a is for apple, part 3

part 3

forbidden fruit

Choosing how I eat.

not done yet

a is for apple, part 2

part 2

bad seeds

I don’t remember how I first learned about this tool, but when I was in high school a very simple way to smoke pot was out of an apple.

You didn’t need a pipe or a bong, both of which were dangerous evidence. You didn’t need a joint–not that we smoked joints anyway. I don’t think we really had that much pot, nor did we need to smoke that much. Such opulence was for later in life, for adult freedoms, for standing in large circles at parties.

When you’re a kid looking to smoke pot, you’re really a kid learning how to use drugs. You are looking to get high in little moments between supervision. Of course, some “lucky” kids had parents that just let them do whatever they wanted, but like most of my marijuana-curious peers, my parents made me work for my highs and that meant staying nimble and low-profile.

I had been curious about marijuana since the cop showed it to my sixth grade D.A.R.E. class, and I worked carefully through obstacles put in place by the supervisory layer of adults. It took another four years to even find any pot, so clearly I took my time. I didn’t overdo it, not really. I wanted to slip through the cracks, see what that felt like, and the cracks were getting just big enough in those later teen years that I could really start to do some maneuvers in the spaces. There’s after school. Before school, even. At lunch, in someone’s car or at the empty field a couple blocks from school. In the yard, in the dark, when you’re all sleeping over together and the parents have retired to their bedroom for television.

And so I learned about the apple.

We didn’t always use one. Several of my friends braved punishment by keeping pipes. But they popped when the stakes seemed higher (traveling, driving) or when no one had the devices. We could go to the grocery store and with less than a dollar and a few minutes of time, have a smoking device.

Apples can be kept in a car, in a bag. Apples are healthy snacks. They’re not suspicious.

And the delightful part of being high and having a nice apple on hand is that you can eat it. They can be delicious, and a bite of delicious, juicy apple in my dry, sticky mouth always tasted glorious.

Meghan comes to mind. Riding around in her white Nissan Pathfinder. I remember loving the dappled sunshine created by the vivid lime-green new spring leaves. The way the leaves held the light so vibrantly, like little glowing bulbs, their translucence amplifying and celebrating spring the way new life does: bright, joyous, majestic, electric.

It’s a beautiful sight, coming out a winter and welcoming the new leaves. And these memories of apples, dappled, barely there, like those leaves. They pop up lightly, barely. And I can stare at them, carefully sit with them and see what else bubbles up.

Holding an ever-so-slightly sticky apple in your hands, feeling set back and grateful and wide-eyed at being young and free and high. And taking a bite of that apple, it’s juice and crunch so vibrant also. Feeling the thick lingering sweetness in your mouth. Carefully eating around the carb holes. Feeling even freer after throwing the apple out the window to let it decompose in the fields, and having a car free from drug paraphernalia.

Like I said, I don’t remember who showed it to me first. But I remember you need a pen, a slick pen. And some pot, duh. And some matches, or whatever fire you got. And you poke through the core and you poke through the side and that’s it. Boom. Your weed might get sucked down through the core, so suck slow. SNRP! Puff puff. Sweet, sticky apple juice on your lips and fingers.


Sure, you could use a potato. Or a carrot. But who carries those around? Who wants to snack on a potato? You don’t, no one does.

a is for apple

part 1

fruit of knowledge

It is the 1990s. We are at elementary school, you and I, and it is lunch time.

There is hot lunch, and there is cold lunch. Where I’m from, or at least in my eyes, cold luch meant better lunch. It had snack packs. Fruit roll-ups. Capri Suns. Costco had pierced our consciousness and good moms shopped there for boxes filled with little bags of chips that went into those cold lunches.

According to my own mom, she had grown up making lunches for her brothers and sisters and so wouldn’t make me cold lunch. I ate hot lunch from a tray. My mom sent me to school with a check every month or so and I bought a lunch ticket.

lunch ticket

Often I’d forget to ask my mom for a check and I’d have to charge lunches. The lady who sat in the gym and took our lunch money would make marks on a piece of paper if you charged and then finally when you bought a ticket, she’d go and punch all those charge days out.

At my elementary school, our gym turned into the cafeteria. The tables stood tall against the walls, folded in half, and then someone would pull them down every day for us.

gym with tables down, kids in line, lady at table

We, the hot lunch kids, would stand in a line along the wall and wait for our turns to get our plastic trays filled up with food. A school assistant, whom we called “duties”, would sit at a table and punch a hole in our lunch tickets. Or take our money if we were paying for just one lunch. Or, if you didn’t have a voucher or case, she’d write your name on a piece of paper noting that you owed the school money. Maybe it was $1.25 or so per lunch.

tray with food on it

I went through the line, got a plastic tray with little sections for each of the meal courses–heated canned corn, canned peaches, pepperoni pizza, a carton of milk. Truth be told, I didn’t mind. The lunches tasted pretty good and standing in line had its moments. Standing by a cute boy felt like a decent way to spend a few minutes, if I could position myself correctly.

The cold lunch kids just got to go sit down. They didn’t wait in line. The main downfall of the hot lunch line in my opinion was that all the best seats got taken by cold lunch kids. They’d be eating by the time I got to sit down. They’d be eating their perfect white bread peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, their Oreo cookies, their little carrot sticks.

And there was Katie with her perfect apple slices every day. Golden delicious apples, I remember. Every time. Her mom made them with an apple slicer that made the wedges and cored the apple at the same time. How genius. My mom would never have bought such a contraption when she could slice up an apple with a knife. How I admired those apple slices, so perfect. Katie, so pretty, so blonde, ate them with a relish of her pretty, perfect lips. We were friends, pretty Katie and I. And I watched her eat those apples over and over again. She gave me slices sometimes. I liked those delicate, cold-lunch apples.


Back when I had so much time.

When my problems were about who I played with at recess, about having to call my stepdad “dad” even though it felt weird, and maybe sort of thinking about how I’d grow up and be an anthropologist who studied ancient Greece or Papua New Guinea.

Climb up my apple tree

And my other friend from back then, from that school, Heidi. She had a couple of apple trees in her back yard. They were small, as apple trees often are, and we could climb them pretty innocently. Not far to fall. Her dad didn’t care, anyway, and her mom never seemed to notice much what we were doing. So we’d climb the tree and sit up there and talk. Maybe practice swearing. When you’re up in a tree, you’re just a little more hidden, a little more off the radar. There a feeling of danger and freedom up there, even if it’s only six or seven feet off the ground.

“Fuck it. Shit asshole. Mother fucker.”



I feel sad, said the woman.
Sad all the time.
Sad if there’s whiskey,
Sad if there’s wine.
I cry in the morning,
I cry to the moon
Can you help me feel better?
It’ll be none too soon.

mother goose