The subject comes up with some regularity at the agency. One of our intake forms matter-of-factly asks about drug usage. It’s kind of tricky, though, knowing what to call it. The “cool” name changes every few years, have you noticed? In the sixties, before I was old enough to understand much about it, I heard references to it on shows like “The Mod Squad,” where they’d call it “grass” or maybe “reefer.” By the time I was in high school, and had seen a bit of it (and yes, smoked a time or two), it was called “pot.” Even then, it was mostly vicarious smoking on my part, since the idea of smoking anything smaller than a ham has never held much appeal for me. (Now, if they made a bacon cigarette . . . my life may have gone in an entirely different direction.) But yea, I hung out with the “heads” for a while. (What are the “heads” called now? I don’t know. Ohlord, what if they’re just called “high school students”?) And a few years later, my contemporaries “smoked dope.”
Today, if I ask a young client about marijuana usage, I call it “weed.” Because that’s what the kids in this area call it. I learned this from the following recent exchange with some clients:
Mom: I am tired of you disrespecting your Grammy!
Angie: And I am tired of my Grammy smoking weed!
Me (this is unexpected news): Uh . . . how often does Grammy smoke . . . weed?
Mom: Not that much.
Angie: Every time her friend Betty is over, before they go to bingo!
So, yea, we try to discourage, or certainly not encourage, the smoking of weed, there at the agency. Except the other day, I had this earworm, this snippet of a song stuck in my head from channel surfing and pausing on an old episode of Earl. It was a Snoop Dogg song, covered by a bluegrassy band called The Gourds. (Video and audio NOT suitable for children or discerning adults, but it was the cleanest video I could locate, to um . . . go with the dirty lyrics . . . )
So, I’m there with that earworm, just the chorus:
Rollin’ down the street, smokin’ Indo
Sippin’ on gin and juice
With my mind on my money and
My money on my mind!
And I’m aware of doing this bobble-head dance, this back and forth and side to side with my head, while I’m straightening up the magazines on the shelf in the waiting room . . . and I hear a giggle, and it brings me back to the present, and I think for a panicked second . . . was I? Was I humming? Ohdear, was I SINGING? And I bobble my head around to the side and see these two black kids, 11- or 12-year-old boys, sitting in the waiting room, laughing their faces off at me, and I’m all, “ohno,” like I’m rollin’ down the street in slow mo, and they’re still laughing as their counselor beckons them down the hall to their appointment.
I felt like I had to say something, so I said, “WHAT?!” in what I hoped was a clean and sober, authoritative voice, and they just laughed more and fell against each other and the wall, and I called after them, “JUST SAY NO!”