Equality for Alternative Lifestyles
by S. Brook Reed
Deflecting his BMX bike off of a metal-edged, cement obstacle, a schoolboy blurted, “Medical marijuana saved my Dad’s life!” Gracefully deviating his airborne bicycle into outrageous contortions, the short person punctuated his silky touchdown with a rhetorical inquiry: “When will everyone clue in?”
We looked for the camera. Was NORML filming an alternative TV commercial?
The actor was clean cut and well-kept. Pedaling back- ward, he circled the platform. His freewheel hub ticking incessantly, the charming kid resumed his monologue. “I’ve seen my Dad in the ER too many times. Percocet, and the other narcotics the doctor gives him, stop the pain, but they’re addicting — and the withdrawal is ter- rible!” The amiable rug rat flashed an infectious grin.
Was it a reality show, or a contemporary Brady Bunch remake?
“The positive aspects of my Father using medical marijuana definitely outweigh the negative,” his soapbox rant forged on.
The wily lad disappeared momentarily into a deep con- crete bowl. His high-tech ride rolling effortlessly, the hired peewee’s aerial maneuvers at Pismo Beach, California skateboard park were on par with that of the local teens. For a character in favor of supporting his Father’s well-being, the youth shreds the limits of a con- ceivably perilous extreme sport. After a series of nicely executed vertical drops and off-kilter sky-shots, he emerged at the sanctuary of the palm-tree-shaded side- lines.
Coasting to a stop,
he used eye contact. “The problem with the ER is, every time Dad had an emergency, they’d pump him full of
drugs, which only meant more with- drawal,”
he rolled his eyes. “Thumbs up to medical mar- ijuana. Pot just isn’t
like life-threatening synthetics.”
The pint-sized BMXer summarized with more well-read ravings. “Marijuana should be legalized, not demo- nized,” he said shaking his head. Evidently, as he would later reveal, not only was the astute little fellow the prod- uct of white collar folk, but medicinal weed kin.
Another point of interest was ill at ease: This writer’s decision to survey one-time fave pastimes skateboarding and BMX whilst thumbing through a popular medical grass publication had garnered the attention of a junior gentleman. There were no concealed zoom-lenses.
We played dumb. “It’s better than alcohol or cigarettes,” he came back at the silence. “Which are two things Dad DOES need to quit,” he raised his brows. “Inhaling smoke into your lungs is never good. In my opinion, pot ingestion is the better option, whereas the true medicinal potential of marijuana is then shown.” Even having ascertained knowledge of carbon vs. blood-oxygen levels, the tiny dude was B-A-D — bad!
But solo children shouldn’t talk to strangers. “That’s my Dad and Brother over there.” He gestured to a shirtless, fit-looking adult male, and an even shorter towheaded sibling, where other bicyclists and skateboarders were milling about. At that moment, his Father was vaulting a 20-inch bicycle off a six-foot cliff, his younger child looking on wide-eyed. “My Dad has been riding a lot with Conner and I,” the sharp kid enthused. “As soon as he started the medical marijuana and got the pills under control, he’s been a lot more active. He grows it,” the beaming small fry concluded with too much information.
A quick-witted computer programmer and part-time therapeutic grass farmer, Dan Tyler, 37, has been a sick man. Speaking with the same well-disposed charisma his Son had displayed, he later said with the kids in the park- ing lot: “I’ve been in the ER 26 times for abdominal issues.”
While loading three valuable two-wheelers into a late model Honda mini-van, he ushered Marty, 10 — the talk- ative daredevil — and Conner, 7, into the passenger seats with the playful verbal instruction of an all-state football Dad. Filling in son Marty’s blanks, Dan too was literate.
“It all started with a motorcycle accident and an undiag- nosed solar plexus disruption,” he said, resting his hand on his stomach. “After the crash, I lost my appendix and gall bladder to exploratory surgery. The outcome? I couldn’t eat. They put me on a drug called Marinol for appetite stimulation. A week later, I was immune to it. Therefore, I lost not only my ability to consume, but 65 pounds.” At a healthy previous weight, his loss of lean tissue was his body dying of malnutrition. Not to men- tion the riddled central nervous system, another side effect of the prescription chemicals.
At some point, cannabis appeared the obvious solution – on both counts. “The medical marijuana has two simple yet effective objectives: It restores my hunger and calms anxiety, thus my rejuvenation. I have not actually been high for a long time. It’s medicine — I just use it to attain inner –peace.” Which typically means a nutritious all- natural lunch.
Tyler, a medicinal weed patient since 2009, has been a grower from the onset. “My wife and I have discussed the pros and cons of having and propagating cannabis around our children,” he said with dauntless enthusiasm. “Our primary concerns were federal and social. How would the kids view cultivation and consumption, while simultaneously, other members of society strongly protest it. We feel it’s important to be open with them.
“The boys understand that smoking pot can be benefi- cial,” he maintains. “But it must be respected; it, too, has potentially harmful side effects. Technically, the plant affirms drug properties — and even herbal drugs should be pursued with caution.”
Moreover, smaller Tylers Marty and Conner are familiar with the astonishing, combined 56,600 annual pharma- ceutical, over-the-counter, and illicit drug incited American deaths. As opposed to the perfect historical pot record of zero casualties, resulting from ingestion or smoke inhalation of cannabis, the inexplicably notorious anti-carcinogen.
“Marty and Conner
watched me spiral into frailty, “
Dad Tyler said with a we-know-what-others-don’t gleam in his eye. “The conventional drugs caused partial paralysis of my insides, in turn inducing further regression. The approach of the American Medical Association is a vicious
circle.” A corkscrew down to death’s bleak
door, the pills
had to be decreased. Popping his
physician’s rec- ommended dosage was no longer an option.
Nor were his children about to watch him wither into a rising national drug statistic! “By the same token, they observed my ascension back toward health. No one needs to draw them a picture — they’ve seen it first- hand. A lot of things changed for our family once I ini- tiated this alternative medicine.”
Joining other neighborhood Fathers for one of the plan- et’s most physically demanding sports, the freestyle BMX validates it. “I’ve only been doing this for a few months,” he downplayed his veteran-like abilities. “I’m not as good as some of our sponsored, local shredders. But I’m getting some level of physical fitness back; this is a workout!” Ironically, quality father/sons time and exercise were virtually impossible for Dan ahead of med- ical marijuana.
We spoke with the Tyler tribe matriarch via their home landline. Employed full time with a nearby university’s career placement center, Mother, wife, and accomplished educator, Jennifer Tyler, is also pro-life. “When Dan became ill, I couldn’t keep food in his belly. He was vomiting and dropping pounds fast. We spoke with the doctor, and obtained a medical marijuana card. It helped alleviate the pain and nausea. And yes, I’ll admit it, the pot allows my husband to eat and keep food down.”
She also concedes to early on skepticism. “I wasn’t the biggest supporter of medical marijuana previously. And there were politics behind it. The conservative voters hate and teach their children to hate,” she steams mat- ter-of-factly. “Above all, my children come first, and I must protect them.
“We constructed a medical marijuana grow room behind the house,” she breathed into the phone. “It’s just cur- rently more appropriate to keep it anonymous and sepa- rate from the children.” Hardly fountain of youth access, yet key to preferred rates of longevity, it may someday be a culture of mass acceptance.
Like Marty, Jennifer is optimistic that others may expe- rience her surprise revelation. “I have a totally different outlook now than I did going in,” she bears witness. “Life is too short to get hung up on ancient stereotypes. If people only realized how much more caustic narcotics and heavy drugs are on the human body.”
Do the math: Toxic drugs take over half a million North American lives per decade. “Cannabis is definitely looking better than meth or crack cocaine,” Marty emphasizes. “But I’m not old enough to think about using medical marijuana, and I would never drink, smoke, nor do drugs. Screw that!”