State of the Debate

Cancel my Win-a-Trip With Dowd Contest entry ...

First Published      Last Updated Jun 06 2014 05:40 pm

[Above: Graphic from Vox.com]

Nicholas Kristof, the globe-trotting op-ed columnist for The New York Times, sponsors a Win-a-Trip With Kristof Contest. He chooses a young person, usually college age, to accompany him on his travels. They generally end up going to some horrid place where large numbers of human beings are barely eking out an existence, haunted by starvation, disease and really lousy governments.

Which is why I used to post reader comments on Kristof's pieces saying that I was holding out for the Win-a-Trip With Dowd Contest. That's something I completely made up. But, because NYT columnist Maureen Dowd spends a lot more time in Washington, New York City, Hollywood and other places where she interviews accomplished writers, public thinkers and the occasional movie star, I thought tagging along with her would be a lot more fun than following Kristof to a teeming refugee camp.

Well. Kind of.

Turns out Dowd recently spent a really awful night in a Denver hotel, suffering through a really horrible experience brought on by nibbling waaaay too much of a marijuana-laced candy bar.

Harsh edges to the Colorado mellow — Maureen Dowd — New York Times / sltrib.com

" ... Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more. I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.

"What could go wrong with a bite or two?

"Everything, as it turned out.

"Not at first. For an hour, I felt nothing. I figured I'd order dinner from room service and return to my more mundane drugs of choice, chardonnay and mediocre-movies-on-demand.

"But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. ...

" ... It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn't been on the label. ..."

The tradition of Gonzo Journalism, perfected by Coloradan Hunter S. Thompson, has certainly declined in its, well, gonzoism.

But I wouldn't have been any help. My very limited experience with marijuana, passively inhaled at a few poker games 25 years ago, just left me with a headache.

Anyway, the Internet responded to Dowd's essay by lighting up every communications medium known.

The public health case for legalizing pot: it could replace alcohol — German Lopez | Vox

" ... The column goes on to describe a high so potent that it freaked Dowd out for eight hours — and she never got to that chardonnay as a result.

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