I just realized that the title of my post is similar to the title of Obama's book. Oh well, too bad. I don't think one can copyright a title, and there aren't many possible configurations of a four-word title anyway. Somehow I don't think a lawyer's going to be sending me a nastygram about it. Irrelevancy does have its advantages.
I can't remember a good dream about my father. Last night, I dreamed I was still living in that house, a teenager, and he was busily searching my room from top to bottom, as he often did, searching for contraband, weed being top on the list, followed occasionally by other things, such as paraphenalia, like a homemade bong, or a lighter, or even matches, or ashes, or rolling papers, or tobacco or clove cigarettes, though I stopped smoking them later, nasty habit. He was tearing apart my room, throwing my things on the floor, because he was "suspicious," his favorite word, and when he did look at me on occasion it was with a leer, letting me know he enjoyed this little game, it was a lot of fun for him. I called him what he was, a sadistic bastard, and he pretended to be outraged and grounded me for weeks or months or took away my favorite possession, my computer, on which I spent all my free time programming in BASIC, so that I would be spurred on by boredom to go out with my friends and buy weed from somebody. He loved it, he loved every moment of it, the battle of wills between us, making me suffer and watching the expression on my face. I knew he loved it because he would smile and laugh at me, "hee hee hee hee hee," more like the cackle of the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz, and congratulate himself on being such a good parent, such an upstanding moral example. He loved prancing around, acting the moralist, the man who never had sex with his wife anymore, who let her do all the housework while he sat around watching television all the time or napping. Always he was at war with either my brother or me or sometimes, for a special treat, both. He always found the thing one of us loved and took it away or made it scarcer. The Grinch he was. And Mr. Grabby Hands besides, although he put a cork on that once I reached the venerable age of twelve.
Weed was expensive in those days and difficult to come by, besides being pretty weak. It was mostly stems and seeds, the shake of the Colombian harvest, and for those of you who do not know, stems and seeds have little or no THC content. Most THC is located in the buds, while some is on the little leaves next to the buds, and a very small amount is in the big fan leaves, but next to nothing is found in stems and seeds, yet they contribute much weight to the product of a dealer selling to inexperienced kids like me, maximizing his profit. I never had a good source, but always somebody taking advantage. In truth this Colombian had the same effect as a weak beer, but my father's rationale was that marijuana was illegal, so it was forbidden, end of story, no negotiation. It didn't matter that the marijuana had little effect other than as an antidepressant. Occasionally he did find alcohol in my room as well, and since I was underage that too was forbidden, but punished much less since it was not very illegal, only a little bit illegal. Later on I concluded that weekend alcoholism was okay in his book so I adopted that practice, drinking on weekends.
I didn't do many other drugs due to my dread of their effects, because I wasn't ignorant about drugs at all. Coke was available, but I thought it was stupid putting something up the nose and never felt tempted. I still don't understand the appeal. My brother rolled up a dollar bill and set up some lines for me once, twice, three times, different occasions. I only tried it once, because of his incessant urging, a half-hearted try, just to shut him up, and I don't think I got more than a line snorted, and it was weak stuff to begin with. I didn't feel much of anything. Probably mostly baking soda with a little bit of ground-up caffeine pills and cocaine, was my belief then and now. That's a perennial problem with coke, it isn't easy to get the genuine product. Glad I skipped that train, but it certainly wasn't my father's doing. Coke would have been a lot easier to hide in my room.
If he didn't find any weed, that meant I had successfully concealed my stash somewhere. He never was satisfied I didn't have any, that was impossible in his ideology, because all resistance and all obstinence and disobedience was the result of marijuana, nothing else. He was absolutely convinced that marijuana was the sole representative of Satan Incarnate. I think it was his fanaticism on this point that persuaded me to keep using marijuana, because I began joining him in his game, finding the amusement in it. I decided he wanted to find marijuana, he was just putting on that he didn't, and that was probably true. He always had a big sense of joy every time he found something and was frustrated and dejected when he didn't. So this was a big game between my father and me that we played for years until I was eighteen or so.
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