“Whadaya mean, you don’t know if you should try it?” Jack screamed at his father. “Do you know how hard it was for me to get this stuff? Do you have any idea?”
“No,” said his father, who rarely had any ideas.
“Of course not. You think scoring dope with five Secret Service agents tagging along, their crewcuts, white socks, and American flag pins aglow, is easy?”
“I don’t know,” said Jack's father, who didn’t know often, as the Secret Service men blushed.
“Look, Jerry,” Ron said to the President. “If you’re deciding on whether to decriminalize pot, don’t you think you have a responsibility to try it first?”
“I guess so,” guessed the President, who guessed often.
“So what's the problem, then?” demanded Jack.
The President turned red and stammered. “I... I... I’m kind of nervous. What if I flip out? Or become a junkie?”
Ron laughed. “You don’t really believe that, do you? This is marijuana. Haven’t you read all the government reports that say how harmless pot is?”
“You know I can’t read all those big words, Ron.”
“Don’t worry, Dad,” Jack consoled him. “I read all those reports, and pot doesn't have any harmful effects.”
“Jerry, don't worry,” Ron said, taking charge of the situation. “Look, here's what we do. We leave this joint of Colombian on your desk. . .”
“I thought it was pot,” said Jerry.
“Yeah, it's pot. But it's pot that comes from Colombia. So they call it Colombian,” Ron explained to the President.
“I’m so confused,” said the President, who was confused quite a lot. “First you tell me that marijuana is called grass. Then you tell me it's called pot. Then you call it dope. Then Savalos...”
“Sativa.” “Whatever. Now you tell me it's Colombian. Oh, I’m so confused.”
“Don’t worry Jer,” said Ron. “Take it easy. Do what you do best. Don't think about it.”
“OK Ron, you’re the boss,” said the President.
Ron smiled. “Look Jerry, tell you what. We'll all leave and then you can smoke the joint. Then tomorrow you can tell us how it was. And then we'll discuss decriminalization. OK?”
“That sounds good,” said the President. “Then I can’t harm you when I'm under the effects of the drug.”
Jack threw up his hands in disgust. “I give up!” he said.
Jerry got very angry. “Don’t ever give up,” he told his son. “Nobody likes a quitter. Look at President Nixon. He quit before his term was over. That's why no one likes him today.”
“Right, Dad,” said Jack, ignoring his father.
“Lookit, I’m really tired, so I'm just gonna go to bed. Night, Dad.”
“Come on guys. Let's go,” Jack said to his five Secret Service men. The six of them filed out of the room.
“I’m going to go too,” Ron told Jerry.
“You just smoke that joint and get high. And we'll discuss decriminalization in the morning. Goodnight, Mr. President.”
“Tell me about the rabbits, Ron,” pleaded Jerry.
“Tomorrow, Jerry, tomorrow.” After Ron had gone out of the Oval Office, the President put the joint in his mouth and struck a match. When the match burnt his finger, he dropped it into his lap, burnt himself again, and jumped up screaming. After trying three times, the President finally lit up the joint. He took a few easy puffs, to check out the taste. Satisfied that the taste wasn’t horrible, he took deeper and deeper puffs until he had finished the joint. He sat back in his chair and waited for the transformation that the drug would bring on.
“Hey, I’m beginning to feel a little mindless,” thought Jerry, who knew what a little mindlessness felt like. “And relaxed. This is great.”
The President went to pick his nose and ended up poking himself in the eye.
“Well, at least it doesn’t affect my coordination,” he observed.
He finally found his nose and was playing with his snot, giggling, when the door to the Oval Office flew opened. In burst a man, in his sixties, dressed in satin knickers and a frock coat. He was wearing a powdered wig and had wooden teeth in his mouth. He looked surprisingly like George Washington.
An Unexpected Guest
“Surprise!” said George Washington.
Jerry's jaw remained where it was—wide open. He quickly hid the snot behind his ear. He knew who the man in the long-haired powdered wig was, but couldn’t remember his name. There were a lot of things that Jerry couldn’t remember.
“George Harrison!” the President said.
This stopped George in his tracks. “You mean Washington, don'tcha?” he asked.
“Oh right. Right,” said the President. “You’re the guy on the five dollar bill.”
“Whatever you say, George. You're the boss,” said the President. “What can I do for you?”
“Well,” said George, taking a seat and facing the President. “I wanted to talk to you about legalizing hemp, but,” George sniffed the air in the office and a slight smile crept onto his face, “My nose tells me that I don't have to convince you to do it.”
“The nose knows,” laughed Jerry. He fell out of his chair, which he did often, and lay on the floor of the Oval Office laughing hysterically at his own joke. George Washington rolled his eyes and looked heavenward.
Slowly, Jerry stopped laughing and climbed up into his chair. He wiped the laugh tears from his eyes and said to George, “You want me to legalize hemp? Sure, why not? For you, anything.” The President paused, narrowed his eyes toward the Father of his country, and asked in a hushed tone, "Er, George, what's hemp?”
George was taken a little aback by the President’s ignorance.
“You know, Jerry. That stuff you were just smoking.”
“I was smoking pot, George,” the President confided.
"Er, right,” George said as he eyed the President suspiciously. “Hemp is pot, Jerry,” he explained. Jerry got visibly upset.
“Great,” he said, trying to throw his hands up in dismay. He only succeeded in throwing one hand up in the air. He hit himself in the jaw with the other one.
“Great, just great. Now that's another word I’ve got to learn. My job isn't hard enough as it is, but I’ve got to go around improving my mind.”
“Calm down, Jer,” advised George. “Look, if it'll help you, I'll call it pot from now on. OK?”
“Thanks, George,” said Jerry, “you're doing me a favor. Now I don’t have to use my brain.” The President had a satisfied grin on his face.
If We All Had a Bong, We’d All Get Along
“Tell me, George,” the President asked, “why do you want me to legalize pot?”
“Well, Jer, first of all, it makes you feel good. Right? You just smoked some pot. How do you feel?”
“Great,” and to prove it he went into an impromptu tap dance, accidentally smashing his heel down on George’s instep.
“Sorry,” said Jerry, who said “sorry” quite a bit.
George shook off the pain and continued.
“You feel good, and there are no harmful effects. Right? So why should it be against the law?”
“Good points.” Jerry paused, “I think. Well, maybe they’re not. I'm not sure.” He paused again. “Say, how do you know so much about pot?”
“I smoke it,” replied George.
“You smoke pot?” the President ex-
claimed. “I can’t believe it! No president ever smoked pot.”
It was George's turn to be surprised. “You actually believe that no president ever smoked pot? Are you serious?” he asked Jerry.
“That's right. They never said that presidents smoked pot in history
books. Why would they lie?” Jerry folded his arms across his chest in a “so-there” attitude.
“But Jerry, the history books say that they smoked. Well, sort of.”
Not surprisingly, Jerry was very confused. “I’m very confused,” said the President.
George came up with the remedy. “What you need is a short course in the role that pot played in this great nation of ours.”
“I do?” asked Jerry.
“You do. And I’m going to give it to you.”
“Oh goody!” exclaimed the President.
“Look Jerry,” explained the first Commander-In-Chief, “I was the first president, and I smoked pot. I even grew it on my land. Acres and acres of hemp...”
“You said I didn’t have to know that word!” Jerry shouted accusingly. “You lied!”
“All right, calm down,” hushed George. “I mean I grew acres and acres of pot.” George checked to see if Jerry understood. He seemed to be following. George decided to go on.
“In fact, that's what the Boston Tea Party was all about. History books teach us that it was the tea we drink that was tossed overboard.”
Jerry's face still showed the strain of concentrating, so George continued.
“Actually, it was pot that we tossed overboard. We did this to protest the taxing of our pot by the British. They called it a tea party because that's another name for pot...” The President started to get excited, and his mouth started moving as though he were about to say something, but only unintelligible sounds came out.
“Now don’t worry, Jerry. You don’t have to learn this other word for pot.” George eased the President back into his seat. The Chief Executive seemed to have calmed down.
“I just mention it in passing. Pot used to be called tea and that's why we called it the Boston Tea Party.” George shot the President a glance. “Jerry, do you know what war was started because of the Boston Tea Party?”
Jerry clapped his hands together excitedly, shook his head affirmatively, and giggled, happy at knowing the anSwer.
“The Bicentennial War,” he said triumphantly.
“No, Jerry,” George corrected him gently. “It’s called the Revolutionary War.”
“Oh,” said Jerry, heartbroken. “And what document did the revolutionaries sign on July 4, 1776?” George was enjoying his role as teacher.
“The Declaration of Independence?” Jerry questioned.
“Right,” congratulated George. “And did you know that every one of those who signed the Declaration got high?"
“No. Really?” Jerry was amazed at this bit of information. Jerry was amazed at a good deal of information.
“Yup. And John Hancock was stoned out of his gourd when he signed it. That's why he signed it so big.”
“Really?” asked Jerry.
“Yes,” confirmed George, who was really getting into the role of teacher. “And I'll tell you something else you didn't know. Thomas Jefferson also got high. He had a h... er, pot farm just like me. And when he was President he made the Lousiana Purchase. Do you know why?”
“No,” said Jerry, who rarely knew why.
“Well, it was because Lewis and Clark had come back from exploring that area and told him of fields of pot miles and miles square.”
“Wow!” said Jerry.
“That's right,” said George, goofing on the President. “And Thomas Jefferson was so thankful to Lewis and Clark that he made them V.I.P.'s. He even named his favorite munchie after Clark—the Clark bar.”
“Tell me more history, George.”
“Well, you remember Teddy Roosevelt, don't you?" he asked Jerry.
“I think so.”
“He said 'Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Well, a stick was what they called a joint in those days. Old Rough and Ready...”
“Teddy Roosevelt. Anyway, he loved to get really high. And he would just sit there and mumble to himself. And he also carried some pot. So that's how the saying came to be.”
“Remarkable,” Jerry said, very impressed. It wasn't hard for Jerry to be very impressed.
“And do you remember the Tea Pot Dome scandal? Well, what do you think it was about? Pot."
“Wow!” said Jerry. “Did President Nixon get high, too?”
“No, no. In fact, he was one of the few Presidents who didn’t. All the great ones did. He was paranoid enough already.” George was running out of gas. It had been a two-hour history lesson, in which they had gotten high another two times. George finished up.
“You know, Jerry. I’m glad we had this talk. I think now you can see how great pot is.”
“I do, George, I do,” said Jerry enthusiastically. “What did you say I should do?”
“You should legalize it, Jerry. Then the whole country will be able to get high and do all kinds of great things.”
“Yeah, I think you're right, George,” said the President, making his first judgment in over five years. “In fact, I know you're right. I'm going to legalize it.” And Jerry pounded the desk decisively, something he hadn't done in fifteen years.
“Way to go, Jerry,” said George as he went out the Oval Office door. “Keep up the good work.” And he gave Jerry the clenched fist salute.
“Right on!” shouted the President, returning the salute.
A Metaphorical Awakening
Ron Nessen ran into the Oval Office. He had been awakened by a phone call from the President. Usually, he would have told Jerry to fuck off, but the President's tone was different, very sure of himself—in fact, demanding Ron to come to the office. Ron had to see what was up.
When he got to the office he saw the President. He was on two phones at once. And he was smoking a joint.
“Sit down, Ron,” the President commanded. “Be with you in a second.”
Jerry spoke into the phone on his left. “Goddamn it, Earl, shut up. I said no more deals with Russia unless we get something out of it. That's final.” He slammed the phone down. “Asshole,” he mumbled to himself.
The President turned his attention to the right phone. “Well, Willie baby. If you don’t come up with an economical solution in two days, it's your ass. I don't give a shit if the oil boys scream bloody murder. Tell them we’ll nationalize them. That oughta scare them into cooperating. Goodbye.” He hung up the other phone.
As Jerry turned his attention to Ron, Ron quivered. He had never seen the President like this—strong, sure of himself. No longer the bumbling fool. Jerry took two puffs on his joint and said to Ron, “Release a statement saying I want pot legalized. And get me some more of this stuff.” He offered the joint to Ron, who took it. Ron was cool because he had been on a hip television show, so he knew all about pot.
“And get that German asshole in here,” Jerry said to Ron, as Ron was joking. “I want to fire him. Now move!”
Ron jumped up and handed the jay back to the President.
“Yes sir,” he said, as he made tracks for the door.
“And Ron, one more thing,” Jerry called after him.
“Try not to get burnt, willya?”