

Column: I'm Yearning For The High Life

By Meredith C. Carroll

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Sometimes, I wonder if I've gone down the wrong path in life. Sure, I'm happily married, my family is in good health, I have a career that both fulfills and challenges me and, despite the strike by the Writers Guild of America, I've discovered an entire season of a complex and sexy, new HBO drama series on Comcast's On Demand service. Yet, notwithstanding the richness of my life, I still have moments when I kind of wish I were into drugs.

I don't mean drugs like Claritin or Zyrtec-D. (I was on the former for about 15 years and couldn't have lived without the latter for the past two, unless I was willing to invest a significant portion of my income in the Kimberly-Clark Corporation.) I'm also not referring to drugs like crack or crystal meth (because even I'm not that pathetic). I'm talking about the basics. Like pot (or, as my Grandma Nettie used to call it, "the marijuana.")

Often times I hear people -- normal ones who, like me, lead productive and wholesome lives -- talk about how getting baked completes them in a Jerry Maguire/Renee Zellweger sort of way. But when I allegedly dabbled in smoking pot (allegedly), it just was never that fabulous.

Sure, there were nights when I allegedly giggled for hours while swinging in a hammock, allegedly studying the texture on the bark of a tree. Or, allegedly made ghetto nachos using any and all ingredients that were available without having to move more than five feet from the alleged microwave. Allegedly.

But mostly, all I really felt after allegedly smoking pot was tired, paranoid, guilty and hungry. Which ultimately meant that the amount of time I've allegedly spent in my life getting allegedly high was allegedly very short.

At the same time, though, the negative side effects of drugs also are partly what attract me to the idea of using them. It seems like taking drugs would open up a whole new world of excuse-making.

"You'll have to pardon me for not paying my mortgage for the past five months, Wells Fargo. But a shipment of kind bud recently landed in the area, and it would have been completely irresponsible of me to not spend everything I have on the best weed available since the great chronic of 2006."

"Thanks for everything you did for me while I was growing up, even though I can't truly appreciate any of it because I don't actually remember any of it, Mom. If only I hadn't been so stoned!"

Still, the benefits of a drug-free existence are admittedly plentiful. I can change jobs as often as I like without worrying about how my urine will fare in a laboratory screening.

I don't have to fret about contaminating my shampoo with a pot-filled Ziploc bag that could leak in the bottle on a cross-country flight (although I'm confident a pro-cannabis organization exists that will readily testify about how hemp does wonders for split ends). My liver might be shot (thank you, red wine), but my brain cells are the gifts that keep on giving.

Then there are times when I think maybe it's not so much that my calling is to do drugs as it is to sell them. Like Denzel Washington in "American Gangster." He portrays a nearly flawless businessman (nearly, because who doesn't predict that hiring, like, 25 of your relatives will end in disaster?) who skillfully procures, markets and distributes his Blue Magic heroin to the tune of something like $1 million a day.

Find me anyone who's seen the movie and wants to argue that his life -- what, with the five choice Manhattan apartments, the stunning Miss Puerto Rico wife and the Tara-like estate in North Carolina -- wasn't head and shoulders better than that of the teetotaler cop played by Russell Crowe? Even if Denzel only reigned supreme for a short time before being shipped off to prison for 15 years, at least he had a taste of the good life.

Another upside of being a dealer: Beepers. Drug lords were the first to really embrace beeper technology in the '80s. You know, besides doctors. Either way, if you carried around a beeper, you were somebody important and everyone knew it.

Alas, if only drugs worked on me the way they're meant to. Take sleeping pills, for example. When ingesting the occasional Sonata tablet, it seems like I have more issues with insomnia than on nights when I take nothing. I've also taken Vicodin (only when prescribed, natch), yet I never quite feel any pain relief as a result - and I even do everything it says not to (e.g. double the dose, consume with alcohol, operate heavy machinery).

At least I have my allergy medicine, which, according to the warning label on the bottle, could cause dizziness or drowsiness. And of course, I'll always have red wine. Although that doesn't really count as a drug because Jesus drank it and whoever heard stories of him checking into Hazelden, Betty Ford or Promises? Oh well.

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