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"The Hackiest
Place on Earth"

ADAM GROPMAN is a standup comic and writer who lives in Silver Lake, over there where the 101, the Glendale Fwy and I-5 come together.


Mundane in the Membrane

It's not very cool to admit this, but I don't smoke pot. You know what I'm talking about: hooch, grass, smoke, weed, spliffs, ganja, dope, mary-jane, the chronic, sinse, lumbo, blunts, herb, jubugojamba. Okay, I made up that last one, but you get the point. I'm talking about marijuana.

It's not from a moralistic point of view that I don't use pot, and it doesn't really bother me if other people want to smoke it and get catatonic, sluggish and forgetful. Hey, that just makes me look smarter!

I'd be a hypocrite if I said I refrain because it's physiologically dangerous, because I enjoy drinking alcohol, which is probably just as bad for your body and mind. However, I happen to know for a fact that when I down six pints of Meister Brau and a couple shots of Old Grandad, I become funnier, more confident and extremely charming.

No, the reason that I don't smoke pot is that I can't handle it, plain and simple. I'm a cannabis wimp, a lightweight when it comes to THC, a hemp weakling. And I'm not speaking out of ignorance here. I went through a pot-smoking phase in high school, and it was all sunshine and roses for a couple of years.

My friend and I would smoke up and then turn on only brightly colored and ultraviolet "black" lights in my room and play the classic hard rock station on the radio. We would proceed to enter an ultra-lucid, semi-psychedelic, vivid state of perception, in which posters on the wall, song lyrics and wooden floorboards all took on complex, normally hidden meanings. And do you know what we learned from the many hours spent there? Absolutely nothing. Which, to be fair, makes smoking pot only slightly less productive than that entire year of high school.

I remember one particular pot smoking session when my family lived in the countryside in rural western Massachusetts. My friend Alex and I got high out of our minds and found ourselves running around through the rows of a cornfield, peeking through the stalks and scanning down the corridors of tall corn, playing a game of hallucinatory hide and seek. We both agreed that the experience was like being in a video game or being human participants in an electronic science fiction scenario resembling the movie "Tron." And that was pretty damn fun.

When I told my contrarian, curmudgeon friend Steve about it, he argued that even after my far-out experience, is still wasn't worth smoking pot. I asked him where else in the world you could possibly have the experience of turning a simple cornfield into an amazing, crisply defined real-life video game. And he replied that you could just play a video game. Somewhere out there, there probably was a game based on a cornfield, and you could play it in your own living room, any hour of the day, while sitting on the couch and drinking a beer. And you could turn it on or off at will. I could see his point and around this time I bought an Atari.

It was toward the end of these pot smoking years that the experience turned sour for me. The first warning was when I would go to parties and smoke some super high-powered green buds with orange hairs. Soon everything around me would morph into some kind of horror movie, bad trip meltdown, and human voices sounded like they were being played on a tape recorder that had been submerged underwater, thrown down a flight of stairs and had near-dead batteries. I'm still not sure if the pot was way too strong or if my high school peers had horrible elocution and talked with their mouths full. Either way, it was a bad scene.

The second and final warning was when some friends convinced me to partake in some super-skunk killer brown weed before going into a Dennis Hopper B movie which probably would have been hard enough to decipher anyway. All I remember- after being violently launched into the orbit of the mega-wasted- is a line of dialogue from the beginning of the movie, one from the middle and one from the end, and then credits rolling and people walking out. I know that some bad independent movies were made in the 80's, but turning two hours of Saturday and six dollars of hard earned cash into thirty seconds of dialogue and the downing of a wastebasket- sized box of popcorn is something I can do without. Even Dennis Hopper probably remembered more of the movie than that.

So, when people tell me what they get out of smoking pot, I'm happy for them. "You smoke pot," I say, "And I won't. That just means there's more for you." When they ask me how I'm able to get "mellow," I take a sip from my beer and cite the aftereffects of vigorous exercise and just general relaxation. When they mention the wildly creative artistic state they can achieve with the herb, I counter that I've found another catalyst to come up with good ideas. Its called "thinking".

And when they finally, desperately declare that pot helps you escape reality, I agree with them wholeheartedly. But I remind them that I don't need to do anything more to escape reality. I already live in Los Angeles. HOME Back to the Top