Getting High with the Family
There’s an obvious connection between Thanksgiving and marijuana known only to those who arrive at the family smorgasbord after a conveniently timed “walk around the block” and those vigilant relatives who greet this entry with a nod and a smile. But this union of consumables doesn’t always go as planned. As I sit in lazy comfort surrounded by my reclining family, I’m reminded of a weed-oriented Thanksgiving story that I’d like to share with you in this week’s Weediquette.
It was 2010 and my family had reached a high point of understanding and social enjoyment. The kids were all grown and the moms were all bored, so naturally the curiosity of both led to clandestine smoking, ducking the dads of the family to take “walks around the block.” That’s how my aunt, her daughter, and I ended up smoking a huge joint on the driveway the night before Thanksgiving. We had just gotten a call from her son saying that he had hurt his shoulder at a show and would be heading home as soon as the emergency room discharged him. My aunt was stressed by this jackassery, part of a longer pattern of her son’s misbehavior, and she needed to take a load off. I happily obliged.
She hadn’t smoked since she was in art school in the 70s, and I had the wherewithal to warn her about the potency of what I had brought (only the best for T. Kid). It was to no avail. She chiefed that bad boy like it was a cigarette, and the slightest hint of concern entered my hazy mind just after she said, “Whoooa, I’m feeling it already,” and meandered back into the house. I stayed outside to smoke a cigarette, and when I went back inside, I witnessed the consequences of my doing.
My mother was crouched over my aunt, who was laid out in the middle of the living room floor breathing heavily and gripping my mother’s hand tightly, asking her to take care of her kids when she inevitably died from whatever the hell was happening to her, a mystery to all but me at that point. My mom was understandably shaken and was about to leap into action when I ran over to her and whispered the truth into her ear. “She’s just really, really stoned. If she just chills out for a few, she’ll be fine.” My mom paused for a moment to process the scenario. Finally she said, “No one can find out that she smoked for obvious reasons. If your uncles walk in while she’s like this, they’ll call 911 and ask me why the hell I didn’t. Worse yet, in case there really is something wrong, we’re going to have to take that measure.”
Shit. I nodded in agreement. Meanwhile, my cousin, my infirmed aunt’s daughter who had just partaken in the joint, walked in fairly stoned herself and began to fully dramatize the situation. Before things got too Days of Our Lives, I grabbed my cousin and said, “She’s just really stoned, dumbass, you just saw her blast that J with us!” She calmed herself, as my mom had, but there was still the critical mess of my aunt lying there, now wailing vague statements of religious devotion. My mom announced that she had reported the emergency.
I sat down on the couch, finally realizing that I was actually pretty fucked up myself. I barely had the chance to idiot check myself for paraphernalia when the cops rolled in. I was concerned and I looked it, and it’s a good thing because when those pigs walked into the family room and gathered around my aunt, my grimace was fully appropriate. In less than a minute, the EMTs arrived, and directly behind them, several members of the fire department. There were now about a dozen emergency personnel in the room surrounding my stoned aunt, with my mom and cousin at her side. It looked like my aunt was starting to realize what had just happened and that she was not, in fact, imploding into herself, but now the cops were here so it was time for a show. I stuffed the weed in my pocket way, way down and watched, grimace maintained.
The cops asked my aunt if she had been drinking or if she had taken any medication, which prompted her to look at my mom, who gave her a classic subtle mom headshake. They took her vitals and couldn’t seem to figure out what the matter was until her son walked into the house with his arm in a sling, exclaiming, “Ma, why are there like three cop cars in the driveway?” He saw her surrounded on the floor and literally dropped to his knees. “Oh my god, this is all my fault!” I was about to grab him, take him aside, and explain what had happened, but suddenly I realized how perfect this was.
The cops would attribute the “panic attack” to the injury of her son and rule out any other weirdness, which would have soon been apparent based on my appearance, the disheveled, bearded, long-haired, Peter Tosh T-shirt-wearing young person in the room. I let him finish his confession.
He told the cops, firemen, and EMTs the tale of his evening of indiscretions, using his good arm for emphasis. He had been at a show where he stupidly dove off the balcony into the crowd, landed on his shoulder, and dislocated it, then reporting it to his mother and causing her to spiral into despair. As he finished his story, I stood up and said, “You irresponsible bastard.” He looked at the floor and apologized to everyone once again.
Breaking the silence, one of the EMTs said, “I still think we should bring you in to the hospital, just to be sure everything’s alright. My aunt, now almost completely sober after hearing her son’s heartfelt soliloquy, reluctantly agreed. My mother went with her. My uncles were told what had happened and they went straight to the hospital from work, leaving the kids at home, where we smoked another fatty and discussed what had just happened. I finally exonerated my boy cousin.
The next morning my aunt returned looking the way I do every Sunday morning and we laughed our asses off and got to preparing the day’s meal. After that, it was actually a pretty normal Thanksgiving.
Now, here’s the kicker that my mom just told me today. When they were at the hospital, the doctor asked my aunt to give them a urine sample. My mom quickly intervened and said she’d help her, rushing them into the bathroom. “They’re going to test your urine for drugs and it’s going to come out chock full of THC. But I haven’t smoked, so I’ll pee in the cup and we’ll say it’s yours.” The plan went off without a hitch, except that the doctor returned and told my aunt that she had a UTI and would need medication for it. My aunt handed the prescription to my mom and said, “She’ll take care of that.”
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