No. 1031



My good friend, the late Bob Murphy, used to tell a story about two men who were talking. One said, “What is this stuff they call marijuana? The other one said, “Well, it is something that grows like weed, they call it ‘pot’ and people smoke it, and they say it sends them on a trip.” This other man said, “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. We have always had a pot -- we kept it under the bed and it kept us from making a trip.”
This story came to mind some time back while talking with a local minister when I called to invite him to have lunch with me. He said, “This is a bad week for me, as I am preparing to preach two funerals this week, a man and his wife, victims of a double homicide that took place here in our community.” By the time our conversation took place, it had become known that the couple’s 14-year-old grandson was reportedly involved in the murders, along with three other 17-year-old youths, who were suspects and being detained in the county jail. After hearing the comments from my minister friend, I made the statement, “Our society has gone to pot.”
The reason I wanted to share this with you is because my comment was more about the common expression “gone to pot” that has been around since at least the 16th century, and not the use of marijuana that we think of when we hear the word used today. While doing research, I found some information that may be of interest to you. One definition for “gone to pot” is an item that is broken, defective or substandard.
Two explanations have been historically applied. The first is that in olden times when food was scarce, people would leave the bones, fat and undesirable portions behind after eating their meals. These second-rate items would be used for soup the next day, so as such, the poor-quality leftovers would “go to pot”. The second (and more plausible) explanation is that in the days of the industrial revolution and early mass-production, assembly workers would occasionally find a defective or out-of-tolerance part which was not suitable for use. This part would be sent back to the smelting room to be melted down and recast a second time. Since the smelting was done in a giant pot, these defective parts had “gone to pot”.
In either case, the phrase gained popular use by the American homeowner, who would occasionally wear out an item that would fail, often at an inconvenient time. Here is a sentence that vividly illustrates what I am saying: “Joe failed to take his car in for routine maintenance. I was not surprised that his vacation was ruined when his car went to pot last summer.”
To be sure, these examples, as they relate to the negative effect they have on our society, are far less than the devastating effect marijuana or “pot” is having on us today. After the double homicide here in our community, the following week came the news account that a Memphis police officer, Sean Bolton, had been murdered during a routine traffic stop that involved less than two ounces of marijuana. Illegal drug use is also suspected in the double homicide that took place here in our community.
For me, here is the bottom line. When we consider what marijuana and other illegal drugs are doing to the lives of thousands of Americans each year, it is time to stop trying to be politically correct, and just call a spade a spade and let the chips fall where they may. Why should we sacrifice countless human lives because our government, and those who profit from growing, manufacturing and selling drugs (both legal and illegal) want the money and tax revenue? Could there be other ways to raise revenue with far less devastating consequences? At least it is something to think about. People are far more important than money.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)