I have it on good authority that baby boomers are smoking more weed than you can shake a joint at. I have no idea why this is, but like all know-it-alls, I am more than willing to posit a theory.
Hear all about it in my audio story, “Drug Reboot.” It’s about 6 minutes long, unless your stoned in which case its it’s, like, 20 hours. You can find the story on my WINNETKA podcast website, or if you are too stoned to click, just read it:
A couple years ago, I was discussing LSD with my hairdresser. (I have no idea how this came up.) He informed me that once you take LSD, it stays in your body—specifically in your spine—forever. So if you should do some back-stimulating activity like, say, riding a bucking bronco or attempting a pretzel-like yoga pose, it could trigger a flashback.
While I have no reason to doubt my hairdresser, I am happy to say that I have rolled my back on a foam roller many times without being transported back to that moonlit beach in Provincetown where I tripped my brains out. And when that chiropractor once sneaked up on me and snapped my head around like that girl in the Exorcisst, I had a vision of kicking him in the balls but I’m not sure that qualifies as a hallucination.
Changing the subject, I asked the hairdresser how to go about buying medical marijuana.
(Pot was not legal yet in California, unless you had a medical excuse. And yet I’d noticed it seemed to be almost ubiquitous again, like rthe good old days.
My hairdresser was taken aback. “Do you want to smoke pot?” he asked, incredulous. “It is strong as fuck these days!”
There was a time when I would have found the level of his surprise annoying: Didn’t I project the kind of cool associated with drug use? However, I made a note-to-self: I was actually now fine with that.
I said I did not want to smoke it, I just wanted to know how some people were obtaining it from a dispensary even though many of thenm do not have any weed-worthy diseases or conditions
“You just go to a pot shop, tell ‘em you have, like, bad anxiety or something and you really need to get some relief. They will write you a prescription, for, like, sixty bucks.”
Swallowing my embarrassment at being an uber-dork I asked, “Where is a pot shop?”
“There’s, like, three of them right up the street.”
“Any street, babe.”
Okay, so if ever wanted to buy some pot, I’d know whaat to do, but I wasn’t sure that would ever happen. It had been a long time since I gave up the stuff.
Back in ’69, I think it was, I got a bad joint, laced with something nasty and, well, you know that feeling when the top of your head blows off and rolls down a hill? It was like that. So, pot and I went our separate ways.
But I know people who stuck with weed. lMy friend Trish smoked all her adult life, right through raising a family. She was scrupulous of course, every evening she waited till the kids were mesmerized by Dora the Explorer before she went to the backyard with a spliff.
Anyway studies show there’s a steep increase in pot use by baby boomers. Some smoke for the health benefits but mostly its social. Why the uptick? Yeah, its more available but I think they never really kicked the stuff. They smoked when they were young, set it aside for awhile, took a time out to be grownups, and now they’re back in the vapor.
I mean, I used to imagine that after raising my daughters in a home free of illegal and unhealthy stuff, I’d dig up my college grocery list and go buy potato chips, cigarettes, a bottle of tequila and a bag of weed.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with this idea. Imagine a graying couple, standing on their doorstep, waving goodbye to their college-bound youngest child, then yelling YIPPEE and running to the garage to dust off the bong.
The truth is, my drug days are over. I don’t really take drugs at all Except of course Crestor, Namenda, Valtrex, Tylenol, Eyelea, Lunesta and Valium.
But then every so often one simply has to make an exception…
In my office I have poster for a Rolling Stones in concert that took place at Madison Square Garden about fifty years ago. The price for a ticket is posted at $4. I went to that show I’m pretty sure the pot cost more than the ticket. Then few years ago I went to another Rolling Stones concert in L.A. at at the Staples Center. In many ways it was quite a different experience.
1. You do not stand in line in the rain for 13 hours to buy nosebleed seats. You purchase prime seating on Stub Hub and pay as much as you would for an Armani handbag.
2. You go to the concert carrying an Armani handbag. (Okay, you got it on sale but still.)
3. Dressing for the evening, you do not throw on some jeans cut scary-low and a pajama top and waltz out into the night. You obsess about the proper outfit for a week to ten days and finally select sensibly cut jeans (navel barely exposed) and a blouse that you hope is hip enough. You wear fine underwear, just in case your Keith Richards fantasy comes true. Your friend Laura says you look like a rocker and you do that thing called willing suspension of disbelief.
4. You are not packing any weed.
5. You do not get driven to the venue by a friend who is so stoned his eyeballs are backwards and he smashes his Honda into a mailbox so you must complete your journey via subway. Instead you hire an Uber black to take you, hoping he wont’ judge you when you and Laura perform a Stones medley in the back seat.
6. Before the concert, you do not dine on Junior Mints and vodka. You go to a nice restaurant and order tuna tartare. (Okay, and vodka.)
7. During the pre-event dinner, when Laura slips a pill into her mouth, it is not a tab of acid but a digestive enzyme.
But in some ways, this concert is the same as it ever was. For one thing, the majority of the fans are still baby boomers. And once the music starts, and the lights go down, clouds of smoke fill the venue, Laura procures a joint from somewhere…you smoke it, and even if you are sixty you are twenty again: you do not sit down for 2 ½ hours. When it ends, you are euphoric and you want to go to another concert immediately. You don’t, but you have a Stones glow for several weeks after (and fresh fantasies about Keith).
Some things never change.