The kettle is black

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

If I needed any further proof that I am no longer hip, putting together a “pot issue” was about all the proof I needed.

I used to smoke a fair amount of pot when I was much younger, but I pretty much gave up the habit when I was in my early 20s. I was doing a lot of creative writing back then, and then one summer, the Midwest went through a long dry spell of no available marijuana. At the end of several months of not smoking, I reread some of what I’d written, and my incredible works of genius had all turned to crap.

I didn’t mind much, although it took some fine tuning to realize that even a little dope had long-term effects on me, but the realization didn’t really turn me against pot, since I knew so many people who were able to smoke it frequently without loss of creativity, sharpness or attention span.

And before I get a bunch of guff, I’m not saying smoking pot is hip. I think the hipness factor comes from having specialized knowledge of the people and situations of which marijuana is part of the atmosphere. In other words, and not to stereotype, but people who tend to hang around musicians and artists and writers—types I consider hip—may be more likely to sample the herb. On the other hand, maybe I am stereotyping. But while I’m frequently offered a doob at parties, I can’t remember the last time someone at the gym or church or even the nursery offered to spark one up.

And to take it one esoteric step further (and how ironic is this?), until I wrote this week’s stories, I didn’t know anyone who takes medicinal marijuana. And for those who can’t figure out why this is ironic, it’s the incongruous and counterintuitive fact that illegal marijuana is practically ubiquitous in our society, but legal marijuana is unusual.

So there ya go. I hope the Obama administration keeps its word and takes a hands-off approach to use of medical marijuana. That would be hip. I’m afraid it’s too late for me.