Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's one way to waste a life?

I came upon a site listing "40 questions you're afraid to ask?"  This question about wasting a life is number 40, and is a question that I have asked myself.

My answer is, predictably, drugs.

And that includes marijuana.  When I lived in California, some 35 years ago, pot was everywhere even then.  You could smell it in the park, in theaters, in the grocery store, everywhere.  One of the people in the lab where I worked was a graduate student in endocrinology, a very very bright guy.  He smoked pot all the time, I think in place of eating(!), and he was a very unflappable, mellow, helpful student, but he couldn't finish anything.  He would, I don't know, lose enthusiasm?  Or maybe just lose track of where he needed to continue?  Despite being well spoken, smart, likable, he never finished his degree, and finally got a position as a salesman for (wait for it!) a drug company!  I think of him now and again and wonder if he married and had kids, and if so, what he told them about pot.  Did they smoke while driving, like he did?

But you have only to look to Hollywood to see the mess drugs make of talent.  Look at Whitney Houston for example.  All that power, beauty, money, gone for coke and heroin.  Or what about Elvis - fighting the battle against age that no one wins, taking prescription meds to get through a single day.  Or thousands more in Hollywood like these two, all stumbling over the same roadblock.  Do we ask too much of them, to be "on" constantly?  Do they fear failure so acutely?  Is it just part of society now, too easy to get and too easy to dismiss the risks?  Do they too support legalization?

See how one question begets a host of other questions...

I know there are other ways to waste a life, maybe drinking is the closest to drugs; in a way it is worse because social drinking is OK.   But laziness alone will waste a life just as easy as drugs or liquor, and so will fear of making the wrong decision, and so not making any decision at all.  Or leaving the decision up to someone else, spouse, parent, teacher, church, all of these and more.  A sad waste of a life.

On a more cheerful note, today's bumper sticker for the day:  "I'll grow my own food when I can find bacon seeds."

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