-Reefer Dadness

I am not a big pot smoker. For a variety of reasons, I have never been that into it. I will smoke occasionally with friends who offer me a toke. I don’t condemn it, although my recent discovery of construction workers at a site near my work passing around a joint left me concerned. There are certain things you probably shouldn’t be doing on the job.


Also, I am bad at inhaling. I can never get the pipe thing down, and my swollen, allergy-ridden air passages only feel worse when I smoke anything. The same goes for snorting. I am just not meant to be a habitual drug user, unless you count Paxil, Allegra, and alcohol.


I think what has “scared me straight,” however, is my father’s frequent use of pot. He is 58 years old and has probably smoked for 40+ years.  He has no short term memory and very little long term memory. He is also obese and diabetic. Surely, this can also be attributed to his 9-prescription-pill daily regiment, his lack of willpower, and the fact that he buys things he is into eating or drinking in bulk. When Snapple stopped selling Cherry-Lime Ricky in South Florida, he went to the manager of a local grocery store and got him to special order 300 bottles at a time. But part of me thinks the munchies and THC have played a large part in his physical and mental deterioration.



Once? Ha!

Once? Ha!




I was not very social in middle and high school. I’m sure I unknowingly smelled weed many times. In fact, I never even put it together when I smelled stuff in the hallway at school that smelled like what I could only deduce was my father’s “incense” at home. My father is a briefcase carrying, Infiniti driving, white collar guy who used to smack me over the head for biting my nails, less the outside world see what uncongenial children he was raising. So, to me, growing up and seeing the types of characters portrayed on TV as pot heads made me think pot is for hippies, slackers, and high school dropouts. If my father did anything, it would be only the finest straight-off-the-boat cocaine that Miami had to offer.

What would Crockett and Tubbs have done to my dad???

What would Crockett and Tubbs have done to my dad???





One night, during what was already a very surreal tenth grade year, I found out. My sister was home, my father had recently had what could be described as a mid-life crisis, and I was at the point in my teens where I was getting horrible upper respiratory infections on a semi-monthly basis. After watching TV, my sister asked my mom, “Is Dad out smoking?” My mom concurred. Now, I knew he smoked cigarettes occasionally and, denying myself the inevitable conclusion to be met with on my own, I asked my sister, “um, cigarettes?”




From then on I saw my dad in a different light. Not that he was some crazy character out of “Reefer Madness,” but a more human-like person than the authoritative cloud sitting man I previously perceived him as. He has a type-A personality and maybe my mom’s support of this (she’d buy him traditional tobacco pipes at drug stores) was her way of keeping him mellower than he could have been. And, the past 16 years started making a lot more sense. A LOT more sense.

Was he stoned? Hard to tell...

Was he stoned? Hard to tell...





Yes, he would come out of his room at 1 a.m. in his underwear and, as if guided by a mechanical force, eat stroganoff leftovers out of Tupperwear with his hands. Yes, he would ask me about my night the next morning after asking me about my night that night. No, the smoke in the hallways at high school WASN’T incense. No, my dad wasn’t eating all my snacks just as some sort of “I’m the dad” power play.


In addition to this new view of my father, I made a few adjustments. For one, I would keep a secret styrofoam cooler in my bedroom closet with sealed bags of chips and snacks. I would keep stories of my evenings to a minimum at night and elaborate more the next morning to save myself too much repetition. But also, as per my sister’s advice, it was time to have a little fun. One of the things my sister (and she and I were still in that “I don’t know if you know, but we don’t talk about it” place with my dad) would come home late at night and ask/say: “Hi, Dad!(?)”


When my family took me up for my freshman year at college, my dad took us and my roommate out to dinner. When my dad and my roommate started comparing the prices of weed, the cat was officially out of the bag. The week of my wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, my parents, sister, brother-in-law, his brother, his brother’s boyfriend, and my to-be sister-in-law were all packed into my parent’s hotel room to hang out. In awkward silence, with no radio or TV to disrupt it, my dad took out some weed and a pipe and passed it to my brother-in-law’s brother’s boyfriend and my sister-in-law, who politely took puffs in what might be one of the most painfully sigh-worthy moments of all of our lives.

Well, if I did learn it from my dad I'd probably do it better.

Well, if I did learn it from my dad I'd probably do it better.







My dad has recently asked me outright if I smoke. I told him I’m just not that into it. What I wanted to say was, “But it’s OK that YOU do, Dad. It’s kept your type-A personality more manageable, and we all appreciate that.”


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