Marijuana. Mary Jane. Reefer. No matter what you choose to call it, I have never been able to smoke pot. What for some people seems to be a relaxed good time has always been for me a paranoid journey to the center of my mind, where I sit shivering in a cerebral corner, wondering if I’ll ever be able to think normally again.

In college, I reluctantly got stoned with the happy party people around me. Most of these attempts ended with me feeling lost, floating in the universe, indefinitely wondering whether or not I had to pee. Time crawled by thick as resin as I tried to decide if I looked as crazy on the outside as I felt on the inside. If I was lucky, I found a bed to pass out in, mercifully ending my hyper-analytical mental anguish.

It seems like a wonderful ride for most, so for years I tried to stay on the bucking bronco of marijuana before permanently passing the reins to the other space cowboys. Abstaining from pot, combined with my love of exercising and rising early, eventually conspired to make me the least rock and roll chick to ever play guitar in a band. I am decidedly not cool; I’ve made my peace with this fact.

Throughout high school, however, I was still trying to smoke the stuff. My older sister and I would sometimes hide behind one of the many outbuildings on our farm to do it. We’d sit in the grass, leaning against the hay barn; two teenage girls smiling into the summery blue Missouri sky, giggling about nothing and everything. When my parents took the family to Disneyland, she and I got stoned in the It’s a Small World ride. It was there I learned that hundreds of creepy animatronic children singing a repetitive song about the world closing in on me do nothing to ease my pot smoking paranoia. Noted.

On family vacation in Las Vegas that summer, my sister and I quickly tired of the little kid games inside of Circus Circus where we were staying. There were only so many stuffed animals a teenager wanted to win. Bored and seeking fresh entertainment, we left the pink ponies and casino to walk the streets of Sin City. Ducking into an alley, we decided to make our stroll more interesting by smoking a joint she had brought along. Standing next to a ten-foot-high concrete block fence for privacy, by the dirt road that ran between buildings on either side of us, we proceeded to smoke marijuana.

We’d taken a few tokes and I was just starting to feel blurry when a car turned quickly into the alley, about fifty feet away. I brought the joint down from my mouth and held it at my side. I was hoping that the person turning into the alley would think I was only smoking a cigarette, stupidly forgetting that as a non-smoker I looked awkward smoking anything I tried. As the dark blue car drove by and I clumsily passed the joint, we realized in our dulled awareness that it was an unmarked police vehicle. So of course we did the worst thing possible. We panicked.

“That was a cop!” she squeaked as he drove past.

Get rid of it. Get rid of it. Get rid of it,” I whisper-screamed at her.

She frantically tried to toss the joint over the wall next to us. It backed up to a neighborhood, so there was no convenient way around to retrieve the contraband. If we could just get it over the wall, it would be out of sight and virtually unreachable.

My sister has always been petite, and she was unable to throw it over the high fence. The joint bounced off of the wall, rolling futilely back toward us on the dusty ground. We jumped away in fear, as if it was a spider. I grabbed it out of the sand where it sat mocking me like a turd in a litter box and tried to clear the concrete wall again. I’m taller at 5’9″ with greater reach, and it went over this time.

This all happened in the span of a few seconds, so before we could feel relief to have ditched the incriminating evidence, we saw brake lights. No doubt tipped off by our frantic chicken-like scrabbling and obviously guilty behavior, the officer turned around and drove back in our direction while we watched in mute terror. There was nowhere to run, as we were trapped in an alley and didn’t know the area. We both turned our nothing-to-see-here knobs up to eleven, and then he was getting out of the car. Meanwhile, the pot we’d smoked was the kind that creeps up on you, and I was feeling exponentially freaked out by the second. I quickly realized an intimidating police officer was even more paranoia-inducing than soulless puppet children singing at me en masse. My world of hope was quickly becoming a world of fear.

“Did I just see you two girls smoking a joint?” the officer demanded.

It was do or die time. Time to sell it like I’d never sold it before. If we got busted by this cop for pot, there would be no end to the trouble we’d get in. We’d be grounded until I started college for this one, and rightly so. We’d fucked up, big time. I summoned every bit of acting ability I had in my dumb fifteen-year-old body, and tried to push the part of me growing fuzzy from the drugs to the back, working hard for a moment of ass-saving clarity. I put on my best shocked and appalled face at the mention of pot, because pot was awful, and oh my gosh, how could anyone think I’d been smoking pot?

“No officer! I would never smoke pot. But I was trying to smoke a cigarette,” I replied, shame dripping from my voice, eyes cast downward in good girl humiliation. “It was the first time I’ve ever tried it and I didn’t even like it. It was so gross!”

“It looked like a joint to me, whatever you threw over that wall, young lady. If I drive both of you around to the other side, are we gonna find marijuana? Do you think your parents are gonna enjoy having to come pick you up from jail today?”

Shit. If I didn’t pull this off, we were going to end up in a cell, the weak teenage bitches of hardened Las Vegas prostitutes. I silently hoped my prison mistress would at least have a heart of gold. In full self-preservation mode, I quickly realized that my best psychological tactic would be to act so distraught about being caught smoking a cigarette that the pot thing would be downplayed. If I seemed truly disgusted about the cigarette, he might believe me innocent of the worse crime.

“Oh no, please, don’t tell my parents I was smoking a cigarette! They’ll be so mad at me because they hate smoking! This was the first time I’ve ever tried it and I thought it was so nasty. I’m never gonna smoke a cigarette again, I swear it,” I pleaded.

He asked again that if he went to the dreaded other side of the wall, would there be marijuana waiting? I repeated the Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Tried a Cigarette monologue, as if he hadn’t mentioned pot at all. I was working it. Totally owning it. I had the big, tear-filled eyes and the quivering lip; I epitomized the scared young girl gone astray. I was a living, breathing After School Special, begging for a second chance. Before I knew it, even I believed my lies. I was the innocent babe trying those yucky gosh darned cigarettes for the first time. And please don’t tell my parents I was smoking a cigarette, yes cigarette, can I say cigarette one more time? Because it was a cigarette and totally not marijuana, you know. Cough-cigarette-cough.

It finally worked. I couldn’t believe it, but it worked. The officer admonished us one last time with some sort of you kids stay out of trouble speech, got in his car, and drove away. Chastened and shaking like rabbits unexpectedly released from a snare trap, we headed back to the hotel, officially ending our stint as teenage streetwalkers. We walked dazed and confused into the pink nightmare of Circus Circus. Sad clowns and desperate elderly gamblers were definitely preferable to horrified flop sweat and handcuffs.

I never really gave myself much credit for my actions that day, always assuming the cop took pity on me, or had bigger fish to fry. But recently my mom mentioned to me that my sister had told her about the incident. I’m old enough now that my mom has heard most of my naughty stories, and I can only be grounded by myself, so this didn’t bother me. What shocked me was that my sister said my performance for the officer was amazing. She was blown away by my acting ability, and gave me full props for getting us out of what might have been the only arrest of our lives.

She also told my mother, “After I saw Tawni lie so convincingly that day, I knew I could never trust her again!”


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TAWNI FREELAND played guitar and sang for rock bands in Lawrence, Kansas and Los Angeles before settling down in Tulsa. She is working on her first novel. She has no exotic pets.

83 responses to “Best Actress”

  1. Matt says:

    Well I think you’re cool.

    I kind of doubt you would’ve actually gotten busted. For one, it’s Vegas, and I’m pretty sure their marijuana laws – especially with such a small amount – are pretty lax, even back then. Knowing cops as I do, he was probably just screwing with you for kicks. Teenagers are kind of good for that sort of thing. But it’s good to know that had you been in possession of, say, a couple grams of coke, you would’ve been able to weasel out of it.

    I’ve never smoked pot. It just never held any interest for me, and I really dislike the smell. Closest I’ve gotten is a contact high from a pot-filled night club, and that was enough.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Haha. I can only hope I at least gave him a good story to laugh about with his friends over doughnuts later. (:

      Pot was never a good experience for me. I think it either works with a person’s chemistry or it doesn’t. You are so smart to not even try it.

    • Wait, no Billy Joel, no Elizabeth Taylor and now no pot, Matt? I think there’s a correlation somewhere in there. I’m not sure what, but it’s something…hmmmm…

  2. Hilarious, but then again you can’t be trusted. And I love the line “I silently hoped my prison mistress would at least have a heart of gold.”

    I’ve always found it interesting the way pot affects people differently. I’ve had friends like you who say they can’t handle the stuff because they experience wild, elliptical patterns of thought, a warped sense of time and inability to explain what’s so funny, to which I always respond “Exactly.” But then again, I’ve never combined it with animatronic Disney characters.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      I agree that it is interesting how differently pot affects people. Maybe it has something to do with the way the pot smoker views the effects? I am terrified of losing control, for example, but the same loss of control might be a welcome relief to another person. It might also be that I’m a total lightweight. Anyhow, I’m glad I can handle two drinks. I can still have my two alcoholic beverages. Haha.

      And yes, I can’t be trusted. It’s true! (:

  3. Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

    Tawni, I love you. This story is funny and so well written that I could see the whole thing play out in my mind. Too cute.

    Like you, pot made me feel paranoid but not enough to stop me. But I was a lightweight compared to my friends so I guess it helped me slow down. Pills on the other hand…

    Well, that’s a different story.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Oy. The pills horrify me. You are much braver than I am. The thing that always scared me about pills is the commitment involved. You can’t take a small toke or a little sip to see how it’s going to hit you, once you swallow that puppy, you’re IN. Full dose. No going back. Scary.

      I love you too, Ashley-girl. Thanks! xoxo.

      • The two of you are making me want to smoke a joint and pop some Vicodin and Flexiril. Geez! Not what I was expecting when I logged on to TNB . . .

        (My husband can’t smoke pot at all either, Tawni. He gets totally paranoid. He was able to tolerate hash a little more, when we lived in Europe, but I wouldn’t say he ever really “enjoyed” it, so he pretty quickly just gave up.)

        • Tawni Freeland says:

          Confession: I’m three weeks post-major abdominal surgery right now, and still on a minimal dose of Percoset. I am down to my last six pills, and I must admit that I will miss them a little when they’re gone.

          Because of my aforementioned pill paranoia, I was scared to take them after my C-section five years ago, and had a terrible, painful recovery. Now I feel silly for being such a chicken. This surgical recovery has been a breeze. Yay for pills! Haha. (And yay for not having to nurse a 9.5 pound infant every hour, which has probably helped me heal faster this time too.)

  4. Joe Daly says:

    Great ending!

    Funny stuff- do you think the cop was serious, or in hindsight, do you think he knew exactly what was up and just wanted to put the fear of God into you? I would hope the latter. In the city of Las Vegas, there have got to be bigger fish to fry than a pair of wee girls enjoying a tiny bit of cannabis.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      I think the cop was most likely trying to scare the crap out of us. And it worked… we were scared straight for the rest of the summer! Haha.

      Thanks, Joe. (:

  5. Becky Palapala says:

    Ah, the pot. I was once an every day smoker. Morning to evening. Then one day, I just quit. Not sure why. Nothing traumatic happened, no epiphany, no threat, I was never busted. I just didn’t want to anymore, so I didn’t.

    Ever since, though, whenever I’ve gotten a bug up my butt to have a toke for old time’s sake, it has turned into a total disaster. Exactly as you describe. And if I mix with alcohol, forget about it. Becky’s night is over. Over in the droolingest, most pathetic way imaginable.

    *However, I feel compelled to point out that recent studies suggest that mixing marijuana with alcohol can actually protect your brain from the damage that would otherwise result from the alcohol use, and it has always been my experience that MJ has the power to act as a prophylactic against hangover. Or at least exceptionally awful hangover.*

    As for pleading down to the lesser crime: When I was in high school, after spending a Saturday night raving in downtown Minneapolis, I returned home to discover that my father doubted my story that I had been camping in a nearby neighborhood wilderness area.

    He drove by and didn’t see my car where I said I was parking. I told him I parked elsewhere, closer to our campsite.

    “Take me there.”

    So I did. Or at least to the campsite I was imagining when I lied. There was the fire ring, everything. Dad reached down, held his hand out, and *FLOOF*, plunged it into the ashes. “Nothing was on fire here last night,” he said. “I wouldn’t have any skin on my hand right now.”

    Busted–momentarily–I began to sob.

    Once back at the house, he asked, “Why don’t you tell me what you were really doing?”

    Then, a lightbulb. More waterworks.

    “We were CAMPING! I just couldn’t take you to the real site we were at because we were drinking and there were bottles and stuff around and you’d KNOW, okay??!!?!?!?!!!”

    *sob sob*

    He appreciated that I had “come clean.”

    Poor Dad.

    • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

      I always “came clean”. I would tell some of what happened. Bad enough to get me in trouble but never the whole truth. The whole truth may have gotten me kicked out.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Ahahahahaha. Nicely done, Teenage Becky. Way to use the Lesser Crime Admission technique to minimize your punishment.

      I can’t believe you ever successfully smoked pot. I picture your brain going as rogue as mine did on it. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough? I gave up too easily. Damned quitter. (:

    • Becky Palapala says:

      As a teenager, Tawni, I was amazingly carefree.

      God as my witness, you would barely recognize me then. I didn’t read, I didn’t care about smart people stuff, I didn’t care about politics, nothing. I just wanted to smoke weed and drop acid and hang out in my favorite jeans and bare feet with my bohemian artist friends until the day I died.

      College is what has made me the miserable intellectual wretch I am. College alone.

  6. Gloria says:

    You always did have shifty eyes, in my opinion, Tawni.

    And props to your for your performance. I couldn’t have pulled it off. When I was that age, I folded like a dime store paper fan – all crumpled up and poking out of what should’ve been neat pleats. One time some cops came storming into a house I was in looking for one of the guys who was there. There were all swaggering dicks with badges on chains. They demanded the drugs! They wanted the drugs! And by that, they meant pounds of marijuana. They looked around the room menacingly. I shifted my eyes and looked for somewhere to run. One of them pointed at me, “Give me the drugs!” A statement, not a question. So I fished in my pocket and handed him the saddest, most pathetic, button-sized dollop of pot shake and pocket lent. The cop looked shocked – and a little bit like he wanted to laugh. They arrested the dude they were there for and, as they were walking out, the cop that took my pot pointed at me and said, “you keep your nose clean, now!” Yeah. So. If I’d’ve been there with you, we’d’ve been arrested for sure.


    • Tawni Freeland says:

      My eyes are totally shifty. Totally.

      Oh my god. I can’t believe the cop actually told you to “keep your nose clean.” I bet he had an amazing mustache, too, didn’t he? I picture him with a big mustache. (:

  7. Sarah says:

    I truly know the experience of lying so convincingly that you convince yourself. To this day I *remember* turning in my Biology project freshman year that my teacher “must have lost.”

    I’m glad you didn’t become someone’s bitch in a shady Las Vegas prison even at the expense of your sister’s trust. For selfish reasons. We’re better off knowing soft, shiny, happy Tawni as opposed to prison-hardened Tawni.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Haha. I’m glad I’m not prison-hardened Tawni too. I have no idea how to make a shiv out of a toothbrush. No idea at all. I’d be totally worthless on the inside.

  8. Yvonne says:

    Ha! Poor, pot-intolerant Tawni!! I have previously heard of your woes with “the pot”. I first tried it as a teenager, and all it did was make me was sleeeepy. And really hungry for monster-sized bags of Doritos. I gave up on it only to find my way back as a late 20-something who, for many years, really enjoyed the “mellow” side of a good buzz. Alas, in my older age “the pot” has turned against me (as has so many things, ugh!) and my body rejects the mellow and replaces it with a high-blood-pressure-inducing pounding of my heart and screaming paranoia. Sigh. I’m now a proud wine-o. Cheers, girl.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      You are so lucky you had the mellow, sleepy reaction to the stuff. My reaction was almost always the “high-blood-pressure-inducing pounding of my heart and screaming paranoia” type buzz you later experienced. For example, I would often think to myself that if I didn’t remember to breathe, I would die. Eek! I could never figure out what people liked about pot. It was like a scary dream for me almost every single time.

      Yay for the wine-o life! Make mine a full-bodied red with good legs and minimal sweetness, please. Cheers back at you, Yvonne. xoxo.

      • Yvonne says:

        Full-bodied red with good legs and minimal sweetness is THE only way to go!! (girly chest bump) There are times, I confess, when I miss a good smokey treat, but it’s just not worth the scare. I find myself worried to death wondering if I’m gonna freak out – which is just like freaking out! Well, the up side to my wine-o life is that I have a permanent designated driver. Thank you, non-drinking husband of mine!

        • Tawni Freeland says:

          *girly chest bump back*

          You are SO lucky to have a non-drinking husband/designated driver. Right arm! (:

  9. Richard Cox says:

    I’m glad the comment form is back on. I loved your story and particularly your quick thinking, regardless of what the officer’s true intent might have been. Even at a young age you were a master of misdirection.

    I can only guess how your talents have improved over time. Are you even real?

    Oh, wait. I did meet you a few weeks ago. I think.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Of course I’m not real, Richard. None of this is real. You actually met my robot in person a few weeks ago. I created her in the image of my fake online presence. Pretty impressive, yes?

      Thanks for reading my lies. xoxo.

  10. Marybear says:

    bravo grrrrrrl

  11. Jane says:

    Great Story! 🙂 Thanks for the laughs!

  12. Dana says:

    Tawni — your life of crime knew no limits! The mean streets of Vegas – thank god the cop wasn’t a perv… Paranoid teenage girls all tarted up, could have been a bad situation. Why are teenage girls such morons? I did some of the stupidest stuff between the ages of 14 and 18. Thank goodness your acting skills pulled you through. 🙂

    The first half dozen times I tried pot I would get very paranoid, but I enjoyed the other aspects to a nice high so much that I kept trying. Eventually I got pretty good at it. I have a friend that likes to smoke and then go run errands. Um NO THANKS! That’s still weird to me. But if marijuana was legal I’d certainly give up most hard alcohol.

    We went to my husbands high school reunion last year in Michigan. Medical marijuana is just getting started there and it was amazing. You would not believe how many people who graduated in 1975 have glaucoma!

    • pixy says:

      You would not believe how many people who graduated in 1975 have glaucoma!

      this made me snortle.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      “Why are teenage girls such morons? ”

      I agree with this. I can’t believe I’m alive sometimes. I had so many scary close calls as a teenage girl. I was so stupid.

      Running errands while stoned? I can’t even walk, let alone run errands. That is amazing.

      “You would not believe how many people who graduated in 1975 have glaucoma!” made me laugh too. We just hope they all find relief for their medical conditions, don’t we? Those poor people. (:

  13. Lorna says:

    I can’t smoke that crap either! I actally had spaceships invade my brain once. I hated every moment of a pot high. Every. Freaky. Moment.

    “When my parents took the family to Disneyland, she and I got stoned in the It’s a Small World ride. It was there I learned that hundreds of creepy animatronic children singing a repetitive song about the world closing in on me do nothing to ease my pot smoking paranoia.”

    Ohhh no. You survived the “It’s a Small World ride and the Las Vegas cop? Props to your acting skills, Tawni.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Oh, Lorna. You are truly a girl after my own heart. I actually understand perfectly what you mean by spaceships invading your brain. One of the last times I tried to smoke pot, it was some crazy intense stuff called “Purple Haze” that had purple veins running through the marijuana leaves. The dealer (who was my boyfriend’s roommate, which was why we were offered it) told us it was grown by a medical student at the nearby college!

      After one hit on the bong, I couldn’t remember where I was, even though I was inside my boyfriend’s apartment where I often stayed the night. I couldn’t stand up straight or walk, and he had to lead me bent over at the waist like somebody’s granny down the stairs to his bedroom to lie down. I couldn’t even find the door to his room by myself. Once in bed, covered with blankets and shivering, I kept asking him where I was. When he’d tell me I was in his bedroom, I’d say, “No… where am I in the UNIVERSE?” I felt so lost and small. He petted my head soothingly until I finally passed out. That was the last time I ever tried the stuff. Pot is not for me.

      Thanks for reading this. (:

  14. Jessica Blau says:

    Great story–very funny!

  15. Irene Zion says:

    Hey Tawni,
    I tried to write this morning but the comment board was down for some reason.
    We’re going to Amsterdam soon and the guide book says that the marijuana is many times more powerful than anything my age group had in college. They say one drag can last 12 to 14 hours. I used to get paranoid too, when I was in college. Do you think I’m going to take legal stuff that is many times stronger and be superparanoid for 12 to 14 hours? I think not.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Thank you again for emailing me to tell me the comment board had been closed for commenting all night and morning. Because of your heads up, I was able to email the boss men and get it ironed out quickly. You were so kind and thoughtful to take the time to do that for me. Mucho appreciation. (:

      I want to go to Amsterdam so badly. How exciting! But no, no, no, no, no, you mustn’t smoke the crazy intense marijuana. I would be so scared for you if you did that. There are people I know who’ve smoked pot since the seventies, and they tell me the pot of today is ridiculously strong in comparison.

      Take pictures of Amsterdam, please, and maybe even write about it for TNB? I would love to hear all about your latest adventure, Irene. I really like to live vicariously through my traveling friends. xoxo.

    • Matt says:

      No way – toke up, Irene! I SO want to read the TNB post about stoned Irene wandering around Amsterdam.

      Plus, you already had to play caretaker to Ambien-zombie Victor. It’s only fair he should look after you when it’s your turn to get stoned.

      • Irene Zion says:

        What if he decides to get stoned after I do and we’re both zombies?
        We could end up drowned in the canals!
        I don’t think it’s safe.

  16. Ah! Read this last night and now I can finally comment, wheeee! Are you ready for this? For what’s been in my head since *yesterday*, yearning to get on the comment boards? A-hem. It is this: You should be either an actress or a fiction writer. You have serious skills! What a hilarious story. So very glad you didn’t end up in a Vegas prison. And I think you are very cool indeed. That is all.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Awwww, Cynthia. You just made my day, lady. Thank you soooooooo much for the kind comments. I could never be an actress because I’m too shy (which made me one of the three girls living in Los Angeles without acting aspirations during my time there… haha), but I am currently working on writing a fiction novel. My son is finally at a “lower-maintenance” age that allows me time for a writing schedule. Woo-hoo!

      And I think you are very cool as well. You also have the best Gravatar picture EVER. (: xoxoxoxo.

  17. Carol says:

    I have no idea why, but I am picturing this story as a silent movie, complete with title cards. You got the gift, girl 🙂

  18. Carol says:

    …possibly with a cameo by Laurel and Hardy.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Also: Can it have a shot of Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond making creepy-crazy “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” eyes at the camera. Please?

  19. D.R. Haney says:

    There’s no anxiety quite like the anxiety of seeing a cop car brake, whether you’ve done something illegal or you haven’t, regardless of age. At the moment I’m not driving, so I had thought I was free of that particular anxiety — until, a few months ago, I saw a cop car brake after I jaywalked. Cops give tickets for jaywalking in L.A., where cops are generally dicks. I wasn’t ticketed that day, but I did get a stern, contemptuous lecture.

    I’m thinking that the cop in Vegas was probably giving you a break. Cops do that every so often. Oh, and don’t you think most of us are fantastic liars in the right circumstances? But a cop would know far better than I.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      A stern lecture? Oh dear. The cops in L.A. are ridiculous that way. Giving jaywalking tickets. As if there isn’t a worse crime happening in Los-fucking-Angeles that they might be trying to stop. I once saw a cop giving a guy a ticket on an empty sidewalk (I was car-less and walking home from work) for riding his bike on the sidewalk. We met eyes, the biker and I, and I shook my head sympathetically. He rolled his eyes at me in response, like, “I know, right?” Poor guy. A biker could get smashed flat in three seconds on busy La Brea. Priorities, officer!

      I bet the Vegas cop was giving me a break, too. He was probably thinking, “This silly girl is trying soooooo hard to get out of this. I’m impressed.” (:

    • Reno Romero says:


      you fucker! jaywalking, haney! really! oh, i love you even more you law-breaking bastard! oh, the rowdiness! the fuck-the-man-i-do-what-i-want attitude. crossing a damn greasy LA street illegally. shame! shame! and shame again! god, i wish there was some film rolling on this. or better yet i wish i was there in the FLESH. i would have ran up on you two saps and said: “hey, pig do you KNOW who and the fuck you’re talking to, buster? huh? duke. this is haney you cheap gun-toting racist! haney!”

      i’m sad now. kinda depressed i missed it. shucks.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        Well, you know, guys, I got plowed by a car while jaywalking on an L.A. street, so the cop actually had a good point. Every so often I revert to being a New Yorker. Drivers know how to interact with pedestrians in New York. They don’t in L.A. It’s like, “Dude! Somebody is, like, walking! Like, what I do?”

        But, yeah, Tawni, priorities — and a decent attitude wouldn’t hurt, either. Cops out here act like you’re a serial killer if they see you toss a peanut shell to the sidewalk.

        And, Reno, don’t be depressed. You tend to disappear when you’re depressed, if memory serves, and we only just got you back again.

        • Zara Potts says:

          I think you are an excellent street crosser, Duke. After all, you saved me a couple of times from getting run over when I was in LA.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I think I was just conscious that you come from a place where people drive on the wrong side of the road. I nearly got run down in London once for the same reason. That happens all the time to Americans when they visit places where people drive on the wrong side of the road.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Don’t you mean… the right side of the road???

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Nope. I made a bloody point of saying “wrong,” not just once but twice.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Yes. I noticed that. I chose to take the higher path and ignore it….
          Oh here -have an emoticon – i know how much you like them…

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I’m glad, for one reason, that you’re back at your old job, Z., which is that you can comment at TNB often, as in days of old. Ironically, I’m now working a job that’s going to place serious constraints on my time. I have to start getting ready for it now, in fact. 🙁

  20. Nanea says:

    I feel as if I completely squandered my teenage years. Not once did I have a nerve-wracking police encounter. I love the way you make delinquency and excruciating anxiety somehow endearing.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      We still have time, my friend. It’s never too late. I can still help you experience delinquency and excruciating anxiety. Let’s start planning our 30th birthday Scorpio celebration together in Las Vegas soon… whaddya say? Are you in? 😉

  21. Reno Romero says:


    oh, that was great. you KNOW the fuzz was fucking with you and also KNEW you were smoking a jay. no doubt. but being the good vegas pig that he was he knew he had a nasty city before his stupid eyes that there were bigger issues at hand. i may have terrorized you a bit more. you know like have you sing the lyrics to your fav song backwards. i once was pulled over by a cop right after i fired up a jay. i admitted that, yes, i was smoking pot but that i was a career pothead and wasn’t “wasted” by any stretch of the imagination. he appreciated my honesty and let me go. awesome. bitchin’.

    • I am glad the cop didn’t terrorize me more. I was getting more and more stoned as we talked, and it was all I could do to hold it together. I probably would have passed out!

      Your “honest approach” story is hilarious, Reno. I’m glad you got pulled over by someone with a sense of humor. Thanks fer readin’ me, rock star. (:

  22. Chris says:

    Nice work. Keep it up. Even though I enjoyed the piece I honestly have a hard time believing there are no exotic pets in your household. Really? None? So you’re telling me that if I were to take a look around your house a ferret, slow loris, Capuchin monkey or wombat wouldn’t turn up? The real tragedy is that now, after reading your last piece, I know I could never trust the answer to that question.

  23. Shelley says:

    Tawni, you’ve done it again. I so enjoyed reading this!

    I wish I’d had your acting skills as a teenager. Although, I don’t know that it would have helped me get out of trouble with my parents. When they caught me up to something, it was just game over. I knew it and they knew it. And my brother knew it, because he was always front and center to watch it all go down. Heh.

    • I wish we could have somehow hung out as teenagers. Oh, the trouble we would have gotten into. And then we could have provided our younger siblings with even more cautionary tales, right? (:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. xoxo.

  24. The gleeful delinquency turned abject terror in the span of a brake light pretty much describes my entire high school experience. I could really relate to this Tawny. Thanks for making me laugh.

  25. angela says:

    love this, tawny!

    Abstaining from pot, combined with my love of exercising and rising early, eventually conspired to make me the least rock and roll chick to ever play guitar in a band.

    i am so with you there! except i also don’t drink and play classical piano. very uncool. 😉

    while alcohol doesn’t sit well with me, pot actually does its trick. there was one summer – just a few years ago – i was dating a guy who smoked it all the time, and i joined in on the weekends. at first it was a fun new feeling. with alcohol, i always felt sick. with pot, there was only the high, with no ill feeling.

    but after a while, i started to feel like it was huge waste of time. all those hours enveloped in a murky cloud.

    • Isn’t it funny how we can handle one or the other, but not always both? Just another reason why I think it’s silly that alcohol is legal, but pot isn’t.

      Yay! Maybe we should start an Uncool Musicians club?

      Thanks so much for reading, Angela. 🙂

  26. Jim Bee says:

    Tawni, I agree with the everyone, you need to write a book! You had me in stiches from the start of your story. I was married and had children by the time I was 20 so never had the time to party in “my younger” years~! Divorced at 29, in the early 70’s, raising my 2 boys, I made up for lost time! We were smoking so much that when we got low, we use to set timers so we didn’t run out. Thinking back at those wild & crazy daze, makes me wonder how I made it through them! Having my boys to think about, kept my head screwed on, and made me think of what I was doing.

    Keep writing, I love it~!

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      “we use to set timers so we didn’t run out”

      Haha. This cracks me up, Jim. It’s funny to me because I’m pretty OCD by nature, and it sounds like something I would do, sucking all of the laid-back relaxation out of pot by setting timers and stressing about running out of it in the middle of smoking it. That is hilarious. (:

      Yes, kids are amazingly grounding, aren’t they? Nothing is about you anymore; all decisions are made with their well-being as priority number one. Very humbling. It also makes decisions easier than ever before: What’s best for this child/these children? Done. There’s your answer. Keeps everything pretty simple and uncomplicated. There’s a lot of peace to be found in that, isn’t there?

      Thank you so much for reading my stuff, and for saying nice things. You are too kind. It makes me really happy to think that I put a smile on your face as you read about my teenage mishaps and foibles, because you so often put a smile on mine. Thank you. xoxoxoxo.

  27. Zara Potts says:

    Tawni –
    Can I just say how glad I am you are here? You make me laugh.
    And I think your writing is just fabulous.
    Like you.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      I am so happy and honored to be here on TNB among so many people I genuinely like as humans and admire as writers. Thank you so much for this sweet comment that felt like a written hug. I think your writing is fabulous too, and really just adore you, beautiful Miss Z. You are the cat’s meow and the bee’s knees! (: xoxo.

  28. I’m so happy I decided to visit TNB today! Tawni, you’re da bomb.
    Even when you’re bombed (on percs or pot, whatever!)

    I’m not ashamed to say that I kind of love pot. I don’t do it very often, obviously, nowadays,
    because of motherly duties AND the fact that Greg cannot inhale and hates pot. Yes, it’s true.
    But, I’ve always loved it and been the one who goes off into her own universe, hopefully with the right friend, and laughs for hours and then needs to eat a loaf of bread.

    I love that you outsmarted that cop – you badass teen you!
    As a teen, my friends and I were once “busted” for being in a parked car and “partying” – we actually did have pot on us. But it was for my friends birthday and we had given her a Mr. Potato Head doll. That doll saved us – I think he just figured how bad could we be? Bigger fish to fry, like you said. Phew.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      “you’re da bomb. Even when you’re bombed”

      Hahaha. No, YOU are. (:

      Because we met in our early thirties, David and I have never smoked pot around each other. He tells me that he had mostly positive experiences with it in his youth, though. But even though I can’t handle it, I promise I will always join you for the post-pot smoking loaf of bread. Mmmmmm… bread. I don’t need drugs to enjoy some delicious baked goods.

      I can’t believe a Mr. Potato Head doll saved you from getting in trouble. But you’re right – how could the cop bust teenagers who gave kiddie toys as gifts? That is so funny!

      Thanks so much for reading, my sweet Steph-Steph. xoxoxoxo.

    • Gloria says:

      “and then needs to eat a loaf of bread”


      I love that it’s a loaf. It’s true.

  29. Training for Century…

    […]out of a pickle.In addition it is always a good idea […]…

  30. Greg Olear says:

    I read this on my phone when it first went up and haven’t had a chance to leave a comment. Two things:

    1. I hate pot.
    2. I heart Tawni.

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