Kalah Allen

I'M JUST YOUR AVERAGE, everyday, middle-aged, unionized working man. I work for a national company, where 40 hours a week I can be found tossing freight in a warehouse, running forklifts, and driving box trucks across two states. After a hard-day's work when I'm looking to mellow out, I smoke weed. It is the perfect thing for me to reach a nice moment of zen and wash away a stressful day.

Astute readers can probably infer that the company I work for wouldn't be too happy to learn about my after-work activities. In fact, the week after recreational marijuana was passed in the state where I live, the human resources department sent out a companywide email explaining that their policies on marijuana use had not changed. They would still adhere to federal law, and anyone found "in possession of or under the influence of marijuana on company property, or during work hours, could be subject to termination." Everyone I work with is eternally uncool and 10-plus years my senior, so the odds of them reading this article are extremely low, but I'd rather not take the risk. Hence the pen name.

The company I work for, fortunately, does not perform random drug tests, and I would have to be a complete imbecile to manipulate heavy machinery while high. And I would never bring my stash to work. So, being caught red-handed is a non-issue. However, if I were to crash a truck, injure myself, or cause X amount of damage to company property, I'd be required to go down to the test center and piss in a cup that very same day. Since marijuana can stay in your system for up to a month, my piss would most certainly be green, and there would be no real way for me to prove I wasn't ripped at the time.

Naturally, I find this to be utter bullshit. I'm a well-liked, loyal employee with a stellar work ethic. I've had a job since I was 15. I have never been unemployed, never been fired, and I can count on one hand how many jobs I've had. In the four years I've worked for this company, I've never been late. My toking up on my off time has nothing to do with who I am at work. It's not the fucking 1940s anymore. It's a brave new world with billboards for weed shops decorating the horizon. Capable and smart people have created many healthy ways for me to consume THC, and there's a new tax revenue pipeline that is doing states a lot of good. Reefer madness is a myth, and the whole stigma of the useless, stupid pothead is fading fast.

If companies are gonna make generalizations and judge people by the vices they have behind closed doors and not by their performance at the workplace, let's look at some other people I could be. How about a fat, sweaty pig who swills a six-pack of 16-ounce beers when he gets home every night and passes out in his armchair? What if I were a pompous, know-it-all prick who only drinks aged Scotch from a specific region in Scotland? Maybe it would be better if I were a coke fiend who hasn't slept for a few days, doing bumps off the dashboard of company vehicles. Or I could be a slobbering drunk who downs a fifth of his preferred poison and shows up hungover and angry to work every day.

Or, I could just be myself. A hard-working, responsible, kind-hearted, well-mannered, moral man that gets groovy after his work is done, then wakes up fresh and ready for work the next day.

Who would you rather have working for you?