Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How Breaking Bad saved two German kids from the Teutonic Drug War

Cultural stereotypes can keep people out of prison. Yes, most of what we read and hear about stereotypes indicates it normally works the other way round, with stereotypes making lives harder or simply destroying lives.

The innocents abroad face many a stereotype. To name but a few: cars and cowboys, hyper militarized torture crazies and peacenik hippies, some of the planets worst beers and some of the world's best drugs.

While we continuously hear how hard it is for native English speakers to learn German because you are instantly drafted as an involuntary tutor or, even worse, face a German or other ethnicity who spells English better than you, there is a less talked about role.

That of involuntary, unaccredited drug war consultant.

TV series revolving around drugs, like Breaking Bad, or a plethora of other series and Hollywood stoner movies since, at least, Cheech and Chong have deeply ingrained in almost all Europeans that any American knows drugs better than the locals.

The fact is that this is largely true for Americans who grew up during the Drug war, and thus no longer a stereotype in the dismissive sense of the term.

Here is a practical tip: If a German gets the impression you know more than him or her about drugs, do not tell him or her you do not use drugs. The blogster once told a German friend how easy going and non-judgemental American pot smokers are when you simply say "no, thanks", how that stoner friend of yours remains a friend despite you never touching a proffered joint. The smile and the head movement of that German friend translated approximately into "sure, whatever, I won't believe you, but hey".

So, if you don't actively dispel the notion created by these TV series and movies, you may be drafted as happened to the blogster. The blogster may not have been the consultant of choice but a victim of its* work schedule, which so happened to show ample free time in the morning.

Imagine an agitated phone call by a German parent, almost begging you to come over to the house because something relating to the teen kids happened.  Since you feel like having another cup of coffee, you try to determine the urgency of the request. The parent launches into a sentence starting with "we searched the room", at which point you cut off the poor adult and tell him or her to not say another word.

The situation at the parents' home was characterized by panic.

[Note: a number of facts and events have been left out of the following description, names are not the real names.]
Can I have a coffee? always helps, it breaks up what sounds like a Dada-esque automatic stream of consciousness flow of colliding utterances, and it gets you a coffee.

The found objects sat on the living room table. They included a small amount of pot in a half empty bay, several unused dime bags, and a scale.

Even without knowing details about the Teutonic Drug War, this looked bad.

Do you know how local police and courts typically handle possession of marijuana? was one of the many questions of the blogster trying to get a feeling of the threat to the kids.

The best the parents could do was cite some TV news and the story of a young woman a few blocks away. The young woman had been caught with a couple of grams of pot several years earlier, she had been sent to counseling, and she had struggled socially ever since she had returned.

Not because of the drug, but because of the stigma.

We will send her to group therapy, like Anna. If we do this before the police find out, she will have a second chance.

Oh, so you want her to get to know more people who have friends with better pot than this and maybe hard drugs?

The involuntary drug war consultant managed to calm the frayed nerves and suggested to call the other parents involved. And don't forget to get rid of the stuff.

A few years have since passed, and everybody is doing fine.

If you want to know a couple of reasons why the blogster finds the drug war evil, see this post.

* Gender neutrality at the K-Landnews as mandated by TheEditor.

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