I was sitting in my lounge room with a joint my girlfriend had left for me.
I was 41 and hadn’t smoked any weed since I was in my early twenties. I wasn’t necessarily opposed to the stuff, but it had just never really taken a hold on me. For the better part of the past decade I had been a parent and husband exclusively and that kind of position places you, I felt anyway, in the abstinent camp. My kids had enough influences leading them towards ruining their lives without me adding to them, so I didn’t. I tried not to drink outside of a social sense and I rarely ever shot heroin into my remaining eye nerves in front of them during sleepovers. I had been a good, clean, dull, socially acceptable idea of a human being.
When my girlfriend, El Cohen recently offered me a hash cookie shortly after we began dating, I said no. As ridiculous as it seems, I was frightened. I felt old at the time, terribly geriatric at the age of 41 after life had served me lemons from lemonade. I didn’t know what pot did to a 41 year old divorcee and the thought of humiliating myself with what i saw as a young person’s pursuit terrified me. For god’s sake, my eldest son, Hair smoked weed so much that he must have been offered a job with the company by now. For me to partake felt like showing up at one of his friends parties with a cask of Fruity Lexia and a ‘Hits Of The Eighties’ CD under my arm.
The fact that I am even writing about something as pedestrian as smoking a joint in 2016 shows how far I have strayed from any semblance of cool, or freedom or whatever category the imbibing of drugs your granny probably uses has fallen into. Yet, here I am.
It hasn’t always been this way.
It might shock you to know this, but once, previous to the age I am now, I was younger. Due to the cruel and linear nature of history, I found myself getting progressively older after the event of my birth and this, in turn, has now made me less young than previous years might have suggested.
During those earlier years I had hitched my wagon to the romantic figures of Brendan Behan, Nick Cave, William Burroughs, Karen Dalton, Dylan Thomas, Dorothy Parker, Tom Waits, Charles Bukowski, Shane MacGowan and various other doomed and drunken figures of the arts. I drank like a fish and dragged my tongue along the salty under-carriage of life’s nether regions. I felt that the only avenues of life truly worth travelling down were the dark, smoky, booze soaked ones. I pushed myself to the edge of common sense and safety, lost family and friends to the same pursuits along the way and broke speed limits on the road of excess, whilst scanning the horizon for the palace of wisdom.
Now I consider smoking a single joint a life choice. Shane MacGowan would be spinning in his grave if he was, in actual fact, dead.
In the end I smoked it. The result was a decision to launch a series of works involving the painting of bubbles and a new found respect for the film making skills of Sylvester Stallone.
The road of excess ain’t what it used to be.