By Patrick O’Grady
Myles Rockwell may be off on another kind of downhill run altogether, if you believe what you read in the papers.
According to The Durango Herald, the 2000 world-champion downhiller was briefly jugged on Tuesday in connection with the discovery of a marijuana farm that the cops said would’ve been good for 200 large on the street, and that ain’t hay, as they mostly don’t say any more.
Some judgmental types will be critical of Myles as a result, tsk-tsking as they sip their martinis, but not me. I may not be a former world-champion anything, but I am a former small-time wacky-tobaccy peddler, and you won’t see me throwing any leafy bricks from my grass house.
As the Herald told it, the narcs said they found a “hydroponic and fully automated indoor marijuana cultivation” setup at Myles’s home and seized 52 “high quality” sinsemilla plants with a street value of $200,000. If proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, this means that Myles is not only a much better mountain biker than me, he’s a much better ganja dealer, too, if you overlook the whole getting-arrested thing.
I didn’t grow anything but hair, and plenty of it, when my roommates and I were retailing grass at a smallish Colorado college back in the early Seventies. We bought our dope by the pound from a wholesaler I knew in another town, broke the pounds down into ounces and sold the ounces to other, less enterprising dopers.
Our Mexican ditch weed resembled today’s sinsemilla about as closely as the 1971 Schwinn Varsity I rode everywhere resembles a 2004 Giant DH Team. Still, it was illegal, so we never kept more than a few oh-zees on hand unless we were turning a pound into lids. Once Baggied, our stock went into a tinfoil-lined footlocker that we had buried off-premises in the boonies; we held only what we needed to do business for a day or two and congratulated ourselves on being very cagey and businesslike.
But mota, like martinis, is an intoxicant, and if you consume too much of either on a regular basis, your professional judgment gets a tad hazy, like one of those Joan Collins closeups in that “Star Trek” episode. C’mon, man, you remember, the one where McCoy jumps through this, like, talking doughnut and goes back in time to the Depression and saves Joan, who’s, dig it – a peace activist – from getting croaked by a speeding car and the Nazis win World War II and the Enterprise fuggin’ disappears, man, leaving everyone trapped on this planet with the talking doughnut unless Kirk and Spock go back too, and . . . and. . . . Oh, yeah, right, and so in addition to our retail stock, we all had personal stashes, augmented with personal fetishes (a gram of hash here, a tab of mescaline there, and some psilocybin in the freezer that probably was really a handful of Safeway mushrooms marinated in LSD).
Anyway, all this amateur pharmacology added up to something like Possession with Intent to Sell, Felony Stupidity, and Subconscious Wish to Play Center and Quarterback in an 8-by-12 Cell with a 300-Pound Roommate Named Tiny Who Thinks Hippies Are Cute. If someone had dropped a dime on us, as is customary in these cases, not one of us would have been able to come up with 1 percent of the $10,000 bail that Myles was forced to pull together.
But then none of us could have built an automated hydroponic farm, either. We were only 19, and frankly, we were just too stoned. We did manage to assemble a monstrous joint once, using an ounce of ditch weed, a tinfoil mouthpiece and the giant rolling paper in Cheech and Chong’s “Big Bambu” album, but that was about it. My dog Jojo had a higher GPA than I did, and he never even went to class.
We were, in a word, lucky. Our buried stash got ripped off once, and one late night I got caught in a speed trap with a sack full of weed in plain sight on the back seat of a friend’s car. Fortunately, the cops were preoccupied with the bells and whistles of their new radar gun, so I asked them to show me how it worked and they ended up zapping a few other folks for show and cutting me loose. Then another friend overheard some serious cops in a local eatery discussing plans for a dope bust, and we held an frantic “Going Out of Business” sale. It was a small town, and while we weren’t exactly the local drug scene’s Wal-Mart, we definitely felt like a Target.
Actually, we were more like National Public Radio – a non-profit organization. I retired from dope dealing with just enough cash to trade up from my Schwinn to a 1963 Chevy Biscayne, dropped out of college at the end of the year and eventually wound up in a rental house in Colorado Springs, catty-corner from a massage parlor.
Shortly afterward, I totaled the Chevy trying to occupy the same space as a Burlington Northern freight train, which goes to show you how much I learned about physics during two years of college. I’d quit smoking dope and was driving to my job at a newspaper. My new friends and I spent our off-hours drinking margaritas and smoking cigarettes, and the cops mostly left us alone.
Is he, like, right on, man, or living proof that the stuff damages your brain? Blow some smoke our way at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to include your full name, city and state. We promise not to turn you in to Sgt. Stadanko.