Cartoon: Figuring out legal marijuana for the first time October 18 2014, 0 Comments

Congratulations!  You just bought your first legal batch of marijuana.  Freedom! Happiness!  Drugs!  You never thought this world would come, but it's here, and you're living in it.

 But wait.  Something is missing.  You look at the package and ask yourself... what?   How do you actually use this stuff?  You remember sometime ago, this answer came naturally to you.  Or you were with "pot" friends who helped you with this problem.  It was some combination if a coke can, an apple, a maybe gatorade bottle that made it work.

Even before you try, though, something seems wrong.  What could it be?  Maybe it's that you're not a teenager hiding in your parent's basement.  Even if you could figure out how to conjur magical powers from these objects, it feels kind of...  silly.  Like you're Macgyver and the weed your holding is about to blow city hall.  

So you eat the apple, drink the gatorade, and decide there has to be a better way.   Now you move to the next option for using marijuana: a bong.  It's what you remember from popular culture, and with so many styles and sizes and options, what could possibly go wrong?

The first challenge is finding a store that sells bongs.  You could look for something online, but you don't imagine a thin fragile bulbous glass art project making it to your house via a UPS track without breaking into a 20 pieces.  After scouring Yelp, Google, and a few other sources, you locate a store in a scary-ish part of town that seems like they might sell bongs, but you can't be sure because they (amazingly) don't have a web site and (amazingly again) don't answer their phone.  

You get to the store, and feel like you're somehow simultaneously in the right and wrong place at the same time.  You walk up to the counter and see something like this:

You're Indiana Jones choosing between 200 goblets, and you must choose wisely.

They look like what you remember bongs should look like, but which one should you buy- and how do they work again?  This is the part of the story where you encounter your second challenge: The bong store clerk.

This is Jim.    He has an amalgam of tattoos and piercings that don't follow any kind of rules - because Jim doesn't play by the rules.  Jim works for the bong shop, yet he thinks he owns it.  He doesn't think like a typical owner who wants to help people and sell stuff.  No, instead, his brand of ownership is all about protecting his shop from people who don't know what they're doing - he's protecting it from people like you.

As such, all questions you ask are met with a magical combination of impatience, disdain, and more tattoos.  Now normally, this kind of attitude wouldn't cut it in retail.  The real owner would fire Jim.  But Jim has two things going for him that keep him gainfully employed: Jim has a vast wealth of knowledge that would be almost impossible to replace, and he can refuse to share that knowledge due to confusion over what he can legal say.

Here's how the conversation will go:

You: "I'm looking for a bong to use with marijuana."

Jim: "We don't sell anything that works with marijuana."

You: "What about all these bongs?"

Jim: "We don't sell anything that works with marijuana."  

You: "Ok...  can you recommend a bong?"

Jim: <heavy sigh>  "You can see them all here."

You see, because marijuana is illegal in most states (and was only recently illegal everywhere), Jim knows he can still pretend it's illegal to talk about it or to sell things that are associated with it.  And because you don't know any better, he can play mind games with you until you give up.

Now Jim isn't a bad person, per say.  He actually views himself as a super hero in the marijuana universe.


The issue is that you're the enemy in this universe.  Because you don't know what you're doing.   And you can't ask for help, because that will make it even worse.  

So you buy the first one you see that looks easy and simple, figuring they pretty much work the same anyways, right?  You pay the clerk, and notice the sign near the register:

This will be a common theme in all your marijuana related purchases.  Everything transaction final.  Even if you bought the wrong thing.  Even if it doesn't work.  Even if it's entirely the store's fault.  Don't save your receipt, because it won't help you.  This is truly retail in the "stoned" age (pun, haha).

Ok, so now you have your bong and your weed.  You're so close, you can see yourself getting high any moment.  Nothing is stopping you, right?  Wrong.  You now have two great obstacles in front of you.

Obstacle 1: How do you use a bong again?

Ok, it's not that hard, but it's not that easy either.  You have to combine a ligher, water, just the right amount of weed put in just the right place, and then put your thumb somewhere, breath a specific way, and then remove your thumb at just the right time while still breathing in just a few more seconds, all the while not dropping anything and (more importantly) not burning yourself.  

Bongs were invented (I think) around the same time every car had a stick shift.  If you can drive a stick uphill while playing with dial radio, a bong will probably be really easy for you.  

Obstacle 2: Your significant other (or your landlord or your neighbors)

Even though marijuana is more safe and less addictive than alcohol, it's still a social taboo in many circles.  If your circle includes moms, or people who know moms or want to be moms, it's even more taboo.

It's hard to use a bong without getting noticed.

Beyond the visible smoke, it also smells - and the smell lasts a long time.  To be safe, you have to make sure no one is going to come close to the area where you get high for the next 24 hours.  If you're significant other isn't keen on you getting high (or just doesn't like the smell), you'll be forced into hiding (in your own place, which feels kind of demeaning and against the whole spirit of getting high in the first place.)


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