As you can see by the “part 1” in the title of today’s comic, we are kicking off a little storyline. It’s just three comics but it’s actually an idea we’ve been kicking around for a couple months. It touches on some pretty personal stuff for me and so I wanted to give you all a little setup if you’re interested.
Prepare to enter the REAL TALK zone.
My older brother died of a drug overdose when I was a senior in high school. This was the culmination of a long battle with drugs that as you can imagine had a huge impact on my family. There are probably a hundred different ways this can affect a kid in my position but the way it affected me with my (at the time undiagnosed) chronic anxiety was to make me terrified of drugs and alcohol. I don’t just mean like cocaine either, I mean all drugs. I was scared to take Tylenol when I had a headache and even vitamins made me a little nervous. This fear intensified as I went through the D.A.R.E. program in school. Being a child of the 80’s meant that we had DARE officers in the school quite a bit and they taught me that what starts out as me trying a funny cigarette with some friends, ends with me hooked on crack. I believed it 100%
I had the occasional friend who tried Marijuana and it always amazed me. How could they be so stupid? They sat through the same DARE classes I did! Why in God’s name would they take such a risk with their lives? Eventually I started to realize that my paralyzing fear and constant worrying was something that other people did not experience. A friend of mine finally convinced me to talk to my doctor. I did and he gave me a prescription for Lexipro. the SSRI changed my life. I still had these fears but now I was able to look at them more rationally and not let them control my life. I was in my early thirties by this time and I finally started trying some new stuff.
I took a trip with my wife to Paris. Something that I never could have dreamed of doing before Lexipro. I even started having the occasional alcoholic beverage. I finally realized that I could have a fuzzy navel a couple times a year without ending up homeless drinking hand sanitizer in bus station bathrooms. You laugh but before Lexipro I honest to God thought that was what would happen. So I was on my own little journey of discovery when suddenly in Washington state it became legal to smoke weed.
Now I’ve given Tycho shit about weed for almost twenty years. I knew that he did it every so often and it drove me crazy. How could he do something not only illegal but so fucking dangerous? It actually made me mad that he was being so fucking stupid. Even on the Lexipro I still recognized that this was an illegal drug and I’d been taught that it was on the same level as something like heroin. Then in a matter of weeks it was legal. That’s actually very strange. Try to imagine if your state just decided to legalize running red lights or shooting people. I know those things are super dangerous but they are laws and in my mind smoking weed was no different.
One of the arguments from the pot people in Washington was that making it legal would not result in a rash of people trying it. They said people already smoke it or don’t smoke it regardless of the law. This is a fucking stupid thing to say. Of course whether or not something is legal has an effect on if people will do that thing. I can tell you right now that when it became legal I approached Jerry much like in today’s comic. All of a sudden now it was an option. Not only that but I’ve spoken to a bunch of close friends who have all come to me now and asked the same things. “what is it like? How do you get it? How do you even smoke it?” These are all guys in their mid to late thirties. There are lots of people who do not do things that are illegal.
Anyway, I talked with Tycho about it for a while and eventually I guess he got tired of me bugging him and for Christmas he just got me some. I opened the box to find a little bit of marijuana, a lighter, a glass pipe and some nagchampa incense. He said he wanted to get me a fuzzy poster as well but didn’t have time. I finally had some but I was still super scared. For more than thirty years I had been certain that the contents of this box would kill me. That’s not so easy to get over.
The story will continue in the comic on Wednesday and wrap up on Friday. If you’re interested, I’ll post on wednesday about how trying it for the first time actually went.