After School Special

“Come on man, you’re going to love it I promise,” Jake said while holding a marijuana pipe in his hand.

I had never done anything beyond having too much to drink so this was quite a new experience for me despite being in my twenties. The idea of drugs still seemed scary and dangerous as all those teachers in grade school had made it seem. Indeed, I was a truly ignorant child.

“I swear, you’re going to love it,” Jake assured once more as he handed me his pipe.

“I don’t even know what to do,” I said both honestly and ashamed at my inexperience.

“It’s easy, just put your thumb over the hole on the side, light the top, and take a big inhale. It’s just that easy.” I did just as he instructed.

As the smoke traveled through my mouth down my throat it felt as if a thousand very sharp knives were stabbing my esophagus. I coughed instantly and Jake began laughing hysterically.

“That was really good,” he said, the pride beaming from his eyes knowing he had taken my narcotics virginity.

“Let’s go for a drive,” he said with a big grin on his face.

We jumped in his hot rod and began cruising down country roads taking rips off his pipe. I felt like I was the coolest person in the universe.

I wish I could say we got into all sorts of drug addled shenanigans or got arrested and make this a cautionary tale, but we didn’t. We drove around, smoked pot, went home and watched a television documentary about super volcanoes. At some point in the night I switched to alcohol and passed out on the couch. I woke up the next morning to find Jake sleeping in the bath tub. Apparently he finished our vodka and thought the tub was a safe place to sleep. Moral of the story, drugs are fun.

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Pressure without the Peers

I started a fraternity in college with a handful of friends. This was not, in any way, an official college sanctioned fraternity; this was a social club founded by a couple of bored twenty-somethings to have an excuse to drink on a Tuesday mid-morning (not that we really needed an excuse).

Despite the stigma, fraternities and sororities do a lot of good for the community and serve as an important social environment for many college students. Our fraternity was nowhere close to any of these things. We were rowdy, belligerent, and overall rude. For the most part, we were how fraternities are portrayed in movies and television. I never amassed a large amount of amusing stories from these days, other than the typical drunk nonsense, but there’s one moment that always sticks with me.

Chad (not his real name) was Chinese, this detail is not important for the story but just for character development, but Chad was not from China. He was a fifth generation American so he was about as Chinese as I am Irish. He spoke with a very standard “Dude Bro” voice that most frat guys have. One afternoon, Chad and I were sitting on the porch of the rundown home we rented as our clubhouse and he started smoking a cigarette. I have never noticed Chad smoke before so naturally this caught me off guard.

“When did you start smoking?” I asked inquisitively.

“Oh this?” Chad said pointing to the cigarette in his mouth.

“Yeah that.”

“I started smoking last week.”

“Last week?”

“Yeah.”

“You just decided to take up smoking?” I ask, admittedly very confused.

“Yeah.”

“Any particular reason? I don’t care, I just find it odd that you have the mentality as if you started a normal hobby like jogging.”

“Well I get high every once in awhile,” Chad says.

“I’m aware, but that doesn’t explain the cigarette,” now I’m getting annoyed.

“So, you know that girl Kate (not her real name)?” Chad asks.

“Yeah?”

“She smokes, so I figured this gives me the perfect excuse to talk to her,” Chad says this as if it’s a totally normal thing to say. Needless to say, I’m speechless.

“Fuck you,” I finally say after several minutes of silently watching cars drive by.

“What?”

“You’re kidding right? You started smoking so you’d have an excuse to talk to a girl?”

“Well, not just her, a lot of girls smoke,” Chad says trying to defend himself.

“That doesn’t mean you start smoking! Just go talk to them like a normal person” I start yelling.

“But this gives me a perfect intro.”

“So does ‘hello’ you fucking idiot, except ‘hello’ won’t kill you faster!”

“Whatever man, you’ll see, this is going to work great.”

It did not work great, at all. Kate completely ignored him, and so did virtually every other girl Chad tried smoking with. The worst part of all, it’s been several years and Chad still smokes, granted so does his girlfriend, so maybe he’s a secret genius, but I still think he’s an idiot.