I know nothing about Barney Frank, except for what Wikipedia filled in for me. But today, a New York Times story about Frank was on Reddit, and due to the fact that a quarter-million people had commented on it, I figured I’d give it a read.
It got me thinking about fatherhood, where I’m now working, and why I’m no longer keeping my new job a total secret.
The most relevant part of the NYT story was an exchange between Barney Frank and NYT writer Andrew Goldman:
Goldman: You’ve long argued for the decriminalization of marijuana. Do you smoke weed?
Goldman: Why not?
Frank: Why do you ask a question, then act surprised when I give an answer? Do you think I lie to people?
Goldman: I thought you might explain why you support decriminalizing it but don’t smoke it.
Frank: Do you think I’ve ever had an abortion? I don’t play poker on the Internet, either.
This got me thinking. First, about fatherhood. As a father, it’s my job to steer my kid in the right direction. And some day, I’m going to have probably a couple hundred conversations where my smart-ass kid will try to back me into a corner about something I do, support, or don’t support. I’m sure that with the fury of Alex P. Keaton, someday, my kid will attack me for enjoying a beer, buying-and-therefore-supporting hormone-injected beef, or maybe, for working at a marijuana magazine.
So, I’m not hiding the fact that I now work for a magazine and website dedicated to the legalization of marijuana. Oh, you thought I’d say that I’m smoking that stuff? Nah. Not interested. About a week into my unemployment, I had interviewed for a job doing social media and some writing for this company as they transition from a print magazine to a web-and-app format – and it just so happened that their topic is the legalization of marijuana. At first, I thought about how it’d effect my writing here. Would people find out and accuse me of somehow endangering my child? Would someone uncover the grand illusion of my poorly-disguised pseudonym and stop reading my fatherhood writing because I also write about cannabis industry lawsuits?
Who knows. That’s why I hadn’t told many people who I was working for, hadn’t updated my LinkedIn profile, and used a pseudonym for my writing at the new job. What I forgot, and what Barney Frank reminded me, was that just because I’m writing about the decriminalization of marijuana doesn’t mean I’m at home smoking it around my kid. Hell, I’m not even smoking it away from my kid.
Here’s a related topic about it: My wife has Multiple Sclerosis – and some of the things I’ve read in my new line of work sound promising for her illness. And, being that we’re California residents, she’s able to be prescribed cannabis to treat some of her symptoms. If you’ve ever had a major surgery or have some sort of chronic (no pun intended) condition, you know that the pharmaceutical industry loves to prescribe drug after drug. My wife has had trouble sleeping as somewhat of a symptom of her Multiple Sclerosis. Lack of sleep stresses you out, stress gives you insomnia, and sufferers of MS (as well as their doctors) will tell you that stress and insomnia cause MS “attacks.” These attacks effect my wife’s arms and legs; her hands get shaky, her legs get wobbly. Then, of course, she gets depressed. Rinse, repeat. If it gets worse, she gets double-vision. So, she’s tried twenty-or-so over-the-counter and prescribed sleep aids.
None worked. Well, except for low-dose cannabis drink.
I did some reading, and there seems to be a lot of positive literature surrounding the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis with “cannabis-infused edibles.” That’s industry-speak for “pot brownies.” But what my wife tried, and what’s worked the few times she’s tried it, has been a Cannaba brand drink. Imagine a peach Snapple that smells like college. What my wife says – and I’d have to take her word, since I haven’t tried it myself – is that it helped her sleep. Not only that, but it didn’t hinder her from waking up – which is the downside to sleep aids like Lunesta or Unisom. She has only tried the drink a couple of times, but plans on getting more. She would never drink it during the day or around our child. Her plan is to use it as a sleep aid when needed, and only after our son is in bed. Also, thanks to California state law, it’s legal for her to purchase these drinks – so my wife doesn’t have to feel like a criminal for getting a good night’s sleep.
Without me going too far into that whole universe, let’s re-iterate. Yes! I now work and write for a publication focused around the legalization of marijuana. No! I don’t smoke. I believe in a legalized and regulated system for medical cannabis – one that California is only partially-providing. Someday, maybe my kid will give me crap for working at a marijuana magazine while I’m flushing his bag of weed down the toilet. That’s possible. And if he can’t produce a doctor’s note saying that he has a medical need for it, down the toilet it goes.
In any event – here I am: Zach Rosenberg, fatherhood writer, social media manager, medical marijuana writer. Right now, this is my industry, and I support it. I also, like Barney Frank said, have never had an abortion, but I will defend a woman’s right to have one if she needs it. Coincidentally, I also believe in having an Army but I hope beyond hope that I never have to actively serve in it. Mainly because I’m terrified of guns. And push-ups.
Not-Really-Kind-of Related: Someday, though certainly not today because you’re reading 8BitDad and that takes forever, check out Ron Mattocks’ discussion on “Parents Who Use Drugs“. It’s on Babble’s Dadding blog, which is kind of like our dad-site-nemesis. Mattocks goes into the topic of whether or not you should tell your kids you’ve used drugs, and how you explain the grey areas around drugs and alcohol to a kid learning about them with black-and-white vigor in school. Best comment on Mattocks’ article – a chap named The Muskrat, who said “I plan to lie about that stuff. It’s like Santa.”