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My doctor friend — and his passion for ‘grass’

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Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 12:00 am

"I love grass," said a doctor friend of mine. "There is something about it that brings me peace of mind."

I was quite shocked by his statement. I know this is California, and medical marijuana myths tend to mesmerize the mainstream. But a licensed physician and friend getting high?

"Aren't you worried about losing your Drug Enforcement Agency certificate or medical license with this obsession?" I curiously asked.

"Nah!" he replied. "I'm retired. What do I care about what they do with that bureaucratic paperwork? Now I'm free to do as I please."

We often walk together during the early morning hours. We talk about various topics. However, this subject was really a surprise.

"But, Tim," I enquired. "Don't you realize 'grass,' as you call it, makes coordination difficult and causes short-term memory loss?"

"I don't buy it," he said, as he stumbled slightly with his walking cane. "And besides — eh, er ... what were we just talking about?"

"We were talking about one of your passions — you know, that green stuff that grows in your yard? Aren't you concerned about the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine study, which concluded that this plant may be responsible for the reported increase in testicular cancer?"

"Where do they come up with this stuff?" the good doctor asked. "I don't exactly roll in it! Besides, I lace mine with nitrogen. It really gives it a beautiful boost!"

"But as a physician, you must realize that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons produced by this product are pro-carcinogens. Immune system macrophages and T-cells may be damaged or decreased. Smoke can aggravate emphysema."

"Well, I'm not exactly setting mine on fire!" he answered with a chuckle. "Now, if you're out of negatives, let's go to my house and you can experience exactly what I'm talking about."

I was nervous. I mean, after all these years, I wasn't going to start engaging in an illegal activity — physician's advice or not.

But how would I avoid participation when he felt it was such a blessing to his well-being? I didn't want him to think that I was "chicken" or unwilling to try something new. I certainly didn't want him to perceive my lack of trust, considering his years of experience and judgment.

"I'll just cross that path when we come to it," my thoughts concluded.

Soon, we arrived at the front of his expansive home.

"There, right there!" he boasted. "Isn't that the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? Those nitrogen treatments really make a difference on my lawn!"

"Grass? Nitrogen? You mean you were talking about your lawn?" I questioned with great surprise.

"Well, of course!" he said. "What did you think I was talking about?"

"Well, I thought you meant ... well, I ah ... well, eh ... you know."

"Oh, well, on second thought — never mind."

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.

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