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The First Time We Got High: A Deadspin Confessional

Illustration by Sam Woolley.

The Deadspin staff has a few self-described stoners and a few notable herbs. And because the latter are equal to the former, we will now anonymously share our stories of the first time we got high. (It might be pretty obvious who’s who.) Please feel free to share your first memory of being stoned below.

Too Many Kyles

The first time I got high was freshman year of high school before an official school dance with three dudes named Kyle. We went behind a tree on a busy street (I dunno) and smoked two thick joints out of receipt paper because it was all we had and it seemed like a decent enough idea. The kush was immediately too loud, and I lasted about 30 minutes inside the dance before my paranoia got the better of me. Me and one of the Kyles then wandered around outside until my friend’s mom (amazingly, another Kyle) drove us home.

Who Needs Feelings?

It was after guitar class, which was the last class of the last semester of junior year of high school. As a class we had progressed past “Horse With No Name” and “Heart of Gold” and were well into “Mr. Jones” when a football player I had a deep crush on asked if I wanted to continue to jam at his house after school. I assumed that “jam” was code for “make out,” which is something I had not yet done as a 16 year-old, and so I followed his car (a jeep, yikes) in my car (my parents’ station wagon) to his house. There were two other football players already there. It turns out that “jamming” is not code for “making out,” but rather “watching me and my friends play basketball as we smoke teen weed.”

I was not into experimenting with drugs at then, mostly because I didn’t fully yet understand addiction and was afraid that I would enjoy drugs (any drug) too much and become addicted to it. But I took the joint as it was passed around and puff-puff-passed, while consciously trying to hold the smoke in my mouth without filling out my cheeks so I could blow it back out without inhaling. That failed, I coughed. They giggled and asked if it was my first time smoking, I said it wasn’t. You’re gonna be so stoned, they said. I couldn’t feel anything—my mouth tasted bad, and how would anyone want to make out with anyone tasting like smoke, anyway. I decided weed sucked.

When I got home, my mom was furious about how I had forgotten to go to one of the flute lessons I had asked for (double yikes) and had also missed dinner. My instinct to snark at her was mysteriously lost. “Wow, I totally lost track of time. That was not cool of me, I’m sorry I worried you,” I said. I inhaled leftovers, and made note of how dinner was even better than usual as I watched the nightly news with my parents. Before bed, my mom told me that she wished I had been more responsible that day, but remained impressed by the mature young woman I was turning into. Weed rules.


Uh, Don’t Mix Weed With Crack

From 8th grade to senior year of high school I went to military school—a military school that did random drug tests. A lot of random tests. While other kids were sneaking out to their school parking lots to blaze, I was busy pretending to play French Horn for daily parades. However, once the summer arrived, I would play catch-up. My first time, or the first time I remember getting LIIIIIIIIIIITTTTT was one of those summers, while I was at my boy Pete’s house. His sister was this popular chick who guys jocked hard, and in trying to suck up to her they would be nice to Pete and do things for him.... like give him weed.


After one such exchange, Pete and I went looking for something to smoke this free weed out of, and he went into his sister’s room and found a pipe. When I say “pipe,” I should mention it was a long glass tube, generally used to smoke crack in. After taking three or four big hits, Pete taught me to say “Oh shit, my mom’s here” after smoking in—so that I would have to inhale instead of blowing the smoke back out. After practicing that trick, I was blazed. I’m not sure whether it was the weed, the excitement, or the strong possibility that there was crack residue in the pipe. I remember looking at the clock as I was high as hell and reading that it was 10:34.

The rest of the night was a blur. I know his sister had a party and I laid down watching Knight Moves with the original Highlander, Christopher Lambert. During one scene, where someone’s neck gets slit, I shot up from the bed grabbing my neck—I was bugging the fuck out because I thought that what was happening on screen was happening to me. I wish I could say I quit smoking pot after that experience, but no dice. To this day I chuckle if I happen to glance at the clock at 10:34.


Ah, Yes, Squirrel Face

The first dozen or so times I blazed the nugg, I did it like a dumbass. I kept the smoke all trapped in my mouth with my cheeks puffed out like a squirrel because I thought that’s how it was done. Then I would exhale and the unspent smoke would just poof out in all its THC-filled glory. In sum I wasted lots of others’ allowance dollars in nugg, and for that, I apologize to all my teenage friends. But finally, one very unremarkable day I learned to accept the funky smoke into my lungs, sat down on a patio surrounded by many of my best friends, and began to feel a now-familiar, pleasant pressure in my forehead.


Whatever, Man

I took one puff, coughed, didn’t notice much of a difference, and wasn’t really interested in trying again for like 4 years.


The Only Time I Got High

I am impervious to weed. I have attempted to get high on three-dozen occasions scattered across the past 20 years or so, and succeeded only once. It’s possible I’m just “doing it wrong”; alternately, as my coworkers here never tire of reminding me, I am a large, lumbering person, so perhaps it’s a volume issue.


Anyway, it worked exactly once, via two pot truffles consumed at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, a free outdoor gathering of white people in San Francisco. That’s two truffles because the first one hadn’t kicked in yet, obviously. The Truffle Guy was distractingly beautiful and majestic and materialized suddenly, as though out of a celestial mist; Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings were onstage, covering “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I don’t remember much about how I got home, other than the method was ill-advised; once home, according to my then-girlfriend and now-wife, I laid on the couch with a laptop softly playing Lester Young’s 1951 album Lester Young Trio propped up on the coffee table right next to my ear, and wouldn’t talk to her at all. Incidentally, this is also the only time I managed to Fully Appreciate Jazz, and I have tried to do that way more.

The Convert

I didn’t smoke any weed in high school and I abstained through most of college as well, and I was strangely conservative about it. Like, my stance was, “It’s illegal! Only hippies do it! REAL MEN DRINK BEER.” Whenever my friends smoked up, I would leave the room. To this day, I don’t really know why I was like this. I blame Nancy Reagan for it.


I also don’t know when I finally took the stick out of my ass and smoked up for the first time. I’ve been trying to remember the exact moment but it’s lost in the ether. I can only think of two candidates. The first candidate is when I was abroad and the guys living in the apartment below would smoke hash by putting a little piece of it on a knife, heating it up on a range top, pressing another hot knife down on the hash, and then sucking up the smoke with an empty, cut-down two-liter soda bottle. I don’t recommend this. As much as smoking a joint feels like swallowing a knife, this is a thousand times more raw.

The other candidate was senior year in college, after I’d quit football and joined the rugby team. The rugby team was way more interested in drinking and smoking up than in rugby, which is as it should be. Anyway, they were passing a bowl around the room one night and I was like, “Fuck it, I’ll try some.” I don’t think anyone in the room knew I was (maybe) passing a significant milestone. And I sure as hell don’t remember if I liked it or not because I was already shitfaced when I took the plunge. It’s like sex. You need a few tries to figure out what the fuck you’re doing.


That said, don’t hold out as long as I did. Youth is too short. Smoke up while you can. Unless you’re, like, eight.

A Classic College Tale

The first time I smoked weed was winter of my freshman year of college. I’d gotten the hang of college, my schedule wasn’t too hard, and my roommate and I were playing a lot of Guitar Hero and NHL 07 (I will murder you with Saku Koivu). He had a couple of friends in for the weekend, asked if I wanted to smoke, I said I’d never had, and it seemed like a good time to change that.


We went out into the bitter Minnesota cold and got high sitting in the bleachers of the football stadium. Or it might’ve been in a little grove of trees behind our dorm. It also could’ve been out of a soda can; I smoked a lot of weed out of a soda can that winter. We tried with an apple, too, just for the hell of it. It was a very good introduction to weed.

Edibles Are For Grown-Ups

The first time I got high was via edibles, which is not a first-time experience I would recommend to the future drug users of America. I did that dumb thing where I ate half a cookie, then decided 30 minutes later that I wasn’t “feeling it” and that I should eat the rest of the cookie. It wasn’t long before I was completely smacked.


It wasn’t that fun! I had a nice full-body buzz going on, but I discovered pretty quickly that I am the worst kind of stoner, one who gets very introverted and deeply self-conscious about the entire experience. I kept laughing uncontrollably at dumb things people would say, but all I could think about was how stupid I probably looked while doing so.

After a little while, I moved to another party where a lot of my very drunk but not high friends were. That was a big mistake, because all they wanted to do was harass me about how stoned I was, but I couldn’t tell them how annoying they were being. All I could do was giggle uncontrollably while seething on the inside. After that I just went to bed.

Pukey McPukerston


I was 19 and at some house party in uptown Athens, Ohio when they passed a bowl around. I took my turn, handed it to the next person, then got up to go outside and puke.

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