Floridians Remember Their First Time Getting High
Photo by Kyle Huninghake
Do you remember the first time you got high? Who were you with? How did it feel? Were you nervous? Excited?
Did you suddenly realize just how weird fingernails are?
Most of the 47 percent of Americans who have smoked weed probably have a lot to say about their first time.
"I know that I was screaming that I had brain damage."
That's one of them.
He's a 22-year-old native of Fort Lauderdale whom we'll call Derek, and he smoked weed for the first time on the Coral Ridge Country Club golf course in Fort Lauderdale when he was 14.
It wasn't premeditated. His cousin brought him there one night to hang out with some friends on a vacant golf course.
You know, high school stuff.
When they rolled up to the 17th hole, Derek's cousin -- let's call him Roger -- was handed a bowl.
Derek wasn't a party animal at the time. He admits to maybe trying a cigarette and having the occasional beer, but that's it. The kid passing around the weed was your typical bad apple, the kind of kid who -- along with hydroplaning and the word "molly" -- keeps mothers of teenagers awake at night. Let's call him Granny Smith.
"I remember [Granny Smith] telling me to just put it to my mouth, light it, and take the biggest, longest inhale I possibly could and then to hold my breath for as long as I could," Derek recalls. After he stopped coughing, Granny Smith looked at him and said, "You're going to get really high."
Spoiler alert: He did.
As you can imagine, it wasn't long before Derek's concept of space and time started to melt into a purple goo. Things started getting weird when they walked back to the car.
"I remember getting to the car and going, 'Holy shit, when did we leave the golf course?' I couldn't figure it out."
When they got to the car (an Acura RSX), they broke the news to Derek that he'd be riding in the trunk. A couple of speed bumps later was when he started screaming about the brain damage.
"I thought the weed was laced," Derek says. "Somebody had just told me that weed could be laced with something bad and it would give you brain damage if you smoked it."
The rest of the evening is a bit fuzzy. "The whole night was just like snapping your fingers and ending up somewhere else. First I was in the trunk, then -- snap -- we're at McDonald's."
He ended up at Roger's house, passed out next to a few French fries.
"And then I woke up at [Roger's] house the next morning, and... I think I liked it? I liked that it was over."
Roger's first time getting high was a year earlier and was actually oddly similar to Derek's. Again, Granny Smith was the ringleader. It took place at a different golf course (I don't get it either), and thanks to the shitty advice of Granny Smith, he ended up getting way too high.
He asked to be taken to the hospital because he too thought he'd permanently fried some circuitry. "You don't know what getting high is like," Roger says. "And then you get superhigh? You don't know what the hell is going on. You think something is wrong."
They never took Roger to the hospital. Instead, they gave him ice cream. It seemed to do the trick.
Most first-time-getting-high stories have common themes. Anxiety, fear, giggling, and ice cream all seem to pop up. And in a few days, on April 20, the stoner Christmas, chances are that a few more first-timers will be creating their own stories. And, chances are, they'll be going into it completely blind.
Is that a good thing?
Not that there should be a school elective called How to Get High 101 (some might argue it already exists and is called ceramics), but maybe we should be telling kids more about marijuana beyond just the proper ways to refuse it.
Maybe if Derek and Roger knew the difference between a puff and a telenovela gasp, say, the way most kids know the difference between beer and vodka, they wouldn't have gotten so high.
And what happens to "Just Say No" if, in November, Florida just says yes to medical marijuana? Does it become "Just Say No Unless..."? Will we have to start being more realistic with our kids?
You don't have to answer these questions now. It's been a long day, and Ellen is on. But come November, if Florida decides to integrate marijuana even further into its culture, you might have to start being more honest with little Timmy. Or else he might end up in someone's trunk with a skull full of mashed potatoes.
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