Thursday, August 31, 2023

My Untroubled Conscience

 Let me set the stage. I 'know' a guy. He is in pretty bad shape, the kind of bad shape that people don't come back from. He is nearly 80. He's lost his wife. He's lost his brother, his sister, his sister-in-law. He has no kids. He lives in an apartment in a town just over the New York State line. He is a pothead.

Pot is legal in New York State. Do I agree with thtat decision? No. No I don't. Alcohol is enough of a problem, so now we are going to add pot to the mix? Doesn't make sense to me. And, for all of the talk that tries to equate it with alcohol, there's a difference. I used to be a pot head 45 years ago, and what I know is that when it became a habit for me, I lost my ambition. I was pretty unmotivated. I plainly did not give a rat's bottom about much. I recognized this, and stopped.

Does pot have medicinal applications? Sure it does. The effects of it for Parkinson's patients is pretty amazing. It helps with nausea. It stimulates appetite for people doing chemo. And yes. It helps with anxiety. 

But here's the thing. All of those benefits can be accessed with a pill. Smoking is not healthy. I watched my father die of lung cancer, and I know where of I speak. I quit smoking cigarettes on the spot. The thing is that the pill does not contain THC, which is what makes you high. You get the benefits. You don't get the high. So...in my opinion, people who smoke dope are doing it for their own gratification as opposed to any medical benefits. 

So, back to my friend: Alone, in very poor health, he, by his own admission, rarely gets out. He lives a very isolated life. He doesn't own a vehicle. He wanted to go to the Seneca Reservation, where there is a pot dispensary on virtually every corner. This is not exaggerated. They are everywhere. 

I thought it over. I researched it. I can drive a man to pick up pot in New York State. He can have that pot in my car, as long as no one is smoking it. So I said that I would pick him up and run him to the reservation. It cost me an hour and a half of time, and I filled up on reservation gas which is 50 cents cheaper than our own gas. 

He's a talkative character who has made some interesting life choices. He joined the Marines at 17. He was sent to Camp Pendleton after boot camp because he was too young (this is his story) to be shipped to Vietnam. He met other soldiers returning from Vietnam who shared their stories. Over and over he heard that they were not fighting soldiers there. They were fighting farmers and families, and regular people. Over and over he heard 'I wouldn't go.'

So he didn't. 

He made a conscious decision, accepted the punishment at Leavenworth, met a lot of interesting characters there, and, years later, when President Carter made the offer to expunge the Dishonorable Discharges of the soldiers who objected to Vietnam, he chose not to do that. After his prison time, he felt like he had earned it fair and square. 

He spent his life bumping along, lived in Phoenix for years with his wife, managing an apartment complex. He was happy.

Now he's 80, alone, moved back here, where he had family left, but in the end, he lost most of them. 

There was a bit of an uproar about my trip, the general concensus being that I was taking a terrible risk. (I'm not, and I explained it.) Then it has been slanted to whether or not what I am doing is enabling. (Probably am.) My sister said, "My husband would not allow it." (Tim doesn't approve but we don't have that kind of relationship. He has never told me that I am not allowed to do something.) 

But in the end, I think it comes down to this:  We all choose our own lives. I don't understand his life. I don't have to.  He's an interesting fellow in complete possession of his faculties. I don't begrudge him a ride in my car, a chance to visit and chat, and a toke before he goes to bed at night. 

What say you? 



36 comments:

  1. I don't blame you for helping make a dying man happy. It doesnt hurt anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Medical marijuana containing THC comes in forms other than what has to be smoked. (tablets, gummies, tinctures) It can also be taken in small enough (but still effective) amounts that one doesn't get stoned, or even high. (and if you were a pothead at one time, you know there is a difference!) I have mixed feelings about recreational pot, but I'm in favor of medical marijuana 100%.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And no, I don't think what you did was wrong at all.

      Delete
    2. Kelly, you are ever educational to me. I knew that the gummies and pills contained CBD, but I did not know that you can get them with the THC as well. Thanks for that new (to me) information.

      Delete
  3. I don't know, but in the end I think we should do what makes us feel good provided it doesn't hurt anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Without getting into it, I find it difficult to fathom that people think you are enabling an 80-year-old who is, apparently, nearing the end. People can be so cruel and unforgiving.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow what an interesting read of someone's life. I admire him for standing by his convictions, and I agree with you about the dangers of pot smoking, not because it makes one high but it's supposed to be a lot worse on the lungs than tobacco. But he's 80. If I make it to 80... live and let live!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Debby, what you did was an act of kindness, period, full stop. If marijuana eases that man's pain even a little bit than it is a good thing. I commend you for what you did. There is not enough kindness and caring in the world today. Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with you. When someone is 80 years old they've earned the right live however they please -- as long as it's hurting no one else -- and helping them do that seems perfectly reasonable to me. Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I say HURRAY FOR YOU!
    My friend Ross who died recently of Agent-Orange exposure cancers from his tour of duty in Viet Nam smoked a LOT of pot. It helped him in so many ways and eased his pain, both physical and emotional. He was one of the kindest, most loving, intelligent, truly beautiful people I've ever known. When he died, hundreds came to mourn him.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would have done exactly the same. Even if he's getting high for pleasure and not just medicinal reasons, who cares? The man is 80 and dying. Let him enjoy whatever is left for him to enjoy, I say.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really don't know Debby. First of all - who am I to judge? Happily I am not in your position to have to make the decisions. I respect you for the decision you have made. Being 80, having no friends and relations is no joke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being 78, and not in great health, I agree with Weaver. The time he spent with you was probably the best time he’s had in a long time. It’s great to have a compassionate nonjudgmental friend.

      Delete
  11. I have a friend who is a pothead according to the newspaper police blotter on a couple occasions over the years. I have never asked him about it as it isn't central to our friendship though it is illegal here. Assuming it was legal and he asked me to give him a ride to pick up some more, I probably would as long as he didn't smoke in the car. Who am I to judge the reasons he smokes it. Now if he told me he strictly smoked it for the high he gets, I might reconsider but as I said, we have never talked about it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. When in California I saw a sign for a dispensary that delivered! Oh and btw you are fine by me for your good Samaritan act. I often invoke Matthew 7.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been reading for awhile but not commented. My 67 year old sister died almost 2 years ago of pancreatic cancer. I was her primary caregiver. Her pain and nausea were unrelenting. No, the pill version did not help near as much as smoking the pot. Only that gave her some relief from the nausea. It wasn't great relief, but better than all the other things and meds she tried. I think you were very kind to take this man to get his pot. He's old enough to not be judged for this. Celie ( anon is my only option)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Celie, I am sorry about your sister. I am glad you were able to get her what she needed.

      Delete
  14. Debby, you strike me as someone who has a strong moral compass. I know you would have thoroughly considered all the angles, and I don't judge you at all for your decision. I'd bet the time listening to this man during your drive probably did him a world of good. I would leave his choices as his choices. We are all just doing the best we can. Bonnie in Minneapolis

    ReplyDelete
  15. I say I agree with your thinking on this.. he’s an adult, and you helped a friend… the fact that you don’t really support his use of pot makes you an even better friend in my view! We should all be so lucky- to have a friend like you😊XO, Ricki

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kindness takes many forms, and you driving this fella a ride to pick-up a bit of pot for his personal/medicinal use is but one example of kindness & compassion for a fellow human being. You are a wonderfully kind soul!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! What an adventure! He should maybe consider hospice as that team will help him with lots of personal cares (bath aide visits) and additional options. Hospice in the U.S. is barely acknowledging the medical use of pot, but I gave the prescribed "pot pill" to one extreme cancer patient at the VA. It helped, but he was using other supplements that he'd researched. Pot is also known for helping kids and adults with seizures. I've had a home patient with 3-4 seizures a day, and the family was on a research study where the pot stopped the seizures, but they live in a state where it's not legal. Some families have moved to other states to get their kid's relief from seizures.
    The pot in certain corners of my apartment complex stinks literally like a skunk, and then I remember it's cheap pot that doesn't smell as pleasant as the days of using it to enhance Disney's Fantasia...Linda in Kansas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol. I never watched television. I sat around having profound conversations. We laughed a lot. One time, a group of us were doing training in the field. After one evening that involved a sergeant falling out of a deuce and a half, a bunch of us wound up eating all our deserts from our week's supply of c-rats.

      Delete
    2. Ps...just to be clear I gave it all up within a year of enjoying it. I tried a joint once again when I was 30, but I had responsibilities and just made up my my I was too old for it. Should have told my friend. He would have laughed himself stupid.

      Delete
  18. It's amazing that some of these old guys smoke dope all their lives.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You are my new hero. What you did was unconditional compassion. I want to learn from you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. His life, his choices. You wouldn't be "told off" for driving him to the drug store or the market. As long as what you are doing isn't illegal then I think you are, yet again, showing what a kind person you are.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I can't see anything wrong. He could turn to worse methods to obtain what he needs. It is so long since I've smoked any, I can't really remember the effect. Anyway, he does sound like an interesting person to talk to.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You did a nice thing. You had the time and the means, and graciously obliged him. It's no different than any day trip to a wonderful farm stand or antique shop or movie.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Agree with you. What he/you did is not hurting anyone and brings him relief. What else matters?

    ReplyDelete
  24. You helped an old man Debby. Good on you for your kindness.

    ReplyDelete
  25. As everyone is saying Debby, you did good. We can do no more than act in the moment and it is then that our true judgement comes, rationalising afterwards is not always good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is not that I am rationalizing. It just surprised me that my sister saw it as such a horrible thing to do. Pot is illegal in Pennsylvania which I live in. Her initial upset waa that I was involved in an illegal activity. I explained that the man lived in New York, the reservation was in New York, where it is all legal. The debate then turned to the moral aspect which I am unconflicted about. She was so convinced I was doing something immoral and wrong that I was curious.

      Delete
  26. If he were here in Canada he would just walk down to the corner pot shop. You did right by him Debby. I don’t agree with pot, maybe because have never felt the need to indulge. I hate that the pot shops are so close to schools, no wonder the kids get into it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love how you think and research things through, and make decisions based on your own beliefs and not others' beliefs. After all, we have to be able to put our heads down at night, and feel good about our decisions. When I was a pot head many moons ago, I too was stripped of all ambition or drive, I didn't care about anything or anyone, and was so stuck in a rut that I barely escaped. There are those who say pot isn't addictive, well, maybe, but the HABIT of using it certainly is. And it does indeed affect your brain. My sister who was an alcoholic and heavy pot smoker, ended up with wet brain, a type of dementia caused by drinking. After a lengthy nursing home stay when she cracked from the wet brain, she was able to come home, and was quite docile and content, except for neuropathy in her hands and feet. Her husband got a medical card for her for weed, because she "needed it" for the pain. One year into her continuous pot smoking, she developed Alzheimer's (already having brain damage) and has become hostile, belligerent, and exit-seeking. She is currently in a mental hospital, awaiting transfer to a long-term memory care facility. So, you can't tell me that pot isn't damaging to the brain. If she'd maybe taken the pill that didn't have the THC, this might have been a different story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that there are people who are more prone to falling into addictions. For all I know, my friend is one of them. I don't think pot is harmless in the long term. I don't understand legalizing it. I think that it should be a misdemeaner rather than a criminal offense though. I'm sorry about your sister though. That had to be hard to watch.

      Delete

I'm glad you're here!

IKEA and things that go bump in the night

 It is a clear sunny day today.  Houdi continues to mend well, and he is still outraged by the fact that he is being kept inside.  Tim's...