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There’s a time and place for Thin Mints l Chuck's World


Last updated 1/23/2019 at Noon

A friend on Facebook posted something funny the other day. I say friend; this is an acquaintance, really. But she seems friendly.

The post wasn’t actually funny. That was the intent, though, so I’ll try to stick with the correct labels.

It was so unfunny that I considered leaving a comment. I’m much better about this now, or I hope I am. I don’t think I was ever a knee-jerker on that platform, although I must have gotten into quarrels (I know I did, but I only remember the personal ones, not about public issues, politics, etc.)

I’m aware of the urge to respond to someone with a bad take. I resist. I think a lot of us are in this particular resistance now.

This was my biggest mistake, by the way, when it comes to making predictions about technology and us. When social media (and by that, I really mean Facebook) began to take off around 2009, when millions of college students suddenly felt their grandparents looking over their shoulders and commenting on their photos, I had a utopian vision of a world in which we all realized that people we thought were like us had all sorts of different opinions.

I thought it would usher in an era of shoulder-shrugging and moving on, a universal awareness that we can’t always agree and we can still be friends.

So, that didn’t happen. We just got mad. Again, these days I try to resist and mind my own business.

Anyway, jokes can be hard. Swing and miss, etc.

Here’s the gist of the joke. My Facebook contact was urging parents of Girl Scouts who were preparing for cookie sales to check out the legality of selling their wares outside marijuana dispensaries.

She appeared to want some gratitude for this suggestion, although that could be part of the joke.

First, it’s not a joke anymore, not since the very first Girl Scout parked outside one of these dispensaries and it became a news story. Others followed. She may be unaware of this; doesn’t matter.

It’d be like making a joke about Donald Trump’s hair and thinking it was original, that people would laugh because it never occurred to them that this man has an odd thing on his head.

Second, it’s a uninformed stereotype, the idea that marijuana always produces the munchies, as much as having a glass of wine means you’ll end up with a lampshade on your head. It’s lowest-denominator stoner humor, and it’s dumb.

Third, it’s super-dumb.

No one is coming out of a dispensary already high (well, they shouldn’t, and at least here they seem pretty strict about watching for that). I can’t imagine that people who’ve just purchased some cannabis product would be all that excited on seeing a Girl Scout waiting outside the door.

Four, where this person lives recreational sales are not legal, so these are medical dispensaries only. The idea of sending children to tempt people who are theoretically seeking relief from pain is bizarre.

All of this can be considered nitpicky, coming from a guy whose state legalized cannabis in 2012 and it’s been a whole lot of nothing so far. I sometimes get annoyed at the dumb names these stores use, only because they’re puns and I’m not a big fan of puns. Otherwise, while there are problems, some of them significant, the whole process has been more boring than I would have imagined 40 years ago.

When I was a teenager, in the 1970s, imagining a future where they sold pot out of stores was the equivalent of imagining a world of flying cars, and yet I pass them every day now and barely notice except to occasionally groan (enough with the puns).

I voted for the law six years ago because I thought it was dumb to fill our prisons with marijuana possessors. I voted for it because I knew the facts, that alcohol kills nearly 90,000 of us every year.

This is twice the rate of opioid deaths, which have been rising, both of which are dwarfed by tobacco (nearly half a million deaths annually). Booze and tobacco are sold in the grocery stores. The effective annual death rate from marijuana is zero.

But I’m not here to shill for the cannabis industry. You might even change my mind on this; neither of us is going to change the law, I suspect. In the world of things to worry about, this doesn’t make my list.

Here’s the thing that bothered me about this joke on Facebook, though. What kind of a parent, or responsible adult, would suggest sending little kids to, say, a liquor store to sell their wares? How about a strip club? There are big signs around these places, stating that IDs will be checked and people have to be 21, so as I said – bizarre.

Again, this was intended as a joke. Dumb, but a joke. She’s allowed to make dumb jokes, and to have a dumb opinion, and honestly that’s really the point of keeping quiet. She should be allowed.

It’s just that whenever I see young people behaving badly, either posing with Nazi salutes or carrying Tiki torches in hate parades, or whatever happened last weekend in Washington with the Native American veteran (still kind of unclear), I wonder where the adults were.

Now I’m wondering if it makes a difference.


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