>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson
February 10, 2008

Essential New Word of the Week: walletdiet (definition hint: credit card segregation)

As a Canadian, I’ve often had to endure jokes at the expense of my native land. We’re often portrayed as a nation of unsophisticated rubes, and I don’t think we deserve it. Yes, you tend to see a lot of flannel clothing up here, and televised curling continues to draw a captive audience, but in many ways, the Great White North is actually a paradise.

For one thing, the health care system is great. If I get so much as a hangnail, I can have it treated for free by a team of pansy injury specialists. And because crime rates are low, I can drive home from my appointment with very little chance of being shot by PIC-hating extremists. But the best thing about living here might very well be the government’s liberal views on drugs.

Okay, so it’s not exactly Amsterdam. You can’t stroll into the nearest donut store and order a brick of hash with your morning cruller. But for minor transgressions, the law will pretty much look the other way, giving them more time to deal with real problems, like rampaging caribou and maple syrup smuggling rings.

“Why legalize marijuana? It’s taxable, and it sustains the snack food industry.

Of course, police still crack down on large-scale drug operations, and I think I’m grateful for that. I wouldn’t want to live next door to a bunch of manure-caked stoner botanists. And my energy bills are high enough from the construction of Space Laser 6000™ without some grow-op siphoning power from my meter.

I’m not really invested in the issue of drug legislation beyond its effect on our Olympic snowboarding team. But legalization is extremely contentious in some states, where possession is considered a felony, and three strikes will have you snuggling with your cellmate, Bruno, for the rest of your life.

Some authority figure, possibly Moses or Abraham Lincoln, once decided that anything that makes humans feel good should be illegal, including marijuana and/or vibrating crotch panties. I’m sure the lawmakers meant well, but outlawing weed is a ridiculous fantasy. Anyone who wants to score some can do so, often by just hanging around the nearest high school. Of course, that could lead to other legal problems…

For the record, I’m not exactly a marijuana enthusiast—I prefer to get high on God’s love and pizza parties—but I understand why people enjoy weed: it makes you stupidly hilarious and it makes fudge taste doubly awesome. It’s like a glimpse into life as John Belushi and Chris Farley combined, with less risk of a fatal heart attack.

Still, I have friends who enjoy pot. And despite what “Very Special Episodes” of Diff’rent Strokes would have you believe, their use of a recreational drug has not affected me adversely in any way. If anything, their stoned antics have given me a few ideas for my “Word of the Week” schtick. And the government has no right to interfere with your internet amusement.

Believe it or not, the best thing to emerge from the War on Drugs has been the public service announcements. Nancy Reagan and images of frying eggs tried to teach us that drugs would mess up our brains, but that just made a generation of potheads hungry for delicious western omelets.

The public is stupid, but probably not stupid enough to believe that something harmless is going to ruin their health. Especially when this information is coming from the same dark cabal of government scientists that was willing to sell us cigarettes, and then watch from golden Marlboro mansions as we hacked up little brown pieces of lung.

It’s difficult for commercials to admit that pot has no harmful effects, so most producers were shrewd enough to fabricate some. The most common effect of pot, according to the 1980’s medical community, is driving off a cliff. This scenario, while unbelievably retarded, is apparently common enough that PSAs would often re-enact it, complete with awesome Michael Bay explosions.

More recent anti-drug campaigns have phased out the ridiculous threats and focused on the social consequences of getting high: forfeiting education, funding terrorists, and the one that impacts society the most—passing out and being molested at parties. I can’t say if this will reduce drug use among teenage girls, but guys should pay attention: removing an unconscious girl’s bra is hard enough when you’re sober.

The anti-drug camp also loves statistics. According to their totally-not-high scientists, casual dope users are 5 times more likely to try other, harder drugs. But that’s nothing. My own research demonstrates that those same stoners are 9 times more likely to spray aerosol cheese on things no sober person would ever consider eating. Obviously, this is the type of research that needs more funding.

And then there’s the whole issue of medicinal marijuana. I guess the big worry is that some dishonest types will try to cheat the system. But there are a number of people out there who are genuinely sick, not hippies redefining the word “medicinal” for their own late night brownie parties.

It’s not like pot could be prescribed without a confirmed diagnosis, anyway. So I think that if you’re willing to catch a disease in an elaborate plot to score legal weed, you’re entitled to bogart the government’s stash, so to speak. And if the condition you get is terminal, just go ahead and take whatever the hell you want. If smoking dried tiger penis makes you feel better, it should be legalized for you.

There are lots of great reasons to legalize marijuana. For example, it’s taxable, it sustains the snack food industry, and, most importantly, laws against it are humiliatingly impossible to enforce. Unfortunately, all these reasons won’t do potheads any good.

When it comes to the drug issue, the government is like a PMS-ing woman. You can provide dozens of logical reasons why she’s being irrational, but that’s just going to make her more stubbornly determined to get her own way. The government doesn’t care that you can make rope or napkins out of hemp, it just wants to stop retaining water.

I don’t see how anyone can make weed a lifelong cause, anyway. You don’t need a team of mystery-solving musicians to deduce that the folks heading up the campaign to legalize pot also happen to enjoy smoking it. I often wonder why they bother. If they weren’t “activists,” their chances of avoiding arrest would be about the same as their chances of not being hit by lightning.

In other words, it’s ridiculous that the government wants marijuana to be illegal, but it’s even more ridiculous that any potheads can work up the energy to care. If American drug enthusiasts would spend less time writing magazine articles about how great pot is, and more time figuring out how to outwit Dog the Bounty Hunter, legalization would be a moot point, like it is up here.

Essential New Word of the Week:

walletdiet n [‘walIt’dajt]

Life is becoming more complicated. In the past, when I wanted to go out for an evening, all I needed to do was jam twenty bucks and a condom in my back pocket. Nowadays, I have to go through a damn checklist. Credit card, driver’s license, Subway Sandwiches Frequent Customer Card? Check, check, check. Plus debit cards, business cards, membership cards, and maybe even tarot cards.

Eventually, it all becomes too much for my poor wallet to handle. The only solution is to go on a walletdiet. Any nonessential piece of plastic or scrap of paper is quarantined and left behind. My American Gladiators Fan Club card? Won’t be needing that in the near future. That receipt from Chuck E Cheese? I don’t think I can claim it as a business expense anyway. Trust me, the minute your hips are thrown out of alignment from carrying around piles of worthless crap, it’s time for a walletdiet.