Smoke Beer!

October 19, 2010

[Disclaimer: I am not 21 and therefore it would be illegal for me to drink alcoholic beverages. Luckily, I am a law-abiding citizen and have never drank alcohol. Also it is a civil offense in Massachusetts to possess an ounce or less of marijuana, but luckily I have never smoked marijuana so that is also not a problem. In fact, this entire post is hypothetical.]

Before I ever tried alcohol (remember this is all hypothetical) I thought of underage drinking as evil, something only bad people did so they could become crazy and drive cars off of bridges and kill each other. This perspective was a direct result of my drug and alcohol education by D.A.R.E. in elementary school. D.A.R.E. was a step taken in the war on drugs, which failed miserably from what I’ve read, in an attempt to prevent kids from starting to use drugs at a young age. They used a mixture of drug-related horror stories and scare-tactics that made us all quiver at the mention of the word “pot.” As a result I grew up fearing drugs and alcohol as if they were the spawn of Satan, and didn’t want to associate with anyone who did drugs even once.

I’ll admit, D.A.R.E. kept me clean for a long time, but the same can’t be said for my classmates. Kids who took the program with me went on to smoke cigarettes in middle school and copious amounts of weed in high school. None of them were my friends, however, and so I further associated drug use with “others” and people who were not to be trusted.

In my junior and senior year of high school I hesitantly started to experiment with alcohol (remember, this is hypothetical. I’m not 21), and soon realized that such an act was not as sinister I had made it out to be. Drinking was fun; it loosened me up and gave me confidence, and the few times I drank in high school all resulted in fantastic evenings. We were always safe, we never let anyone get behind the wheel, and we never broadcasted what we were doing to the public. It was our own private affair that would for the most part stay private, and we liked it.

Towards the middle of my senior year I did something (just hypothetically of course) that I’d sworn against my entire life: I smoked weed. It wasn’t necessarily fun, it just made me cough a lot and I didn’t get high, which I guess is normal for your first time. I decided it wasn’t for me, but the experience caused me to seriously rethink past judgments I’d made on weed smokers. Later, a friend offered me weed again, and this time when I tried it I had a better experience. Eventually it grew on me, but I never got to the point where I would seek it out. I knew that I didn’t want to pick up any bad habits, so I set myself some ground rules before I went off to college that would keep me in check.

Many people won’t share my (hypothetical) perspectives on drugs, and that’s fine. Everyone has different experiences and everyone is entitled to their own opinions, even Bill O’Reilly. So here are my thoughts:

Alcohol – Really fucking awesome. Getting drunk is fun every single time for me (I wouldn’t really know since this is hypothetical) because I just dance around, say what I want to, and tell people that I love them. Even in those brief times when shit has gone down in my vicinity I’ve always stayed happy and just done what I can to help other people out, and 95% of the time absolutely nothing goes wrong anyways. True I’ve gotten sick once or twice, but I’ve never had a bad experience because I’m just so happy throughout it all. I love life sober, and I don’t need to drink to have fun, but for me personally alcohol remains a consistently safe recipe for a good time, every time.

Safety Tips: Drinking can be totally fine under these circumstances: 1. You are aware of how much you can safely drink. 2. You don’t try to do anything that might get you seriously injured, like driving or mountain climbing(?). 3. You are with at least one or two friends who you know will watch out for you. 4. You have a safe way of getting home if you can’t stay where you are drinking.

Marijuana – Though it’s cast in a shadier, less glamorous light than alcohol, weed is far safer and way less of a big deal than alcohol. Still, in order to keep myself from developing a habit of smoking I decided that I would never buy any weed for myself or own any kind of paraphernalia. I only smoke when it is offered to me for free, and I usually exchange the favor for other favors, like driving people around or getting them food. True, the act of smoking isn’t particularly pleasant and it isn’t particularly good for you, but being high is an entertaining trade-off. I’ll try to describe it for people who have never tried weed:

Things that would normally go unnoticed, a pencil on a desk for example, might have your full attention for 5 minutes before you start picturing the pencil as a tiny dick, then picture someone seeing the tiny dick and laughing at how tiny it is, and then you start laughing because it really is a tiny little dick. The pencil is now hilarious, you cannot breathe because you’re laughing so hard, and when your friends try to find out what you’re laughing at, all you can get out is “Tiny little dick!” before you break down again. Then they all laugh out of confusion. Everyone is now laughing having an awesome time and no one has any idea why. By the time the gasping for air finally overcomes the laughter, you’ve forgotten what you were doing and possibly where you are, and then you decide that you’re hungry and want Taco Bell. You drive to Taco Bell, and when a familiar song comes on the radio you realize it sounds so much more beautiful than the last time you heard it. When you get your Taco Bell you put it in your mouth and instantly your brain melts because it tastes so spectacular. You say “This is so fucking good I can’t even believe it.” And it’s true.

Safety Tips: I don’t think I put myself in any kind of danger by occasionally smoking weed. Unlike with alcohol, under the influence of weed it can actually be safe to drive, sometimes even safer than normal since the person will insist on driving slower. Also, the direct effects of weed wear off long before the direct effects of alcohol, so if you’re high at 5:00pm you could possibly be 100% sober by 6:00pm depending on the occurrence. As long as you aren’t doing brain surgery or any kind of task that requires equal dexterity, you’re fine.

Cigarettes – I am against smoking cigarettes because of the immediate danger they can and usually do pose to a person’s long-term health. I’ve never smoked a cigarette and I’ve always disliked them, but now that I’m taking Biology of Cancer and AIDS I’m starting to see the havoc they can wreak on a human body. Now that I’m legitimately educated about cigarettes instead of just terrified of them because of D.A.R.E. I see smoking cigarettes as one of the worst habits a person can pick up. It’s not so much that smoking one or two cigarettes is terrible, it’s the fact that they’re first and foremost designed to make the consumer crave more of them, resulting in addiction, which causes all the true health issues. There are people who started smoking when they were 18, quit when they were 20, and at 40 developed lung cancer as a result of their smoking. I really wish everyone could take this class and learn what I’ve learned this semester; I cannot stress enough how important it is if you smoke cigarettes to consider the fact that you are not as in control as you think, and that quitting immediately is your best bet at avoiding cancer in 25 years, because that’s usually how long it takes to show up.

Safety Tips: If you use a product with a warning label that says it will give you cancer, you are most likely not concerned about safety.

Cigars – Not as much of a concern as cigarettes because the issue of addiction is removed, and because you aren’t supposed to inhale the smoke. They’re still not good for you, but if it’s only on occasion then there’s really no problem. I smoked a few cigars with friends over the course of a summer, and by the end of that summer decided I didn’t like them. Though for some reason I still enjoy their smell.

Safety Tips: Don’t light yourself on fire.

I won’t get into anything further because I have no experience with anything else, and I don’t plan on experimenting further (even though I haven’t really experimented at all because this is all hypothetical). These were my honest opinions. Obviously it’s only one perspective and I don’t claim to be right about everything. There are inherent dangers in literally any action, so don’t just take me at my word that you can drink or smoke and not get hurt. Have the intelligence to know your game-plan and prepare ahead of time so that you don’t end up endangering someone’s life, because if you aren’t careful the worst can and has happened.

And to the straight-edge kids: Keep on doing what you’re doing, I admire you. Just don’t hate on someone for using substances when they aren’t doing any harm.

If you’re aware of someone using drugs in a destructive way, however, talk to them. If they won’t budge, get others involved at your own discretion. Even if they’re obstinate, voicing your concern to a self-destructive friend may help them realize that they need to make a change.

Go UMass.

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6 Responses to “Smoke Beer!”

  1. Nope, it’s not that I don’t like you because you hypothetically used certain substances, I don’t like you because you have black hair. Change your hair or prepare for PokeBattle. Bitch.

  2. PS This hypothetical post is invalid because you did not once hypothetically reference smoking beer. I see an unrelated title here.

  3. nonny mous said

    you should honestly write editorials for the collegian, you’re so funny and everything you write about is relevant to the students of UMass..they would get a kick out of it.

    • Thanks! Glad to hear you enjoy my writing.

      I’d consider it if I was truly allowed to speak my mind, but I’m sure I’d feel restricted by not wanting to piss anybody off or overstep my boundaries. I get like that.

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