The end of 2004 I was named Yahoo’s most popular troll, with voters making their choices at some separate troll site someone made up, where posters could gather and talk about the boards. I had to laugh, because I couldn’t believe I was even in the running. I hadn’t been on the boards that long, and all I was doing was being myself! I really did not consider myself a troll. 

The end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005 I engaged in more in-depth pot discussions with a couple of other posters on Yahoo, striking up an email correspondence with Max Gain and meeting on a board with Effluvial. These were both grown men with good jobs who thought nothing was wrong with smoking marijuana. We went round and round in circles, never really getting anywhere. But at least it was civilized.

Every once in a while there would be someone on my side on the boards. “Jim J Bullicks” was one of them. In January he and I were on a board about “flavored cigarettes and colorful wrappers igniting ire”, and he defended my stance on marijuana, taking it a step further by relating his own addiction to the substance. He said he was a heavy user between the ages of 13 and 26.

“If you don’t think you use it as a crutch, think again,” he replied to a poster named fourtrax88. “I sure did, and so did everyone I knew who smoked. It’s a psychoactive drug and it is definitely addictive. Don’t bother trying to argue that with me. I know the truth, and so do you, even if you won’t admit it to yourself. Addicts rarely do deal with the truth very well, until they decide they don’t want to be addicts anymore.”

At 45, Bullicks said his short-term memory is “pretty well shot”. He added that he was fortunate to never get into trouble with the law. Addressing fourtrax’s point about there not being any deaths related to pot (as opposed to alcohol), Bullicks noted that there have been plenty of them. “I personally knew a kid who got killed on the highway because he drove whacked on hash. You know full well that it screws up your depth perception. Driving high is just about as bad as driving drunk. I myself came this close to many bad accidents while driving high; I had a few minor ones as well.”

“Bottom line: use marijuana and its derivatives at your own risk. I can say today that I wish I’d never gotten started with it. In the final analysis, it did me a lot more harm than good,” he said.

Later on that board, Bullicks responded to yet another poster, “holyschmoley”, who accused him of making up his assertion about marijuana’s addictive qualities.

“Interesting how much denial and defensiveness my post brought out in subsequent posts,” Bullicks replied. “I never said pot was physically addictive. When I stopped using it after some 13 years of heavy smoking, I did not experience any symptoms of physical withdrawal outside of a period of very strange and disturbing dreams.”

His short-term memory began deteriorating when he was in his 20s, he said, “and it was certainly tied to marijuana use.”

“I’m fully aware that no one has ever fatally overdosed on marijuana. I never said they did. It’s really interesting how far out of their way the defenders of this pernicious drug will go to rationalize their abuse of it. I was just like you! I used to say all the stuff that you’re all saying. “It’s natural.” “You can’t overdose, you just fall asleep.” “God made it so how could it be evil”, etc. and so on. I’m surprised no one’s come at me with that last one.

“Hemp makes good rope, I’ll give you that much,” he concluded. “That’s about all it’s good for, except those rare, legitimate cases of people who use it to alleviate nausea caused by chemotherapy. Someday you’ll wake up, I hope.”

I was quite impressed by Bullicks’ posts. And I could relate to his list of excuses people gave for lighting up, especially the one about how God made marijuana. I would always respond that yes, God made marijuana. But that doesn’t mean he wants us to light up a joint, smoke it, and get “stoned”.

I also understood his point about medical marijuana, which I was not opposed to. I have a heart and do not want to see people suffer. If this substance is legal and prescribed by a doctor, really helping a person, then I’m all for it. In late 2004 I did come across a doctor a few times on the boards, “SWLUGER2”. He was in favor of medical marijuana and extremely opposed to it being used recreationally. “The problem is having physicians use it properly,” he said. “The idea that it should be available to anybody who wants it is foolish.” He could be quite blunt and antagonistic with the pot-smokers, not letting them get away with any excuses. He supported me and said something about how my comments were thoughtful. “You’re a moral and clearheaded thinker,” he once told me.

I continued trying to dispel lowcarb misconceptions, especially with the Tough Chicks and bullies who met on a story in the health section about how “experts say the low-carb craze may be over.” This story had been on the front page in December 2004 but we kept it alive in the index section well into 2005. A guy named eat_atkins_dead_flesh was intent upon proving that the reason Atkins and similar programs worked was because people were eating less calories. I contended that I did not reduce my caloric intake, because I was still eating rich foods and fat, which can be high in calories. What I eliminated was sugar, which raises your insulin level and can cause fat to be stored. Fat cannot be stored unless insulin is present, I explained. Studies show that those on lowcarb can consume more calories and still lose weight. It all has to do with how we metabolize the calories from various food groups. All I knew was that I could eat 1,000 calories of Twinkies a day and not lose weight, and eat 2,000 calories of controlled carb food and lose weight, I said. And the Twinkies would have increased my cravings and sugar addiction, whereas lowcarb food would not. I also asserted that low calorie diets can be dangerous, because you lose lean muscle mass, and it slows down your metabolism. Then when you go off the diet, usually because you are starving, you will gain all the weight back and then some, because your metabolism has been damaged.

Atkins Dead Flesh Guy, as I called him, along with a middle-aged man named drmweaver2003, would hear none of this. They and the Tough Chicks thought I was on some wacky diet and ruining my health. I explained over and over that all I did to lose weight was eliminate sugar and learn new ways to make dishes, eating REAL FOOD, avoiding processed and refined foods, eating from all food groups, and adjusting my intake of healthy, whole-grain carbs according to my metabolism and activity level. How could anyone argue with that? But all they heard was “Suzanne Somers”: blonde, ditzy actress who played Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company. They thought I “worshipped” her or something, which was totally untrue.

Drmweaver was especially hung up on the fat thing. I said that fat is good for us, as long as it is real fat. Lowcarb does not mean eating a bowl of lard or wolfing down a pound of bacon every hour. We can have fat on lowcarb, but just stay away from transfat. Fat is needed by our body for healthy cell reproduction, I explained.

Well, you would have thought I’d said we should eat poison. Drmweaver did nothing but attack me and tell me that fat is bad for you, and to “ask any cardiologist” if we should eat fat, etc. I asked him what he ate on a usual day. He said it was things like fish, olive oil, vegetables, and that he tried to eliminate sugar. “Well it sounds like you are Somersizing,” I said. And it did! But he had a fit. “I am not Somersizing!” he exclaimed. He just could not grasp the concept that Somersizing is nothing more than eating healthy, balanced meals from all food groups.

Many of the women on those older stories, such as Fuschiahedgehog, Internet Fake Tree, Eatmypie, factmcfactstein, anglsis_jenn and others also made fun of me for following “Chrissy Snow’s diet”. Actually they made fun of me or put me down for most everything—my religion, my views on marijuana, my doll collecting and anything else they could think of. Fuschia, especially, had some misconceptions about my faith, so I took time to talk to her as sincerely as I could. As I said, I take this subject seriously and always try extra hard to be nice and respectful when it comes up. As an adult convert, I remember what it was like to be a nonmember and not even religious. Even though this group of posters on the older stories was infuriating, for the most part I enjoyed our conversations about all these various subjects, and I thought surely they would understand my points if I just explained them well enough. I never realized it would soon get ugly.

Chapter 7
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