The Health Tribunal

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A lesson in peer-group poppycock…

At one time, before my marriage, all my friends were pot-heads, big-time. We had a softball team, and we were always up each other’s noses. We were closer than a chain gang. For me, the one fly in the ointment was their constant insistence that I become a pot-head, too. You never heard such nagging. But if my mother taught me nothing else, she taught me how to hold my ground. The more they nagged me, the less I was inclined to join them.

Then another fad was added to the mix–running. They would all go out running together, and then come back and smoke some more pot. I don’t like to run unless I’ve first hit a ball, so I didn’t join them in that, either. More nagging. Somehow it was expected that we had to do everything together.

Someone got the bright idea that they should set themselves up as a kind of health tribunal, to decide who was fit to be on the softball team. They made a big production of decreeing that if you didn’t run with them, you couldn’t play. This was presented to me as an ultimatum.

My answer was tactful: “If you think I’m going to let a bunch of druggies tell me what is healthy, you’ve damaged your brains.”

I’m afraid this led to a parting of the ways, by and by.

Groups of peers can get kind of peculiar. They can wind up insisting on uniformity. Follies get reworked into rigid standards.

It seems to me like a good thing to avoid.

4 comments on “The Health Tribunal

  1. Sad, but familiar. BTW, many of the “legal pot” businesses in Colorado advertise as being in the business of promoting health. Apparently walking around stoned is healthier than walking around un-stoned. 🙂

    I have to say that your experience is reminiscent of things I’ve experienced myself. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen groups of friends become politicized and break apart. At the end of the day, it was about their use of dope. By not participating you made them feel uncomfortable, even though you were no threat to them whatsoever.

    Years ago, there was a Simpsons episode where Homer wanted to join the “Stonecutters” lodge. When he was a boy, he always felt left out because at one point all the kids in the neighborhood formed the “No Homers Club”, strictly to exclude him. So he became a Stonecutter and came to be heralded as a messianic figure within the lodge. This was great until the guys got tired of him and renamed it the No Homers Club.

    The moral, as I see it, social organizations tend to feed upon their own power to make rules.

  2. Peer groups and clubs, especially in schools, can so easily lead to bullying and downright meanness to any ‘outside the group’. Thankfully, I was never drawn to any such things, and neither were my children. My dad always taught us individuality, which doesn’t mix well with clubs.

    1. Same here. Every time I’ve attempted to be a part of some sort of club or social organization I’ve come away turned off by the politics. It’s a shame, because groups of people have great potential to do good, but such groups seem doomed to political infighting, etc.

    2. The only group I ever joined was Girl Scouts – and that only lasted a few weeks lol

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