Smart v. Stupid
A marijuana policy that will blow your mind
Some jobs are done better if the worker is stoned. There I said it. Today— in an era when “fun suckers” are draining all the life out of life—the idea sounds crazy. I know. But suspend your governmentally promoted disbelief for just a moment.
Take, for example, the detailers at any full service carwash. If you’re like me, you’re willing to pay two or three times as much to get your car washed at the full-service instead of using the gas station drive-thru. This is true even though it takes five times longer.
The key difference is the man or woman who finishes the job. The work is backbreaking and labor intensive. It involves bending, contorting, repetitive-motion, squatting and working quickly. In other words, it’s a boring job that brutalizes the body. At the carwash in my neighborhood, the detailers are all happy and Hispanic, but they might just as easily be from any ethnic group. In the cult film of the same name, they were mostly black. In Iowa, I’m pretty sure they’d be all white, though I haven’t had my car washed there yet.
Even outside of Hollywood, carwash detailers are mostly all stoned. Not just a little buzzed, mind you, but fully blazed.
How do I know? Well, I grew up in the 70s and let’s just say that my Ganja-dar is easily as good as your Gay-dar. I can tell you if your teenage son is stoned from across the room. (He is, by the way. But odds are he’ll have a very successful life and career anyway.) Plus, I’ve asked—in that wink-nod way that all hippie-era kids know about. Zorked; trust me.
I can probably tell you if your son is gay too. It’s a talent. Really though, who cares? But I digress….
Carwash detailers do a really great job in what seems like a really crummy occupation. It’s the kind of performance that you are happy to plunk down a tip for. So looking at it purely from the perspective of observable evidence, being stoned certainly doesn’t hurt their performance. More study is needed, I think.
The stoner-service experience is entirely different at my local pizza joint (no pun intended) where everyone is regularly blasted. (Again, I used ganja-dar and wink-nod.) That place is dirty, the pizzas don’t get made in order, and the pies are often wrong or forgotten. Typically one or another worker is sporting evidence of a workplace injury, like a large bandage made of napkins. I don’t even go there anymore.
We shouldn’t imagine that all drugs might have some sort of upside. Some drugs are just bad. Years ago I worked in the warehouse of that major toy retailer. Their most productive pull-and-ship guy was a meth-head whose nickname was (no kidding) “Speed.” His bosses knew about his amphetamine use, but they were thrilled by his job performance. The rest of us worked at human pace, stretching our ten minute breaks to twelve just to get in another hand of Tonk. But Speed never took a break, not even for lunch. You can see why the military would flirt with amphetamines from time to time. But I digress. Again….
Obviously, being stoned isn’t even an advantage for every job. Marijuana is a terrible choice if you’re planning to commit an assault, engage in domestic violence, or get kicked out of a bar. It is just too darn hard to work up the requisite blind-stupid anger when one is stoned. If you’re already drunk, you can get stoned without becoming non-violent. Otherwise, don’t even bother attempting a crime of violence.
For other jobs, it simply isn’t safe to do them when stoned. Take police work, for example. You might want that officer to be buzzed when he or she is deciding whether to give you a ticket. After all, there are just so many boxes on that form, dude. But you wouldn’t want Officer Giggleweed to be toked up when pulling in behind you, would you? Let’s keep those braking reflexes in top form OK?
In the end, I’m left to wonder what other jobs could be improved by the reefer. Over the last 50 years, all of our federal research money has been spent on trying to find out what’s harmful about the plant. That got us pretty much nowhere. So let’s spend some green on finding out what pot is good for.
If I were allocating our marijuana research dollar, I’d investigate the effect of marijuana on these occupations:
- National Parks guide
- Circuit board assembly technician
- Theme park character
- Museum docent
- Wal-Mart greeter
Now that would be one heck of a government study.
Jimmy Zuma splits his time between Washington, D.C. and Tucson. He writes the online opinion journal, Smart v. Stupid. He spent 5 years in Tucson in the early ‘80s, when life was a little slower, swamp coolers were a little more plentiful, Tucson’s legendary music scene was in full bloom, and the prevailing work ethic was “don’t - unless you have to.”