Friday, October 19, 2007

My Experience With Marijuana

On the day before kids showed up this year the faculty in my building spent some time involved in some cute little team building activities. One of them involved writing things about yourself on index cards. Someone would then read the card from the front of the room and everyone would try to guess whose card it was. If you guessed right, you got a point…

I don’t remember many of the cards now. One teacher put that she’d been bitten on the head by an ostrich once. Another put that she’d fallen off a boat that summer.

On one of my cards I wrote that I’d never smoke marijuana. No one guessed me. But what was really enlightening was that most people were surprised when they found out that I had turned that card in…

meTo be fair, I suppose I’m about the right age to be a leftover hippie. I like Kenny Chesney and Waylon Jennings, but I also like Hendrix and Dylan (and play them at recess for the kids to hear).

To be completely truthful about it, I have had one experience with Marijuana. At the time I was working as a long term substitute teacher, fresh out of college, at Glenn Hills High School in Augusta, Ga. I’d graduated from Glenn Hills and my new boss was my old principal.

I don’t remember the name of the student who gave me the lid; printing it if I did remember it would probably violate a few dozen laws anyway. But I was outside the building on a set of stairs that took students from the first floor to the second floor and I came upon the boy smoking…

“You know you can’t smoke at school,” I said. “Give that to me.”

He looked confused. He probably was more confused than I gave him credit for. He put the lid in my hand as I held it out toward him. I looked at it as we started toward the office.

“This looks strange,” I thought to myself. “Why doesn’t it have a filter?”

The boy was about two steps up hill from me. He decided to turn around like he wasn’t going to go to the office. I blocked his path back down the stairs. He looked even more confused. He took off running. And because I was confused too by the time and new to teaching, I started running after him.

We were about half way down the top hall when it dawned on me that I wasn’t really sure I wanted to catch him. Classes where changing and the halls were now full of kids. I spotted chasing him.

Of course, he was recognized by half the school. And, being confused, he simply went to his next class. I gave the offending inhalant to the principal. They got the kid out of class and suspended him.

And that was the one and only time I ever "had" marijuana; I held it in my hand after taking it away from a kid. The year was 1983. And I can honestly say it’s been over 24 years since I’ve touched the stuff…

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