Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comedian, takes the edge off of the world and explains all those unexplained things in a way that will make you either laugh or cry.

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Your Kid on Drugs (March 3, 2010)

I was on the phone the other day to Daddio Robbo talking about the rash of elementary school bake-outs popping up more and more here every day in the Bay Area. In the last two weeks, some misguided grade-schooled Timothy Leary wanna-bes, have brought either magic brownies to school or as Robbo pointed, the other day a kid brought Fruity Pebbles laced with some weed-like substance. I laughed about all the kids in the nurse’s office starring at their hands or having some Harry Potter freak out scene with wands and witches dancing while a concern teacher is probing, “Dylan, Dylan, can you tell us what you ingested?”. Yeah as I said, I laughed about this, Robbo didn’t.

Robbo has kids and I don’t.

I don’t know what it is about getting older but it’s like your friend’s kids never age. Point in fact...

Both of us started telling war stories of growing up and hiding our usage and Weed from our parents. My experience was a little different in that my parents allowed me to smoke Weed at home. From the time I was in high school until I moved out, I smoked Weed at my parent’s house. We had the original “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. They didn’t ask and I didn’t tell them what that funny smell was all about. When I absently left a baggie in my dirty jeans before me mom would wash the Levis, she’d save my stash instead of soaking it as a lesson. Uh-uh, I’d come home and fine a perfectly rolled up sandwich bag on my pillow like a gift from tokin’ Tooth Fairy.

Robbo related a similar story about his wife finding a bag of Weed belonging to their son while doing the wash.

I said, “What did you do?”

Robbo replied, “Dude, he’s in college. He was home for the weekend from Stanford. I did what any responsible father would do. I took a pinch to see what the quality of his Weed is like, and told him I’ll give this back to you after your Mother and I talk about what we should do about this.”

“What did he say to that?”

“I don’t think there was enough for him to worry about. Besides, I don’t think he smokes the way we did growing up. Plus he’s in college. As soon as he gets back to his place I’m sure his roommate has a stash or in the South Bay, I think you can get a little something to tide you over from the Guidance Counselor.”

“It sure is different from when we were kids,” I remarked shaking my head on my side of the phone. “What about your other son? Does he smoke?”

“He’s in the 10th grade...”

“Okay,” I asked again. “Does he inhale?”

Robbo thought for a second. “He doesn’t show any signs of getting high and the wife has never found a pipe or baggie like what has happen with the older one.”

“Have you ever had a drug talk with your kids?” I inquired.

“Not really, a little in conversations but not like the Birds and Bees-After-School Special kind of moment.”

“Would you tell your kids that you smoke?”

“No,” Robbo said without hesitation.

I really thought that was weird. Why lie? Why not tell the kids the truth and let them decide. Give them the power to decide and choose. The thoughts of kid power were snow-balling in my head. I was deducing and contriving every possible scenario of how life could be better if we were more honest with our kids. I was starting to think Daddio Robbo was just like the parents I grew up with. Punishing the kids for the same behavior they do behind closed doors. Just another hypocrite.

“For me this has always been the thing for me in terms of my kids and my drug usage,” Robbo cleared his throat like Robert Young getting ready to tell Kitten her connect called and she’s not getting any Brown tonight. “See Man...Drugs are illegal. Booze is not. And it’s that simple. However honest I want to be with my kids, I’m not just talking to them, but to their friends too.”


“Okay. If I bring out bottle after bottle of wine with dinner, the kids think nothing of it and we talk about the weather, the Giants, whatever...But say I pull out the bong and hit on that bad boy while discussing Jerry Brown’s run for governor, you never know what could happen. One of my younger boy’s friend’s parents could call and ask if I really did smoke Marijuana in front of my child. Then rumors start and pretty soon my son is Carlos Medellin dealing pills to football players or other such garbage. As long as Weed is illegal, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

 I felt silly for doubting Robbo or thinking ill of him. I’m not a parent and sometimes it’s hard to remember that my free way of thinking has some major ramifications.

I thanked Robbo for the enlightenment and we hung up.


It’s all Changing...

It’s all Happening...


The Weed is stronger these days. You always heard stories of some bad boy spiking the punch at the school dance with vodka and then later LSD. Kids have always brought the outside to inside, to show off, to be cool. When I was in school, guys had huge bongs in the cars. Four foot high bongs! This Godzilla-like smoke machine shouldn’t have left the rumpus room. As much as things stay the same, we’re always evolving and growing. At least I hope so. But the Weed is stronger. We had magic brownies. Kids today have Kush crème brulee with a perfect Afgani Hash hard-shell frosting. It’s the same but in a nice, stronger package.

I have no idea what I would say to kids these days about Weed. Where do you start? Not to make the same mistakes you made? To enjoy your time and don’t feel guilty. Don’t get high if you really don’t want to?

I think this is what I would say...

There’s this thing called Marijuana. It is a weed that can be grown almost anywhere in the world. It was legal until 1937 of the last century. Here’s the deal kid...

Life is good but it isn’t fair. TV, books, and movies can take you to another place. The Grand Canyon is one of the most awesome, beautiful places in the world. All the above can be made to seem better when you smoke Marijuana. Marijuana gives you a false sense of euphoria, happiness. Even with sadness, you might break out into laughter. As real as the joint or pipe is in your hands, that feeling isn’t. That feeling of being high is going to last as long as the drug itself last inside of you. The problem is keeping that feeling going. What happens when you need to get high? Will you be honest with yourself and being able to stop if you don’t want to? Or will you be an addict and search out for something that you can’t find sober inside of yourself? See the really problem with Weed. It’s really good. It makes you feel really good. If Life is rough, it mellows it out. The secret is, knowing when you really want it and when you don’t. And the worst thing is when you’re really in pain. When Life is collapsing around you. There’s violence and outrageous behavior being flung at you and near you. You want to escape.

See the really problem with drugs is they make you feel good. They change your mood.

I think my problem growing up was I didn’t trust the moods of anyone around me to want bad enough what they had. My parents, my teachers, Society, all said that drugs were bad. But when I tried them they were good. Of course, everything in the beginning is usually okay for you. It’s only when it becomes excessive. By the time my drug use became excessive, there was no one I trusted to tell me there was another way. And most of my friends thought the same way. Drugs made us a band of merry men and women. It separated us from those who were uncool and harsh. When someone says something is bad for you but all the data says different, especially when it helps you to get laid, there is a language and behavior barrier that is hard to transgress. As a kid the only person I would believe is someone who was coming from a place close to mine.

And now we enter the World of Pot 2.0. Weed going to be legal soon and we’re going to have a new dialogue to start and learn from. Do I need to remind you? The Weed is a lot stronger these days...

More Later...    



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Reader Comments (2)

Hey Jack,
This is one of those situations that I have been mulling around a bit. I don't have kids but I have a brother who is 13. I am 34 and recently started smoking weed again after 15ish years. It is funny how Colorado's laws and years of growing up can change someone's viewpoint, but I suppose that that is a story for another day.

In the case of my younger brother or my own kids, they would get in trouble for smoking as much as they would if they got caught drinking. I just don't think kids should be messing about with mind altering substances. I complain about the 21 year old drinking age as a bit draconian and think that 3.2 laws should be brought back but ultimately teens shouldn't be using stuff like ethanol or THC.

That said, they are going to do it. I did and though I made some serious missteps, I turned out OK. Others didn't. In the biggest sense, these things won't get you in big trouble with me but I won't share or consume with or in other ways make it permissible until you are of legal drinking age or can legally get yourself a medical card. I also worry because marijuana laws are a bit nastier than those for drinking. If my brother got busted for a bag here in Denver, he will get a simple fine if anything and I would probably make fun of him and tell him not to fuck up again. If he got busted in South Dakota, things could be a lot worse and it would not be funny in the least.

In my mind, and I do really remember what it was like to be a teenager, teens are dumb enough as it is. Even the smart ones. You need to be honest with your kids but they also need someone to watch out for them even if we are doing it behind their backs.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Hey Chris,

I totally agree with you. I have a 23 yr old step-daughter. I want to be honest with her and at the same time I don't want her to make the mistakes I've made. I want to watch out for her yet I do trust her to make her own decisions. It's hard deal...

I thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comments. And of course, thanks for checking this out.


December 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjack

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