Photo by Flickr user Sigckgc.
Since I started regularly smoking pot at age 16, I’ve only quit smoking a few times. Typically I stopped smoking involuntary, like when I studied abroad in Tokyo, where decent weed was so scarce that I was driven to drink. The only time I voluntarily refrained from smoking was when I was studying for the LSAT.
Yes, T. Kid wanted to become a lawyer. I had been out of college for a couple of years. I thought I had done my part to claim entrance into the upper gentry by attending and completing college, but it turned out all those morning blunts and midweek acid sabbaticals had cost me a decent GPA. Jobless, I worried I was going to live a life of menial labor, low wages, and malnutrition. I couldn’t see a way out of the downward spiral, so I decided to wrench myself out by using drastic measures—I would become a lawyer.
Nobody could see me as a lawyer, but that made me want to go to law school even more. I daydreamed about being a rebel attorney. I would show up to court in a red Adidas sweat suit and be so good that I would win every case. As I left the courtroom, they’d say, “I don’t get that son of a bitch, but man can he law.” (The fact that I thought the word law was also a verb put me a few steps behind my competitors.) But all my fantasies wouldn't matter until I could be wrung through the hellacious entrance exam known as the LSAT.
If the GRE and GMAT (for business school hustlers) are noble samurais, the LSAT is a conniving ninja who will cut off your dick for no reason. From the ambiguous phrasing of the questions to the cruel time limits, the LSAT is designed to deceive. To do well on the test, you have to be sharp, calculating, and selective. As a daily stoner, I had none of these qualities. If I was going to achieve the dream, I was going to have to clean up my act.
At first, I saw quitting weed as an exciting challenge. After spending years in an altered state, sobriety seemed kind of fun, but the fun wore off after around 5 PM on day three. I had spent each day the same way, waking up at 8 AM, going for a run, eating a healthy breakfast, and then finally sitting down to study for eight straight hours. Basically, I spent my days doing stuff I hated.
Each day, I loathed the LSAT a little bit more. When I complained to my lawyer friends, they told me to quit now because the law life is a terrible life. I figured it’s pretty easy to say that when you’ve already got your JD, so I ignored their warnings and powered on. The only relief I allowed myself was a single vodka tonic at the end of the day. I hate alcohol, but it at least fucked me up enough to fall asleep so I could wake up at 8 AM to do it all over again.
Soon afterwards, I started attending an LSAT prep course. Because sobriety made me more social than I had been in years, I frequently struck up conversation with other future lawyers. Each lamer than the next, these kids were stuck up before any of us had even applied to law school. I quickly learned that they sucked large amounts of goat ass. I went home each night and questioned my dream to become a lawyer. Again, the increasing discouragement made me want to do it more, and I powered on.
Four weeks in, I had only broken down once to take a bong hit. I was having my nightly cocktail when my friend Tony asked why I had quit blazing. “I don’t know, I guess it’s bad for my memory, and I’m trying to memorize all kinds of shit for the test,” I said. Tony disproved of my method with a two-pronged argument. For one, he said that regular alcohol is actually worse for your memory than smoking weed. Secondly, I wasn’t memorizing anything. I was learning to think a certain way, and agitating my routine by quitting weed was probably just making studying more difficult. After that lecture, I took that sweet, sweet bong hit and hated myself for having so little willpower—I had made a deal with myself, and I vowed not to break it until I had finally slayed this dragon of a test.
I had been hitting scores in the 160s (out of 180) on the practice tests, so I was feeling pretty good when I rolled in on test day. I had abandoned all care for my appearance and looked extra sketchy and beardy to all the serious kids who brought little snacks and juice boxes in sanctioned Ziplock bags. I remember thinking to myself, “These suckers are all going to have to pee.” And then, like it does in most dire situations, my fuckhead of a bladder decided to torture me the second the first timer began counting down. I could only think about peeing, and any semblance of logic I had went out the window.
Needless to say, I ate shit on the LSAT. To go with my dazzling 3.0 GPA, I managed to pull off a 153 on the test, which meant in order to make a career, I’d have to go to a second or third tier school and beat out the competition. Having seen who was on the outer edge of the field, I couldn’t imagine what monsters the kids who actually got in would be. No matter how badly I wanted to become a lawyer, I was simply not meant to be a lawyer.
I considered my defeat as I stared at the pile of completed law school applications on my desk at home. All that was left to do was drop them in the mail. I smoked a huge fatty and put my head in my hands. I knew law was not the life for me; I never mailed the applications. The deception, the cutthroat attitudes, the skeeziness of the whole lifestyle was better left to the terrible people who would inevitably end up running the world. Instead, I decided I’d be a writer. I already had one foot in the game at the time, and from there I continued to chase my new dream. That sounds cheesy, but I swear that’s what my mindset was.
I’m glad I pursued law and fucked it up instead of never trying and wondering forever if I could have become a lawyer. Quitting weed for the LSAT was me trying to be something I’m not. I will never stop smoking weed again for any reason, at least any reason I can think of now.
And to all of the lawyers that I know and am related to: I love you and I’ll see you in hell.
Also, check out the trailer for episode two of the Weediquette show, hosted by my boy Krishna, who edits this column. It drops tomorrow, and It's gonna be hype.
Previously – Introducing Our New Weediquette Show