Read an Excerpt
Pot Psychology's How to BeLowbrow Advice from High People
By Tracie Egan Morrissey
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2012 Tracie Egan Morrissey
All right reserved.
How to Be Stoned in Public
It always seems like a good idea to get stoned before leaving the house, but it rarely ever is. For this reason, our first piece of advice is: don’t get stoned before leaving the house. But we’d be hypocrites if we truly expected you to live by those words.
If you’re planning on leaving the house stoned, make like a Boy Scout and be prepared (but don’t make like a Boy Scout and be anti-gay). Eyedrops are essential, but use them sparingly in public, as the only thing that’s more of a giveaway than bloodshot, glassy eyes is a giggling fool with a bottle of Visine. Think of every trip out of the house as an expedition, and pack fluids and trail mix or some kind of dehydrated food accordingly. (We recommend freeze-dried ice cream even though it is like an unholy mixture of chalk and circus peanuts. It will, at least, give you something to think about. How do you make freeze-dried ice cream? What is freeze-drying? That’s something to ponder, and everyone should be so lucky as to have something to ponder on their person.) Don’t even think about your outfit. Just go. Changing your outfit before you leave could put you in a spiral of indecision and second-guessing. You may never get out the door. Say good-bye to your pets, but do not turn it into a belabored farewell. They don’t care, and you’re talking to animals. Just because you’re stoned doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. Remember to shut the door behind you, but before you do, remember to grab your keys. That may sound obvious, but such reminders are necessary when you’re stoned.
Here’s another: don’t forget to think. People smoke pot to take their mind off of things, but the irony is that your mind must now be on everything. Don’t assume that anything will work out automatically. It won’t. Isn’t that the point of leaving the safe haven of your home while stoned, after all? By choosing to do so, you are challenging your challenged brain. The simplest tasks, such as making small talk with a neighbor in your hallway, will seem harder, and more advanced social interactions, like running into an ex on the street, will seem impossible. In the case of the neighbor in the hallway, don’t try to pretend that you’re sober—she can smell the air outside your door. A polite giggle or scowl, depending on your preexisting relationship, is sufficient. In the case of your ex on the street, cross to the other side as soon as it’s safe. You may want to ask a stranger if it’s safe, because you’re probably in no position to judge safety. What are you, some kind of inspector? Never mind, we don’t think you should talk to strangers. Why are you wasting all this time? It’s getting really awkward with your ex in the immediate vicinity. No matter where you are, throw caution to the wind and cross the street right now! Go!
If you’ve made it this far and are still alive, or at least able to read, know that you can cross only so many streets. You’re going to have to deal with people in public. Understand that no matter how weird you feel, you are not alone. Everybody feels weird. You just happen to be hyperaware of it. Don’t cower by doing things like avoiding eye contact. Everybody can see you and your stony eyes whether you are looking at them or not. (Unless you are wearing sunglasses, which is also a great idea for helping to prevent crow’s-feet. However, don’t wear sunglasses at night. You are not Corey Hart.)
The best thing to do is embrace your eccentricity, which in this case probably has mostly to do with you being stoned. Don’t suppress your laughter—it will only make it worse, and thus harder to suppress. Weed has a way of turning suppressed laughter into snorting. Plus, didn’t you get stoned in the first place to laugh more? Everything is funnier when you’re high, except for internal conflict. Stop fighting your urges. Any exchange that you have will feel more awkward than it is, though it probably would have been awkward in the first place, unless you’re the weird type to make friends with your local convenience-store worker. In that case, the weed is the least of your problems.
Basically, just be calm. Give yourself time, stop and smell the roses, and think about how weird the word roses is. Roses. Roses. Roses. Say it out loud. Again. When you say it enough times, it stops being a word and becomes a sentence. Rose is. But what is she exactly?
How to Be Openly Gay
Go up to people (but not animals, because they don’t understand English) and tell them you’re gay. But if you’re an animal, and you’re reading this, you can tell people you’re gay by having sex in front of them.
As we told the animals, have sex in front of people. They’ll figure it out. There are other ways to be gay, but this one hits the nail on the head.
How to Be a Parent Who Isn’t a Hypocrite About Your Kid Smoking Pot
This is a hot-button/hot-boxing topic primarily as a result of that ’80s PSA, in which a chronically interruptive father confronts his drummer son with a cigar box full of recreational drugs belonging to him. The son responds with the immortal words that made no sense to most of the kids who were young enough to be paying attention and not making out or doing drugs of their own during commercial breaks: “You, all right? I learned it by watching you.” No one wants their kid to grow up to be a loser drummer druggie, and everyone wants to continue doing the drugs they did before the kids came along, harshed their parents' mellow, and pooped their party. How do you strike the balance?
You cannot. You are a hypocrite, but at least you’re a high hypocrite. Your sticks of pot must be consumed when your children are asleep, out of town, or freshly dead in their beds. Get used to braving the winter and elements in exchange for a buzz. The days of zoning out are behind you, which means your general paranoia will now be accompanied by paranoia regarding your children’s well-being and their lives that you are probably fucking up, both with and without the help of marijuana.
If you happen to catch your kid smoking pot, you may not have failed as a parent, but as a secret-keeper. The weirdo pedo voice that comes on at the end of that PSA and intones, “Parents who use drugs have children who use drugs,” says it for a reason. We could provide you statistics, but you’re stoned and you wouldn’t understand them anyway. If you’re so interested in numbers, buy a calculator. And let’s face it: if you were so interested in raising your children to be drug free, you wouldn’t have brought this book into your home. Luckily for you, we have pictures of animals.
… Or maybe that’s unlucky because it makes this book so much more appealing to children and stoners alike. Or maybe children stoners. Maybe all of the world’s children become your children when you write a book. Maybe we’re the bad parents, and this entry is our struggle with our own hypocrisy put into words. If that’s the case, we can live with it. We never (at least, not yet in this book) said we weren’t hypocrites or bad influences, which makes us actually not very hypocritical at all. So, the answer of how not to be a hypocrite in the case of children and marijuana is the same answer as how not to be a hypocrite, period: don’t say you aren’t a hypocrite. Give people the lowest expectations possible. A good way to do this is to be visibly stoned. No one’s going to expect a lot out of a person, parent, or pet with bloodshot eyes, a fit of the giggles, a case of the munchies, and a feed bag of snack mix. This counsel may result in terrible parenting, but that’s not a problem we intend to solve in this book. We’ll leave that to the children because, after all, we believe the children are our future.
How to Be Around Whores
You know who hung out with whores all the time? Jesus. Even though we’re supposed to believe he was born of a virgin and never married or had sex before he died when he was thirty-three, it’s pretty well documented that Jesus loved his prostitutes. He stood up for them when they were being picked on. He never made them feel like they were beneath him (even if they literally were—free of charge, of course). He hung out with hookers. He traveled with hookers. He partied with hookers. He knew they were fun. Above all, he didn’t judge them.
Anytime you are around whores and don’t know how to behave, just ask yourself, What would Jesus do? The answer is: don’t cast stones at hookers; get stoned with hookers.
Hookers are people, too, so speak to them like people. Here is a list of suggested topics:
Menstruation (Note: if you are with a hooker at the Point, as seen on the classic HBO documentary series Hookers at the Point, you may get further by pronouncing this “menestration.”)
The influence of Samantha Fox on their lives
The influence of Pretty Woman on their lives
Pornography: possible career direction?
Stripping: is she through with it, or aspiring to it?
Exploitation: who’s zoomin’ who—the ho or the john?
Streetwalking pros and cons
What songs she sings to pass the time while at work
Panties: necessary or necessary evil?
Weird vagina tricks
Day care providers
Night care providers
Whether appearing in a documentary on prostitution is an aspiration
Whores/hookers/hoes/prostitutes—What does she prefer to be called? What is the semantic hierarchy?
Orgasms: are they even possible in this scenario?
How has the Internet changed the industry?
And, since this question can be interpreted in multiple ways, here are some suggestions of how to be in the proximity of whores:
Go to Atlantic City
Go to the Moonlite Bunny Ranch
Go to a street corner (any one will do—a hooker’s bound to walk by at some point)
Go on Craigslist (but not if you are a murderer, because “Craigslist killer” is such a cliché nowadays)
Go to any major metropolitan area
Go to a club
Go to the champagne room
Go under the boardwalk
Go to a hardware store
Go to Rodeo Drive (those salesgirls are bigger whores than streetwalkers, or so say Romy and Michelle)
How to Be Around Religious Weirdos
If you can’t beat ’em, read their scriptures. A bit of distance turns holy into hilarious, so the entertainment value could be high. Take, for example, the Book of Mormon, which is full of historical inaccuracies and racism (the Lamanites—aka the bad guys—are characterized as “dark, filthy, and loathsome”). Read it and be amazed. Actually, we can’t say that for sure, because we haven’t read it, but we have read books that quote it. And that is enough to converse with Mormons (also something we haven’t done).
At the very least, take the opportunity to have a cultural experience and learn about the ways of people with whom you have little in common, thank God (if you believe in him). Make like a Christian and be nice to their faces and laugh at them behind their backs. But do not let genuine curiosity and your sense of humor open the door for cults. They’re scary and they’ll suck you right in. Professionals agree: cults’ll getcha.
If you find that interacting with a religious weirdo leads to an argument, make sure you are not outside of an abortion clinic, because the weirdo might be armed. It’s all fun and games until you bring artillery into things. Then, it’s life or death, and that’s a little too hardcore for something that you’re doing just to laugh about later. If your religious weirdo seems not of the dangerous variety but is still confrontational or adamant about inundating you with their beliefs (or worse yet: literature—who wants to carry around all that paper?), the most important thing is to remain calm. They’re the weirdos—so let them be the freaks. They will dig their own graves for the sake of getting into heaven.
For your points, stick to logic. You seem like a straight shooter invested in rational thinking, so do what you were put on this Earth (by God?) to do. You will find that their arguments generally boil down to: “Because the Bible tells me so.” Understand that what you’re dealing with is someone who talks to books. That is all the justification you need for your case. You win—all you have to do is let them lose.
But this is really a worst-case scenario. Religion actually helps a lot of people be nice, or at least do a good job of pretending to be. So, that’s at least pleasant. Maybe the best way to go about things is to avoid any serious talk and observe them in as detached a way as possible. No matter what they say nod politely and smile while taking mental notes for that novel you’re working on. Let them do your job.
How to Be a Bitch Without Being a Female Dog
Bitch is a hot-button word, and even though it often refers to females, when we say “hot-button,” we do not mean clitoral. When applied to a human female, bitch can have several different meanings. It’s kind of like Aloha, the Hawaiian word for everything. A compliment and a curse alike, its connotation comes down to intention. Do you own bitch or does someone own you by calling you one? Are you the bitch of bitch? Or is bitch your bitch? Or, most ideally, are you a female dog who can read?
Here we will help you be the best bitch you can be by giving you pointers on how to be a good bitch versus a bad bitch. It’s kind of like The Wizard of Oz with PMDD (that’s premenstrual dysphoric disorder… and if you think PMS is bad, well, she’s worse than the other one was!).Do: Roll your eyes when someone tells you to smile. Don’t: Lick your vagina just because you can. At least, not in public. Do: Give someone the finger when they cut you off on the highway. Don’t: Slam into their car with yours, killing someone in the process. Do: Speak out against sexism whenever you see it. Don’t: Bark about sexism. Do: File your nails when someone’s talking to you. Don’t: File them into points and then stab that person in the neck. Do: Reject an unfit suitor’s advances. Don’t: Hump his leg. Do: Uncross and recross your legs to drive a point home. Don’t: Wear panties when you do this. Do: Eat the last French fry of a shared order. Don’t: Lick it and put it back on the plate. Do: Flip your hair. Don’t: Plant it in someone’s food. Do: Snap your gum. Don’t: Snap bras. Do: Give attitude to TSA agents who are groping you. Don’t: Give rabies to TSA agents who are groping you. Do: Audibly gag whenever the situation calls for it. Don’t: Throw up and eat it. Do: Laugh when someone trips. Don’t: Laugh if they die. Do: Show up your fellow diners by bringing an expensive bottle of wine to a dinner party. Don’t: Leave with it if it hasn’t been opened. Do: Keep your man/partner/roommate on a short leash. Don’t: Let them do the same. Do: Yell back at catcalling construction workers. Don’t: Pee on their scaffolding. Do: Grab the last bathing suit in your size off the rack if you see someone else eyeing it. Don’t: Try it on without underwear and put it back on the rack. Do: Speak openly about your period wherever you damn well please. Don’t: Empty your keeper (or any other reusable device you’re using to collect your menstrual blood) in the sink in a public bathroom, especially if there are other people around. Do: Whatever you need to do to catch a cab during rush hour.
Excerpted from Pot Psychology's How to Be by Tracie Egan Morrissey Copyright © 2012 by Tracie Egan Morrissey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.