Note: This post has been split into two parts to prevent reading fatigue.
“Where’d you learn that, Cheech? Drug School?”
Trooper Rodney Farva
Part 4 of 4.5. In which dirty deals are done, the author gains a new alma mater, and some weed is consumed.
If you’re coming to us late, be sure to check out the previous three installments in this series, Don’t Forget To Hurt, So Much Love To Share and I’m Tardsie, And I’m An Alcoholic Apparently, so you don’t feel all left out.
The prosecution had nothing on me and they knew it.¹ They’d chosen to be vindictive in light of my juvenile criminal record, believing incorrectly that some combination of distance, fatigue or finances would wear me down. Now, after three court appearances over five grueling months, they were throwing in the towel. But not without a last, teensy-weensy Fuck You! to remember them by: the charges would be dropped, provided that I attend drug school.
This experience proved to be vastly different from previous attempts to fix me, not least in that it proved worthwhile in its own regard, and not simply as fodder for funny stories to be told and retold throughout the years. A great many years had passed since the events related in previous installments of this series, and the nascent human being I had been in those dark times–soft, directionless and vulnerable–was gone, replaced by a new creature, one who had begun to understand himself and what he stood for, one who was not so easily cowed or willing to give away that which was so hard-won, and who would prove to be the not-so-distant forbear of the man I am today.
I was angry–angry for being put in this position. Like envy or honest pain, anger is an emotion which has of late come into general disfavor. Being consumed by anger to the point where it, rather than conscious decision, rules your life is undoubtedly a very bad thing; anger is a terrible master, as untold deaths throughout the span of human history will attest. But when it is the wheel rather than the engine, anger is a powerful servant. My outrage gave me the tenacity to push back ferociously against an overzealous prosecutor. Such was my exasperation over the final agreement that I was determined to get the last laugh. They wanted to send me to drug school? I resolved to spit in their faces by learning something.
There were a variety of drug schools throughout the Puget Sound from which to choose. As has been my way with virtually all of my educational decisions, I didn’t put much thought into it, and picked a school in a run-down neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington not too far from where I’d gone to high school. There were several eight-hour classes scheduled every month, but I chose a private class. It cost a bit more, but I could do it the next day and without a peer-group that represented a rancid smorgasbord of wretched humanity. Most critically, I guessed that without a retinue of stoned mouth-breathers to dumb up the class, I’d be gone from there a long time before eight hours passed.
Not wanting to be late, I arrived at drug school well before the 9:00 AM start time. Nobody had arrived yet, so I parked at the McDonald’s across the street and got high.