It was July 6, 2005 when jerrispice and I were on a board called “Friends, Fans Mourn Soul Balladeer Vandross.” As usual, the posts strayed from the subject of the story, and somehow the topic of marijuana came up. I had been talking to Radiohead1961, who I had talked to before and been nice to. He casually mentioned that he smoked pot to unwind from a stressful job. I went into my usual spiel of how he of all people should know better, that it’s against the law, and that most parents do all they can to keep their kids off drugs and out of trouble with the law, and that even if pot were legal, most parents would still raise their kids to know better than to ever want to use drugs, and wasn’t he better than that? I had been asking him about his hobbies, trying to help him realize that he could focus on something other than getting “stoned” on pot in order to relax and unwind. He was very rude to me, calling me judgmental, and then he started in making fun of me for not performing bj’s. I just couldn’t get away from that, people ridiculing me all the time for it, and it was really starting to get to me. I was very hurt and upset.

Jerrispice then asked him something about his job. I asked jerrispice why she only asked him about his job, and why she did not chastise him for being so mean to me. How could she be so nice to a man who would make fun of a woman for something like that? She also didn’t say anything to him about how he smokes pot, I added. She then replied to me, saying that she is “not into passing judgment” like I am.  She didn’t address the bj issue, just the pot, acknowledging that it is illegal and that you can get into some serious trouble for it. “But in all actuality, it isn’t that harmful,” she said.

Then she went on about how marijuana does “MUCH less damage than alcohol,” etc. etc. etc., all the usual stuff I have heard a thousand times before. People have sent me links to articles galore, thinking that I will change my mind and suddenly become “enlightened” that it’s okay to light up a joint and get “high”, because it’s “safer than alcohol.” Yeah, right. Tell that to the judge. And even if it were legal, it’s still a mind-altering drug! We shouldn’t aspire to using something like that! Anyway, jerrispice said she does not smoke pot now but that she smoked it in high school, and that she is not a bad person today because of it. She has a degree in nursing and is raising “two spectacular teens who do NOT smoke or drink.” She said her husband is a chemical engineer and has a master’s degree, and he smoked marijuana in college, “MUCH more often than I did.”

“Right or wrong, many people in America smoke pot and are good, moral and functional people whether you want to allow yourself to believe it or not,” she said. “My neighbor, who is a PhD chemist and has earned the right to have his mail delivered to his home with the title Dr. smokes pot at least twice a week and is very open about it. His home costs approximately 85 K more than our home does and his education level is greater than mine OR my husband’s. And this neighbor is an excellent person. Moral, upstanding and responsible. He doesn’t drink and drive, he doesn’t smoke and drive, he just smokes it in the privacy of his own home and harms no one. I have to say that I disagree with you on this issue. The people who truly worry me are in the bars at least 3 nights per week drinking until they are intoxicated or at least slightly under the influence and they drive. My 12 year old brother died because of a person like this.

She told me how she smokes cigarettes occasionally when she has had a stressful day, that this is her “crutch.”

“People are just people, Cindy. You are a nice person, I believe that, however you are also extremely judgmental and that is going to be a downfall for you. Instead of questioning why this man (who is also an educated and functional person) smokes marijuana, I’d rather get to know how his mind ticks, what he thinks and share an opinion or two. I could care less about his habits.”

Just typing this I am shaking like a leaf. I remember how I felt when I first read it I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. I had so much to tell her, how the fact that her neighbor is “moral, upstanding and responsible” makes it even WORSE that he smokes pot, that if he is such an excellent person he of ALL people should know better, that she should be supporting me rather than putting me down, that I KNOW there are “many people in America who smoke pot and are good, moral and functional people”, and that’s what makes this worse, how if you get busted and tell a judge this, they won’t care how good and moral and upstanding and educated you are or if you live in an expensive house, that you will be a common criminal and treated like a number. “What are parents supposed to tell their kids?” I asked her. “That it’s okay to get ‘stoned’ on illegal marijuana joints because so-and-so does it and he is a fine, moral, upstanding person and has an expensive house? What kind of example are you setting for your kids by sticking up for your pot-smoking neighbor and putting down a person like ME, who is trying to nicely and respectfully help talk some sense into a grown man who is breaking the law, lighting up joints, and getting ‘high’?”

I told her that of COURSE it’s bad that people get drunk and leave bars under the influence of alcohol. Just because alcohol is legal doesn’t mean we should use it! But that doesn’t mean we should smoke pot, either! And of COURSE people are just people! I understand that we all have “crutches”, and here I was trying to HELP that man, and she puts me down, calls me judgmental, says this is going to be my “downfall”? Again, what kind of example was this setting for her kids? I said I just could not believe she was saying these things, that she and I had chatted before and I thought she was so nice, that I agreed with her completely about how inappropriate it was that her son’s class went to Hooters, that she and I had emailed about Somersize and I thought we were friends and on the same wavelength, and then she says all this?? 

She was not pleased at all, and came back with an even nastier post. I knew then that she was misunderstanding me. I had tried so hard to be clear, to make her realize that I did not think people who smoke pot are “bad”, but that most parents raise their kids to stay AWAY from the kids who use drugs, teaching them that it’s the “bad” kids who smoke pot, and even though these adults who smoke it aren’t bad per se, they are exhibiting bad BEHAVIOR, the very thing that most parents try to teach their kids never to do. I so wanted her to understand my point; it was clear as a bell to me and I knew she wasn’t getting it. I asked her nicely if I could email her the next day, after we had both cooled off, and she said no. In fact, she made several more posts to me, one where she said I was lucky she didn’t “hunt me down and kick my *ss”, and the other where she told me to “f*ck off.”

If I ever had any reason to email Pixie, this was it. She would be the one person on the boards to understand, I thought. The next day I composed a long rant, telling her all about my confrontation with jerrispice and how upset I was. Pixie said she agreed with me completely and that she was shocked jerrispice said the things she did. She, too, thought jerrispice was more like us. She gave me a lot of moral support, which I appreciated.  

We went on to email some more, and I even told her about the story of Tim being arrested with the pipe. Again, Pixie was very supportive and understanding, and I was so thankful to have someone on my side.

Chapter 15
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