The Secret Shame of My Pot Smoking Life

Enjoying the ganja has been one of the great privileges of my life. For over thirty years it has gotten me through good times and bad. It’s been a soothing companion when nobody else was there. It’s made the times when everyone else was there a hell of a lot more fun. It’s seen me through breakups with lovers and helped me cope with the deaths of people I’ve loved. I use it at parties and gatherings and I love it even when I’m all alone.

Yet despite it being such a constant, at the core of my soul I still sometimes feel like a bit of a weed fraud. Why?

Because I cannot roll a joint to save my life. If someone put a gun to my head and ordered me to do it, it would surely be the end.

See, I was introduced to Mary Jane via the classic hard plastic bong. Surely everyone in 1990 had one of these, yes? The one I bought about a month after first getting high even came with a sticker of a skull that I happily (and nerdily) affixed to the front of it. For at least a half a dozen years I used that hunk of plastic to enjoy my dirt weed in the privacy of my crummy apartment, never once thinking that I really should know how to roll a joint, because I can’t carry the bong everywhere. (Can you believe I still have this 32-year old waterpipe [pictured at right]?; had to hunt for it in the deep recesses of a dark, packed closet.)

But therein lies some of the rub: I was never a huge concert-goer and as a non-drinker, I almost never went out to clubs. Being somewhat antisocial and introverted, hanging at my pad with any friends who happened to stop by, well, the bong was sort of perfect. And there were always the one-hitters that could be used for outings.

Nevertheless, occasions would arise. Someone would hand me a bag of weed and a pack of rolling papers, expecting me to do what should come naturally to any self-respecting pothead, and in those moments I would find myself having to confess my secret shame: “Sorry, man. I can’t do that.” Half the time someone would attempt to show me how it was done. Try as I may, I never learned. I’m sure I’ve tried to roll at least a dozen joints in my life. Complete fail every single time.

Also, it always seemed that the amount of weed it took to make one joint was about the same amount I would smoke over a week. It seemed so wasteful. I was young and broke. I couldn’t be buying a new bag of weed every two weeks. Learning to roll joints did not financially seem to be in my best interest.

The worst part of all of this is that these days when I am financially more solvent, Mrs. Fareye, who does not enjoy cannabis even remotely at the same level as I, will mostly only partake of the weed if – you guessed it – it’s rolled up into a tight little joint. That’s right: I’m so lame I can’t even roll my wife a joint! I’ve actually paid dealers extra money to roll one for her.

But, as you well know, the world of weed has changed drastically over the past decade. Most any dispensary has pre-rolled joints, and cannabis comes in so many different forms these days, it’s almost as if joints have become outdated. My guess is that there’s an entire generation of cannabis users who are equally as inept at rolling as I am, only for them it’s not worn as a badge of shame; it’s just the way things are. Bring COVID into the mix and who wants to share a soggy, nasty joint these days?

The stigma for a guy my age feels real though. I’ll never forget many years ago the pretty pothead girl who showed me up by rolling perhaps the tightest most perfect joint I’d ever smoked, immediately after my admission that she wouldn’t be getting one out of me. For a pothead, that’s akin to not being able to get it up. No, she did not sleep with me, and I know in my heart of hearts it’s because I couldn’t roll a joint to save my life…or even to get laid.

To grab a quote from Monty Python, “But you try to tell the kids of today that and they won’t believe you.”

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