What does Jeff Sessions know anyway?

About marijuana? Absolutely nothing. Of course. But nonetheless, he has just announced he’s not a ‘fan’ of pot, and so our Attorney General wants to wage a new crackdown campaign against that dangerous, pestilent national scourge – stoners. Here is another defining example of Trump admin putting cronies in charge of something they know absolutely nothing about (See Ben Carson at HUD, Rick Perry at DOE, Scott Pruitt at EPA). I mean, who needs knowledge, experience, or data? Who needs to know enough about what they’re doing to analyze the data in the first place? In any other context these guys would be called hacks. I’m calling ’em hacks right now. You have to know something about the topic. 

Okay …. friends with kids: I know this is a squirmy conversation, and no parent wants to have an honest reveal with their less-than-20 year old kid about weed. But I’m kinda losing it here. I am now officially living in some kinda matrix. This pervasive, mindless, incurious absence of logic, knowledge, data – as well as common sense and basic humanity, I would argue – is mindblowing and dangerous. The continued criminalization (and general demonization) of the ancient, miraculous, and endlessly friendly hemp plant has actually risen to a level of serious social injustice. Not to mention, intelligence-disqualifying joke. Forget the endless usefullness (carbon sink, textiles, chemicals, fuel oil, fabrics, paper) of the hemp plant (the supression of which may actually be the real story), it’s amazing history (can you say, like, enabled ancient sailors to control their boats with hemp rope and discover the world?) or the health benefits of ingesting it (glaucoma relief, parkinsons relief, appetite enhancement, pain relief, relaxation, and reduction of aggression and increase of passivity). Forget all that meaningless, unimportant stuff.

Zoom out, and still – here’s a cheap, simple-to-grow, inexpensive, common plant you could grow in a sunny window that, when ingested in tiny harmless amounts, makes you feel kind of relaxed and peaceful, thoughtful, creative, goofy, and a little hungry – in other words, happy, fun and nice; it also wears off quickly, has few side effects, doesn’t cause cancer, and kills fewer people than alcohol, driving, baseball bats, baseball, football, small objects cast asunder by tornadoes, terrorists, bathtubs, guns, or angry husband’s fists by about a million to one. It kills exactly no one – except perhaps the random enthusiast, temporarily and mildly besotted with a friends donation of nice Kush hashish, caught in the sudden blinding glare of an oncoming semis headlights while absentmindedly upping the volume on Friend of the Devil in his VW Beetle, and driving into a ravine. I mean, even the most adept toke-master can only manage so much chaos on the road at night. Especially when it’s freakishly raining, and you’re driving on tires that could have been brand new except for the fact that it’s illegal-ness makes weed so damn expensive. Also, psssst – as you can see, it turns you into a genius and makes you funny as a motherfucker. I’m dead serious. That and Sundays in the tub with the weekend Boston Globe and this week’s New Yorker magazine. And some middling genetics.

Personally, I truly believe this, and it may sound wacko: we could get rid of all the Ritalin, Prozac, Symbalta, cocaine and heroin that you and your kids are pumping into yourselves and each other tomorrow, call a national bake sale, barbecue, and frisbee toss, and everybody would be smiling, happy, well-fed, laughing with each other, and the only argument would be in the bbq line and about whether to have the cheeseburger or the dog. The other heated argument to break out might be whether to show the chick flick love story or the sci-fi swashbuckler later against the barn. I’d go sci-fi, but whichever one it was, afterwards I know what would happen – everyone would make love in the grass with weird and exotic intensity, have a shuddering orgasm they never knew they could have, and fall asleep – except those folks were already feeling too spacy and tired and had wandered off to the edge of the field to doze. Or gone skinny dipping. Of course, it goes without saying – weird phrase there, but I’ll sideline that thought – that if we did end up going for the sci-fi movie, most of the women would already be asleep by the end of the movie. In the morning everyone would wake up early, sleepy cute and cheerful, give each other a hug and say ‘hey let’s get rid of the those firearms today, whaddya think’? Quote me on that. And this: you can smoke weed 24/7 for a month and not kill yourself. And remain quite sane. You will simply wind up never wanting to kill anyone else. Trust me on this. I experimented, and yes, I inhaled. That is, after all, the point.  Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew the stuff and loved it. Look it up.

Then, here on the OTHER hand …. in the ‘what’s legal and loved by, every good red blooded American and enshrined in our Constitution?’ column – what can guns do? What is the one and only thing they were ever designed to do? Well, that is to shoot things full of lead. To kill, and kill, and kill. They are, after all, killing machines. Guys get paid big money to sit at drafting tables and think these things up, and how to make them kill better and faster, I kid you not. So what can you do with one that’s useful? You can shoot your neighbor with it, or anyone else who pisses you off for a random reason. You can shoot animals with it. If you’re a pacifist with a gun, you can avoid the live stuff entirely and just shoot a bunch of lead into the earth or the surrounding arboreal life-forms for fun. That’s a good time. Trees are sturdier beasts than us, so they generally don’t die from a couple of shots (I guess that’s the good thing I have to say about guns – trees don’t die when you plug em) but most everything else we care about does. My buddy Kevin’s daughter’s beloved pet got really sick a few years back, so I now oddly know for a fact that with a 12 gauge Remington you can – as Kev put it – “evaporate” a gerbil. Turn it into a ‘pink mist’, as Kev described it. Lately, however, I don’t have any gerbils that need to be mistified, lofl.

Of course, on the other other hand, in the ‘what else is weirdly legal?’ column, there is our savior and salve, the great emancipator: alcohol. Do I really even take the time to write another long-winded paragraph? I know you don’t want me wading into this sacred swamp. Forget the health effects, the costs, the death caused directly; forget the damage that drunk parents do to their kids, to their families, and to themselves. Just for a moment, imagine this hypothetical scenario: it’s 2017, May graduation weekend, a bunch of drunken frat boys from the Crimson Tide – crimson tide, indeed – riding around in their pickup truck on a Saturday night loaded with a cooler of Bud Light, a bunch of shotguns, a case of ammo and a mildly frenzied zeal for a good time. I’m not saying something bad’s gonna happen.  I’m just saying they might not be my first choice for our reps to the annual Oslo Peace accords to work out the next IPLDA (International Peace, Love, and Disarmament Agreement).

I’m not saying that I’m a saint. I have drunk my share o’ wine, beer, and booze – again, I inhaled greatly and dug it, that’s the point – and I’ve even got a couple of nights back there in my youth that are kinda hazy – but I’ve been told by friends that I was a friendly, peaceful drunk and, in fact, funny and entertaining as hell, while I lasted. I also gotta say, I did buy an airgun for pest control,  so I’ve sprayed a little lead myself.  I just can’t bring myself to shoot a chipmunk – just can’t do it – even though they annoy me, and I’ll grant you, guns are wicked fun generally. Okay …. I did actually end up shooting one chipmunk, I admit. But it wasn’t a clean kill: he bled out slowly, his weak chirps fading as I wept, until he fell from the tree with a thump. I felt so bad, I sent checks to his widow for a year. That being said, I guess it is handy to have the security of knowing you can kill anyone you want at any time. Perhaps I’ll need to do that someday, but I certainly hope not. I certainly hope you hope not too.

Human aggression, in general, and war and violence –  with the help of cannons, drones, bombs, missiles and guns – kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. But the soldiers out there doing all that killing are heroes; in fact, they are the most beloved and heroic Gods of our popular culture. They leap dramatically from choppers into our sporting events, and we are dazzled  with the drama and power of it all, and with ourselves. We cheer with pride and glory and we pat the soldiers on the back for their service, and ourselves on the back for our loyalty and patriotism.

But me? Your pal Dave? Sitting in my house reading a book, watching the birds, snuggling with Jasper on the couch, and waiting on the next Chelsea game? I’m an outlaw. A renegade. I have a criminal record. If I get caught again you can visit me in the Belknap County Jail. Bring me a ham sandwich and my multi-tool. Oh, and maybe some duct tape, I might have to bind some guards while I make a run for my Beetle. 

Who are we, America? Why don’t we make sense any more? It actually scares me sometimes. Why do we think war is good, and peaceful relaxation at home or wandering around in nature is bad? Is worthy of incarceration?

The only possible explanation I can come up with is money. Money and fear. That’s all I can figure so far. Perhaps you can do better. Run with it. But for me, those are the only possible reasons. Why? Because most every human being out there is just good kind folks who want to do good, be happy and be left alone with those they care about. So someone’s trying to sell us something. Or we are deathly afraid of something. Or both. That’s what I think. For real.

I believe a question vitally needs to raised at this point in American – in world – history. Are we humans ever going to govern ourselves with reason and logic again, or are we going to let the swirling miasma of our yet reptilian emotions – and, especially, our fears – doom us for all eternity? It’s time to ask this basic question. It’s become key. Fire up a medium doob and just think about it for a bit, I believe you will see the light go on. Of course if you’re the AG or some other closed-minded fabulist, we might have to break out the power bong or even eat a few shrooms. Some minds are simply a bear to crack open. 

Soon (if he’s still around), our aforementioned AG Jeff Sessions is going to try and sell you a line of bullshit that stoners are dangerous, violent criminals and everyone else is a law-abiding halo-wearing do-gooder. That’s just smelly, stinking hokum. And not the good kind. I hope I’m not the only one around here calling him out on his utter, ignorant pile of crap (Jasper, lifting head: ‘crap? huh? where?’). If I were you, I’d watch for those kids careening around blasting mailboxes with their shotguns from the back of the pickup. Someday they just might miss your PO box and evaporate a beloved pet. How would you feel then, huh? That just might get you thinking.

So, anyway. Don’t take this the wrong way. I can sometimes be a little sarcastic and have even, on occasion, been called a prick. I bet you’re surprised by that, lol. I cop to whatever you’ve heard and more. I actually have never given much of a rat’s ass about having a horse in this weird, messed-up race. I’ve got nothing I ever wanted to prove. That’s why I’ve never said anything in the past. Well, actually, I was also busy working and I can get pretty consumed. Ask the ex. Don’t worry, we’re all good. Of course. As a matter of fact, she’d probably be happy to know that I’m pretty darn focused on word-wrangling in this moment. Slippery little buggers. What’s great for me, though, is that these days I can do what I want, and I can say what I want, and I pretty much plan to be left alone to hang with only my friends from now on  (though my friends would probably tell you they haven’t heard from me in months, bless them). That’s why there’s a lot of dog walking, Chelsea fandom, and Netflix in the schedule.

But after all these years, and in spite of the fact that I absorb a lot of TV, I still have a pretty good brain in my head, darn it, and I tell you this: I’m getting extremely tired of utter nonsense being passed around as if it’s not the kind of nonsense* my dog can detect from across the room. It’s like we’re at Fenway and there’s a guy coming down the aisle yelling ‘Hey!! Total Bullshit Heeeeaaah!!’ and everyone’s forking out five bucks like it really was one of those awesome Fenway franks, and gleefully chomping it down, while I’m sitting here drinking my beer watching Pedro strike out the Yanks and going ‘what the f*ck?’. Hey there, pal, heads up – I think there’s mustard all over your face. Just saying.

I ask you, Red Sox fan, and every other sports fan in this seemingly God-damned world: have we become zombies? Let’s just say for the moment, for the sake of argument: there’s a remote possibility that my thinking here might be way better than yours. I mean way better. In addition? Voila: I might just have the statistics to back it up. Call in the scientists and we’ll prove this thing tomorrow. You can probably do it on your smartphone with an app. In the end, here’s what I’m saying: I think there might still be a little Reefer Madness afoot in America. It’s just not the type of madness you think. Duh.

That about wraps it up. By now, you may have guessed that I’ve been pondering this particular issue awhile, and I can’t help thinking I have a pretty good point. I think my facts are solid. I think my arguments are sound. You may call me a peacnik idealist, but I have always also simply believed – total Jodie Foster/Carl Sagan fave movie reference, told you I was a sci-fi nut – that the world is what we make it. What we want to make it. We get to choose. We do. We get to choose, and create the world we want to live in. That’s what free will is. That’s what creation is.

So, let me know what you think. I’d be curious. But know this: You better have your sh*t wired tight. I do not suffer ignorant or drunk fools anymore, I’m too old and got no time, whether they are pointing guns at me or not. Of course if you’re pointing your gun at me I will not be hanging around for long. I won’t be shooting back with my little airgun either. I’ll be outta here. Here’s another thing for which you should be on alert: I no longer just go along with folks shouting uninformed BS at me really loudly and persistently in the hopes I’ll just give up and believe them. Ain’t gonna happen. Those folks just never gonna get it. Not ever.  Not enough time for that, and besides, I have always had a latent but potent aversion to authority. I will likely just walk away and go talk to my dog instead. At least he’s consistent. At least he has a worldview.

So, are we done? Cuz the sun’s out and I got a barbecue to go to.

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