My name’s Alex. I’m a five-foot dude who packs one hell of a punch:
- Third-year Biochemistry major at UC Berkeley.
- Dean’s List for eight semesters straight.
- President of Medical Society.
- Insta-famous (800K followers)
- Income of $200,000 a year.
That last part got you, huh? Yep. I made bank. You see, Berkeley is probably the most liberal college in all of the country. The majority of students here are angry most of the time for things they want to change. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s admirable. I get the whole pro-choice and gay rights dialogue, but when a weird few protest the color of Starbucks cups resembling Christmas imagery, I don’t really know which side to take because nowadays you piss off half of America with an opinion. Anyways, lots of angry kids go to Berkeley. So the demand for relief is high. I provided the best relief around. Marijuana. Angry rich kids with an opinion are the best clients for weed.
I made 200K a year because there are 38,000 students at Berkeley. 22,000 of those are hardcore liberals. Now, I don’t mean to make a connection between liberalism and smoking weed, but if you were to politicize getting high in terms of policy, it definitely falls towards the left. I had a large clientele who was willing to pay a lot for my weed because it gave them a quality high that’s also locally grown and organic. I made sure there was climate control, synthetic soil made from coconut husks, quality water, etc. I actually did the readings for my classes so I could grow the best weed. I had a Breaking Bad aesthetic, I know, but it was purely on the side and casual.
I was walking to class with my group of friends when one of the many protests along our usual route caught my attention. They were opting for Prop 64 to legalize marijuana in California. My best friend, Kyle, nudged me and said, “We don’t need it legalized because we’ve got you.” Another one of my friends, Cheryl (I think?), teased that she’d always buy from me because I was pretty cool. This was encouraging but I knew that if this proposition passed, then my business was done for. Any other conglomerate with a factory could make my product for cheaper and sell it in massive quantities. If I rallied against the proposition, I’d lose my clients’ loyalty. If I rallied for it, I’d be shooting myself in the foot. That was the beginning of the end.
We went to class and studied at the library afterwards. Now let me start off saying that I’m not that neurotic. But it’s common decency to ask how someone’s doing after they’ve asked you. That bitch Carol (I think?) straight up said “I’m doing well” and put her fancy-ass Apple AirPods in her perfect ears without giving me a second look when I asked her how she was doing. I turned to my Instagram and posted a photo of me shirtless at UC Santa Barbara (which usually gets me 3,000 more likes than usual). I’ve got friends in all the UCs. They all buy my product, too. We always have a blast when I travel around Cali. I didn’t need Carol. Her name sounds like kale. I left the library before I said something stupid. Kyle followed me out and stopped me at the lobby.
“What’s wrong? You didn’t even say bye. Is someone talking shit about you or something?”
Although I wished that was the case, it was far worse. I was beginning to think that everyone was my friend only because I sold them weed.
“No, it’s just my parents again.”
This was my go-to excuse every time I was less than chill. But it’s true 90% of the time. My parents are respected doctors and are more married to their research than each other. My dad once called me a useless prick for getting a B in organic chemistry when I went home for Christmas freshman year. My mom’s been having an affair for like four years now, but she’s still married to my dad for less taxes or something. She’s got a whole other family in Silicon Valley. But they’re Fulbright Scholars and have honorary degrees from every respected medical school. So the holiday dinners are swanky.
Kyle knew that he wasn’t supposed to ask anymore about them. I know not many guys show emotion, but I did in front of Kyle. If I could avoid it, then I would. So we agreed to never talk about my parents.
“The guys and I are going to a new bar tonight. You wanna come?”
“I’ve got research to do. Thanks though.” And I made my merry way out of the library.
I didn’t do anything that night. I just binge-watched The Walking Dead. It was the first time no one called or texted me for more than two hours since my emo days in middle school. I got two texts that night: one from a dude I met freshman year who was looking for weed, and another from my lab partner. She was a brilliant chemist so I hated her. I was a ruthless douche when it came to competing for med school. But she was cute. She texted me to see if I was doing okay and needed someone to talk to. I ignored her. It was embarrassing. Every lab after that night she would still be nice to me and invited me to study, get boba, and hang out. To be honest, I don’t know why I declined every time.
Over the next few weeks, my profits decreased by about 20%. I was back to my freshman days of business when I actually had to advertise. It was degrading. I texted all of my closest friends and got a bunch of read recipients but no actual responses, which really pissed me off because they shared something on Facebook about cheese-filled fried avocados and Donald Trump just a few minutes after they read my text. My instagram lost about 300K followers out of nowhere. I guess they were all spam accounts, but my pictures were getting less likes (even my shirtless ones).
November 8th came around. Proposition 64 passed. You should’ve seen Twitter that night. #FinallyLegalized was all I saw for days afterwards. Obviously, my business died. I shut down my farm and disposed of my product on the Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving break. I stayed in my dorm on Thanksgiving, and my parents didn’t seem to notice. Other things still looked up for me, though — I still dominated my classes and got the Medical Society on the LA Times for some research we did on cancer. But I ate lunch alone every day and binge-watched the entire Breaking Bad series in one week. I gained like 10 pounds and couldn’t post any more shirtless photos on Instagram.
Yeah, it’s messed up that all of my friends only liked me because I sold them weed. My life was just sad during that last part of the semester. I felt so sorry for myself that I started smoking weed to escape it all. About a week into smoking, I got stoned. I was on my bedroom floor laughing and crying. think I cried out to God at one point.
Tear-filled drool bubbled out of my mouth. I was totally wrecked. Then God strolled into my room and plopped down on the edge of my bed.
“You high as Heaven right now?” He asked.
“Am I going to hell for this?”
“No, of course not.” He chuckled.
I’m not a religious guy, but God seemed pretty chill. It was the first time I had a spiritual experience.
“Why am I a joke?”
“You’re not a joke. Your life is. Make some real friends.”
I think I felt myself smile for a second before my roommate started knocking violently on the door. I scrambled to my feet and let him in. Apparently he was knocking for thirty minutes. God wasn’t sitting on my bed anymore. The room reeked of pot. My roommate was pissed.
It was the week before finals when my lab partner invited me to get boba and study together for our exam. I really had nothing to lose at that point, so I didn’t care anymore. I said yes and I swear I think she squealed with excitement. We got boba and didn’t end up studying. We just talked for hours. I shared everything with her. More than I did with Kyle. Even the God thing, which still freaks me out to this day. She seemed to be honest about everything, which I liked. I actually remembered her name: Jane. On our way to the library, we were stopped by two policemen and a public safety officer.
“Are you Alex Carter?”
“Mr. Carter, you’re being charged for the illegal sale and possession of marijuana.”
Jane stepped forward. “But it’s legal now. You can’t arrest him for that.”
“I wasn’t talking to you, miss. Please step aside.” The policeman waved handcuffs at me. “Will I have to use these or can we just walk to my car and take a ride to the station?”
“No need, officer.” I motioned for them to lead the way.
Jane was heartbroken for me, which was nice to see. Not in a malicious way or anything. But to finally have someone who cared felt good. I was pretty bummed that we couldn’t get boba again soon. That was the only thing on my mind when I got into the back of the police car. Turns out the university was notified by a student informant who felt compelled to rat me out. I don’t know who they were, but that’s just about the shadiest thing you could do to someone. The scale of my project, and the fact that I racked in almost $650,000 with my product, warranted for a retrospective charge and investigation into my former business. The DEA almost got involved, too. I felt like Walter White. It was awesome. I was under house arrest at my dorm while the state government investigated me. It sucked because I missed all of my finals and they kept me there for most of winter break. But staying with my parents probably would’ve been worse.
The government seized all of my money and the county didn’t charge me with anything. Apparently my dad found out about the whole fiasco and asked for a favor from within the police department. The police let me go, but the university wasn’t happy about that. I was immediately expelled. Which meant no more Jane. Losing a friend was more disappointing for me than losing a career as a doctor, which meant something good. I still don’t know what it was, but it felt like enough.