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How Life Builds The Backbone

This is a story about poor decisions made while being young and reckless. Through these respective experiences I have been taught a difficult lesson regarding the importance of surrounding yourself with quality people, as well as avoiding situations that potentially endanger you. When I was interacting with the individuals mentioned, I truly believed that everyone was good at heart and that if they were having a hard time, I could somehow “change” them through patience & understanding. How naive and stupid. These events are what grew my backbone and acutely shaped my personal conduct and decision making.

While attending college on the East Coast I made the decision to move off campus for my sophomore year and found a roommate through craigslist. He was an older male, ex-navy and going to the same school as me on the GI bill. All was well for the first few weeks, until it became increasingly apparent that he had a significant drinking problem which he had hid successfully from our mutual friends as well as myself for the first few weeks we were living together. He became unpredictable and aggressive at all times, he began stealing my things & eating my food but when I put my foot down the day I was headed out of town for the weekend he proceeded to threaten me with extreme violence/rape. I was bombarded with sexually explicit messages and graphics through both my text messages as well as my email, & truly began to fear for my safety. This in response to me requesting that he pays me back $3.57 for my breakfast, which he ate in a drunken stupor & then spewed all over the living room.

At this point, I got my parents, the local police and our landlord involved with the situation. My roommate was evicted by my landlord, the police began escorting me to school while my restraining order went through the court system and my parents installed a GPS tracking device with my consent on my phone so they could track my whereabouts at all times to make sure I was safe. Needless to say, besides trying to focus on my studies I was living in constant fear of the roommate returning to my apartment in violation of the court order to assault me. This submission has less to do with the horrendous individual with whom I previously lived, but an acquaintance whom I shall call M that lived on the same floor as me my freshman year when I still lived on campus. I include the information pertaining to my former roommate so as to paint a clear picture of my living circumstances/frame of mind.

One evening I had just finished eating dinner and went through the nightly routine of locking all doors/windows, pulling down the blinds, making sure I had pepper spray and a knife on hand (this was recommended to me by the cops who had gone out of their way to check up on me) when there was a knock on the door. I was absolutely terrified, as I had not expected any visitors and had gone out of my way that semester to disappear & cut social ties entirely in preparation for a quiet transfer and out-of-state move to escape the former roommate. Pepper spray in hand, I looked through the peephole and saw M. Confused, still feeling scared and very cautious, I opened the door to ask what I may do for him.

Let’s take a step back – when M & I met freshman year, he was quite a habitual 420 participant, which I had no problem with. Through rather bizarre circumstances several months later I was given an incredible amount of marijuana by a friend, and being as I had no intention of smoking it and didn’t know what to do with it so I called the only person I knew (M) and gave it to him. In hindsight this was incredibly reckless. If I had known that the “gift” I was being given was an illicit substance I would have never accepted it, let alone passed it along to someone I didn’t entirely trust. The transaction occurred at my apartment, which is how M knew where I lived.

Fast forward to the evening he knocked on my door – M informed me that the school was kicking him out for some vague reason, and would I mind letting him live with me so he could continue his relationship with his girlfriend while he went through the appeals process with the university? I’m pretty sure the only mumbled response I had was, “Um…. Excuse me?!” When I realized he was in earnest, I immediately said no and told him that my main reason for denying his request was due to the fact that I was involved in a delicate living situation at the moment, and that I had the cops and my landlord keeping close tabs on me – knowing it would be the last thing he would want while he continued to deal drugs around campus. He became increasingly agitated, & whined, “Well, I already told my parents that I’d be living here – they’re outside ready to help me move in.”

Sure enough, I peek around him and out in front of my place is a couple in a minivan that is packed with M’s possessions. They were sitting in the idling car with the back door slid open, so the interior lights shone upon all of his things, giving the impression that they were going to chuck his stuff out, slam the door & peel out of there. I immediately walked out, introduced myself, and told his parents that under no circumstances could their son move in with me. I didn’t even state my reasons (and there were plenty), I just told them no and to never come back to my home again. They offered an insincere apology, but then began to beg and attempt to guilt me into taking in their son. Completely dumbfounded, I continued to say no. It eventually came out that he had been driving around campus/town with his parents stopping at every house/apartment where he knew someone that lived there hoping that someone would take him in. It was the most bizarre and uncomfortable exchange I’ve ever had in my entire life, but the fact that these parents were completely ok with dumping their son off on the first person whom they could successfully bully into taking in their child was absolutely astounding. The good news is, I am no longer in the habit of making stupid decisions about the situations I put my self in or the people I surround myself with. I never did hear about M or what happened to him and his parents. 0419-15

You gave a significant amount of marijuana to a drug dealer?   You could have taken it to the police and ratted on the “gift” giver or simply trashed it.   But lesson learned.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Yasuragi April 20, 2015, 5:59 am

    How bizarre. Who gives an incredible amount of marijuana to a non-smoker as a gift? If someone tried to give me something like that I’d assume it was stolen and there was a dangerous person looking for it. I’d return it to the giver immediately and never speak to them again.

    • JeanLouiseFinch April 20, 2015, 9:47 pm

      Actually, that happened to me once. The giver was a gangbanger friend of my brother’s, who insisted that I take it, and I did not have the nerve to refuse. Since I wasn’t about to turn my brother or his friend into the police, I just gave it to my roommate’s boyfriend, who I knew smoked pot. I did tell him though, that I did not want him to bring it to our apartment or to store it there.

      • Raymee April 21, 2015, 7:25 am

        Umm… do you know what the word “gangbanger” means? I think should should look it up before you drop it in conversation.

        • LovleAnjel April 21, 2015, 11:07 am

          Gangbanger means someone who is in a street gang.

          I believe you are thinking of something entirely different, which is two separate words and describes an event, not a person.

        • FadingAmaranth April 21, 2015, 2:27 pm

          It means a person in a gang…there’s nothing wrong with the way it was used. It’s an accepted term, amongst most older people and younger people. There is a sexual component to gangbang but no one would use gangbanger in that context.

          • Powers April 21, 2015, 3:55 pm

            Is there something wrong with the term “gang member” that compels people to use a word that could easily be mistaken to mean “one who gangbangs”?

          • FadingAmaranth April 26, 2015, 9:10 pm

            The way I understand it is that it’s gangbanger because it references the fact that they go around shooting each other. It’s been commonly accepted to the late sixties, early seventies.

        • Snowy April 25, 2015, 10:52 am

          It has more than one meaning. One is sexual, one is not.

  • Kovi April 20, 2015, 8:12 am

    The drug had been given over by a ‘friend’. Probably not a very good one, but handing it over to the cops would mean they’d want to know who had given it to our OP in the first place. I completely understand not wanting to do that, and start a whole new issue with someone else when she wasn’t feeling safe yet after the incident with her first room mate.

    OP, it sounds like you had a terribly rough time. I am happy to hear that you make better decisions, now. And I hope that terrifying room mate with the drinking problem never bothered you, again.

    • girl_with_all_the_yarn April 20, 2015, 1:54 pm

      Also, in most states even turning it over to the cops is “possession” and can get you in a lot of trouble.

      • NostalgicGal April 21, 2015, 12:08 am

        You bet it can. I rented an apartment, the fixtures had been in there a while, and while cleaning behind fridge (I couldn’t get it OUT so I was on TOP of it using stuff to reach down… and hooking stuff out of the coils in back). I got a very good paring knife (hand forged and hideously expensive), a red colored light bulb, a half pack of some really raunchy and ancient incense, and nearly a full ounce of pot in a baggie.

        It had been there for a long time. I flushed it, tossed the baggie after a good rinse, and told my landlord. He ran a pawn shop and was used to dealing with undercover and the incredible stupids that thought EVERY pawnshop was a fence… he knew I wasn’t that sort and he said thank you for just flushing the pot. It was there before he bought the building; and it would have just been one long headache with police involved… Unless you’re working with the police and literally under surveillance, just dispose of the pot. I’d say I would’ve given it right back to whoever tried to give it to me!

        OP, glad you didn’t cave and hope you like your shiny spine you got out of it. Too bad you had the other crapola with the ex-roomie.

        • mark April 21, 2015, 9:42 am

          Also never forget to keep your mouth shut. I mean years later it is a funny story but while you live there, the less said the better.

          Anything with drugs brings out crazies on both sides (the users and the cops). You don’t want to deal with either, both are violent and brutal.

          • NostalgicGal April 22, 2015, 1:52 pm

            Yep Yep and Yep. That is in ancient past. I could talk to the landlord, though, and he did need to know. If they ever brought a drug dog in the building and the dog got a ‘hit’ because of residue in behind that fridge, he needed to know!

            I can understand if the OP’s friend had handed a sealed brown bag or something to the OP, then left, THEN the OP found out what it was… I would have just quickly and totally disposed of it (flush funeral) and burned the bag somewhere or buried it deep in landfill fodder. (dumpster away from home)

      • Britney April 21, 2015, 12:49 pm

        This happened to a girl I knew in college. She left a party and found cocaine in her bag. I’m not sure how much there was but she went to turn it in to the police and they arrested her for possession. The charges ended up getting dropped but it cost her a fortune in time and legal fees. No one needs that type of stress for trying to do the right thing. It’s better just flush it and be rid of the problem.

  • Michelle April 20, 2015, 8:13 am

    How completely awful. Sorry you had such a terrifying experience.

    I have to ask though- you were being so careful and cautious, yet you walk out to the car of a casual acquaintance from freshman year and introduce yourself to his parents? A person you knew was a drug user/dealer (you said he “continued to deal drugs on campus”) and that you had given drugs to previously?

  • Linda April 20, 2015, 8:38 am

    Yeah, someone gives you a whole lot of marijuana, you have no intention of smoking it, yet in the same breath you give it to someone you know smokes it then claim to be ignorant of the fact that it’s an illicit substance. Sounds fishy to me. In fact, I’m having a lot of trouble seeing any type of etiquitte issue in this post at all. Sounds like mostly legal trouble.

    • EllenS April 20, 2015, 2:27 pm

      While I commend the OP on starting to put the pieces together on how to keep safe from users and dangerous people, I agree that it seems there is a long way to go in clear and forthright thinking.

    • Ulla April 21, 2015, 12:59 am

      The only way I could make sense of it was that it is written partly with hindsight. As in: it would make sense if at first she didn’t know what the gift was either because she haven’t seen it yet or opened only some time after receiving it or didn’t realize at first what it was. Thus, not first knowing the gift was going to be illicit substance and had already accepted the gift expecting it to be something normal. And after that wanted just to get rid of it.

      • Calli Arcale April 21, 2015, 12:10 pm

        I thought it was fairly clear that she was writing with hindsight.

        • Snowy April 25, 2015, 10:58 am

          >If I had known that the “gift” I was being given was an illicit substance I would have never accepted it,

          This could indicate they didn’t know it was pot at the time (likely), or that they didn’t realize pot was illicit (unlikely).

          >let alone passed it along to someone I didn’t entirely trust.

          Obviously OP knew what it was by the time she passed it on, because she specifically chose to give it to someone who would appreciate it. This indicates either A: a high level of naivety, and/or B: poor judgement.

  • clairedelune April 20, 2015, 8:41 am

    It doesn’t sound like “M” was a drug dealer, just a very enthusiastic consumer. (At least, based on what OP tells us.)

  • Tracy W April 20, 2015, 8:53 am

    Well done on the backbone shown there.

    Although I note that when I was at university I didn’t even ask my parents’ opinions about my living situations except when I wanted to stay with them (I told them what I was doing, as part of general news, but I didn’t expect them to take any responsibility after I turned 18 and could sign my own contracts, and gosh that was a relief when it happened). And most of my friends were in the same situation. So the main thing that strikes me as unusual about the parents’ behaviour was that they were willing to patiently drive around town and stop at multiple houses/apartments.

    • EchoGirl April 20, 2015, 11:07 pm

      That part actually doesn’t surprise me at all. I actually had a roommate with parents like that.

      Let me preface by saying that my roommate, L, is nothing like M. She was sometimes a little forgetful and more than a little disorganized (her room perpetually looked like a bomb went off in there) but she’s a good student and a sweetheart who’d give you the shirt off her back, no questions asked. But L’s mother seemed to still think her daughter was 10. For example, when we moved into our second apartment together, one room was much smaller than the others. L offered to take the small room because our other roommate, B, is claustrophobic and I was the only one who really lived exclusively in the apartment (our hometown was only an hour or so away, so B and L frequently spent weekends at their parents’ homes). Simple, dealt with, over…until L’s mother came into the picture and got upset because her daughter had the smallest room (no, this did not actually cause any change in the arrangements, just a lot of stress all around).

      Yeah, parents like that exist.

    • MPW1971 April 21, 2015, 6:43 pm

      I erred earlier in my estimate of when this occurred, but the OP mentioned that her roommate was found on craigslist, which would mean it happened within the last 10 years. Helicopter parents have been around for longer than that, but the “modern” version of overprotective and over-involved parents is a product of the 2000’s. My bankers have told me of young adults – some even being recent college graduates – are brought in to the bank by their parents, to open their first bank account. These are 21 and 22 year olds who have never even had a job where they were paid by direct deposit. My friends who are university/college instructors have had, for a decade or more, no end of trouble with parents coming in to argue their children’s grades – some even without the children – because they pay the bills. (Fortunately for them, when the student is an adult, they are restricted by law to only discuss grades with the student.) So parents who pay the bills and even manage the finances (and schooling) of their university-aged children, are not so hard to imagine. This is a relatively new thing – I’m Canadian and the age of legal emancipation is 18, and where and when I attended university in the early 90’s, the drinking age was 19. Most students attended university the year they turned 19. Parents were far less involved in anything but their children’s first year, beyond which very few lived on campus, simply because we were all legal adults in every sense. Simply by being a student we could get credit cards, in our own name – albeit with $500 limits – so it was, almost universal, that students were their own masters. Not quite so much anymore.

      • Lerah99 April 22, 2015, 11:28 am


        My friend, Sarah, is a VP for a financial services company in their Boston Office.
        She posted a part time administrative assistant position and was horrified by the arrested development of the candidates and by the helicopter parents.

        She had people who were 24 – 26 working on Master Degrees who had NEVER had any type of job before. They had lived off scholarships, grants, and their parents.

        She had a 25 year old young man who was coming in for an interview. His mother called to let HR know he was running late. And then his mother wrote the thank you note for the interview.

        She had a 24 year old woman who informed her “I’m happy to take the job, but I’m at my most productive from 8pm – Midnight. So I’d need the hours changed to accommodate my natural bio-rhythms.

        She had a 26 year old (I can’t remember the gender) who said that drug testing was Fascist and they would arrange a protest outside the building if the company insisted on it.

        She had multiple candidates who checked their phone DURING their interview. And one who actually updated their Facebook status while being interviewed.

        She had a 26 year old guy who brought in a McDonald’s bag and proceeded to eat his Big Mac and Fries during the interview.

        She had a young woman who told her “I understand you have this desire to be professional and all – but I’m going to need an exception to the dress code because my feet are just happier in flip-flops.”

        She had more than one parent call her to follow up on behalf of their kids.
        One of the mother’s offered to bake her cupcakes if she would hire the mother’s daughter.

        • admin April 22, 2015, 1:31 pm

          This needs to be a separate blog post of its own.

          • NostalgicGal April 22, 2015, 2:00 pm

            Agreed. I will add the number of entry type jobs I’ve held, both with uniforms and without, just to make ends meet or the like; and have to teach college grads basic skills…. like how to sweep and mop a floor. You spilled it, you clean it up and yes it’s in the job description. “Elbow Grease” is not ‘grease’ you apply from a container. Fingernails? That $145 acrylic job is going to be toast by the end of this shift, I don’t care if you just had it done three days ago, I’m not scrubbing the chicken grill grating for you. (where’s the helicopter parents then? About two days later in the manager’s office raising a fit because instead of running the cash register (which precious can’t figure out what buttons to push after training) they have to do all this grunge work when things are slow… and precious usually gets to move back home again)

  • JesBelle April 20, 2015, 8:57 am

    I’m pretty sure that when you gift a merchant with some of the product they sell, they owe you, not the other way around.

  • A different Tracy April 20, 2015, 9:09 am

    I’m wondering what kind of person doesn’t realize marijuana is an “illicit substance.” The entire story is suspect to me, and this weird little detail the cherry on the sundae.

    • Lis April 20, 2015, 3:32 pm

      Someone in a country/state where it’s legal in some contexts would be my guess.

    • SherlockSara April 20, 2015, 7:03 pm

      There are more than one place in our own dear country where it is no longer illegal.

      From the introduction of the post it seems like the OP is going to college in a state she is not from, so who knows which state she grew up in. Perhaps one where it is perfectly legal.

  • Jessica April 20, 2015, 9:30 am

    So was this purposely posted on 4/20, or was that just irony? 🙂

    • admin April 20, 2015, 12:00 pm

      Just serendipitous. I don’t know the reference to “420”.

      • Mary April 20, 2015, 12:10 pm

        I didn’t until I was listening to the radio this morning and they kept referencing 420. I guess the number 420 refers to the use of marijuana (and it has nothing to do with a date, I guess it has to do with a group that would meet at 4:20 every afternoon to smoke. I had to read this online. After hearing the 420 references on the radio, I was wondering the same thing about this post today.

        I always thought of this day in the form of Hitler’s birthday. The only reason I know that is because it’s also my mother’s birthday.

        • FadingAmaranth April 20, 2015, 12:43 pm

          4/20 is supposedly the police code for someone selling or using marijuana (something like that). And that’s why 4/20 is a thing for immature people.

        • ColoradoCloudy April 20, 2015, 1:23 pm

          Apparently 420 is the police code for marijuana or something like that. I live in Colorado, and frankly, the whole 420 day thing is just really getting on my nerves. There are huge rallies with people smoking weed in public, which is still illegal, even here. It’s just all gotten out of hand.

        • Jessie April 20, 2015, 1:38 pm

          It is my mother’s birthday as well!

      • Ellex April 20, 2015, 12:46 pm

        It’s not unusual in my city to see roommate/ housmate ads saying that they are “420 friendly” – meaning there will be marijuana consumed on the premises.

        April 20th, (4/20) is kind of a pot smoker’s holiday.

      • Jessica April 20, 2015, 2:11 pm

        I’m only aware of it because of kids talking about it when I was in high school. According to Wikipedia, “April 20th has become a counterculture holiday in North America, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis.” I didn’t even think about the date until I read the “420” reference in the submission.

    • Saucygirl April 20, 2015, 12:26 pm


    • CJCarville April 20, 2015, 8:43 pm

      I think you mean coincidental. Irony is the opposite of what’s intended.

  • JustMe April 20, 2015, 9:33 am

    I think I’m more curious as to the marijuana.
    You took it, knowing you weren’t going to smoke it, apparently knowing what it was, called a friend that you knew partook, and then to say if you knew it was illicit you wouldn’t have accepted it.


    • Lindenharp April 20, 2015, 2:42 pm

      I took that to mean that the OP did not know what the “gift” was until it was too late to refuse/return it. Maybe it was well-wrapped in something like a paper bag taped shut, and the giver said, “Hey, this is for you!” and hurried off before the OP could examine the contents?

      • RigaToni April 20, 2015, 5:32 pm

        This is exactly as I read it. You open a wrapped present, and now you’re in possession of copious amounts of MJ.

        And I’m kind of a prude when it comes to a lot of things, but I think we’re getting way too hung up on the whole thing with the pot. When I was in college 20 years ago there was plenty of smoking and I would have wanted it the HELL out of my house/dorm room/etc so I didn’t get caught with it, but I would have gladly handed it over to any of my acquaintances who used it regularly. I just wasn’t a smoker of pot so the risk wouldn’t be worth it.

        It’s not ecstasy or heroin or something you can die of… it was simply illegal in most places. And now, it’s illegal in fewer and fewer places. If the college was in Washington state or Colorado, it’s only illegal because of the large quantity.

        • Monkeys mommy April 21, 2015, 2:11 pm

          Yeah, I didn’t get that impression at all. Maybe I was misreading, but it seemed she knew that it was weed when she took it, claimed not to know it was illegal, and “gave” it to M. I say “gave” because when I read it, I wondered if M gave OP something green in return.

          As far as people who are pointing out it is legal now in some
          States, for how long?? Not so long that OP wouldn’t be aware of the formerly illegal status in her state (if that is even the case) and certainly she couldn’t be dense enough to think the whole country had legalized?

          I don’t know… This story is off. And has nothing to do with etiquette.

  • MamaToreen April 20, 2015, 9:39 am

    Wait, you didn’t know Marijuana was illegal? What state are you from? Very few have legalized recreational marijuana.

    • Devin April 20, 2015, 5:49 pm

      Many states or municipalities have now ‘decriminalized’ it. Basically you can’t sell it, you can’t buy it, and even if you get caught with it, unless its a large quantity, you might get what amounts to a parking ticket. I went to one semester of college in a town that had decriminalized laws on the possession of marijuana. I only found that out after I had lived their for sometime, and I had grown up in a town 30 miles away.

      • MPW1971 April 20, 2015, 7:09 pm

        What’s to say that the story is set today or even in the recent past? Even a decade ago, (or less) some jurisdictions were treating moderate quantities of pot (even amounts which were for “personal” use) as enough to warrant a charge of trafficking…

      • MamaToreen April 22, 2015, 3:05 pm

        The OP also said East Coast. I don’t know if any of the East Coast states have decriminalized it. I am in NY, BTW

        • Elisabeth April 23, 2015, 7:17 am

          Marijuana is decriminalized in pretty much all of the Northeast – MA, ME, NY, CT, RI, VT… I’m from Massachusetts and it’s been decriminalized for at least the past 5 years.

  • Goldie April 20, 2015, 9:51 am

    Leaving aside the whole 420 component of this episode (because I’m not touching that with a ten foot pole in this thread), what were M’s parents thinking? First of all, if any kid of mine, heaven forbid, gets kicked out of school, he better feel pretty damn thankful that I will let him move in and live with me while he looks for a job, works at that job, and gets his life back together. There is no way I’ll be running around looking for a way for him to stay in the college town so he can be close to his girlfriend. Why should I reward him for a major screw-up that he brought upon himself? As a parent, I’ll provide support, but not a pat on the back, a gold star, and a permission to continue doing whatever got him kicked out of school in the first place. Second of all, how do two adults come up with this bright idea to move their son in with a girl in her late teens/early 20s WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT??? And then try to talk her into changing her mind when she says no??? This is so wrong, I think it might be crossing out of the etiquette and into the legal territory.

    When my kids were preteens, I read a book on parenting that I really liked, called “Kids Are Worth It”, which divided all parents into three categories – the jellyfish kind (super permissive), the brickwall kind (authoritarian), and the backbone kind (no explanation needed, I guess). M’s parents sounds like such pushovers in this story, they make the jellyfish type look strict! Utterly ridiculous.

    • Mary April 20, 2015, 1:46 pm

      I read this post as if the poster was male. Who just happened to be receiving sexual threats from another male. I couldn’t see a female in college (no matter how naïve) looking for and taking in a male roommate that she found on Craig’s list. Then the fact that another male asked to move in? I read this assuming that this was a male submitting the story. I could be wrong however.

    • Lindenharp April 20, 2015, 2:32 pm

      Do we know that the OP is female? I don’t see anything that indicates gender in the post. In any case, the parents don’t seem to care much about their son or his living arrangement if they were really driving all around town, and willing to drop him off at the home of the first person foolish enough to say yes.

      • Skaramouche April 20, 2015, 3:57 pm

        The only reason I assumed OP was female was because of the “rape” fear. This is not to say that males don’t get raped but it is more commonly a female cause for concern. If OP had been male, I would have expected him to be afraid that the former roommate would resort to violence, etc. but not necessarily rape. Of course, it’s all just conjecture on my part…

      • Asharah April 20, 2015, 6:11 pm

        “…when I put my foot down the day I was headed out of town for the weekend he proceeded to threaten me with extreme violence/rape. I was bombarded with sexually explicit messages and graphics through both my text messages as well as my email, & truly began to fear for my safety.”
        Sounds like a female to me. I might be wrong.

        • JKC April 21, 2015, 7:29 am

          It can happen to guys too, and if a young man were facing this sort of difficulty with an older, ex-military roommate, I can totally see why it would freak him out.

        • EchoGirl April 21, 2015, 11:25 am

          Me too. Not because rape can’t happen to men, but because rape threats as an intimidation tactic are almost exclusively used against women.

    • Goldie April 21, 2015, 12:57 pm

      Point taken, OP was probably male, but it doesn’t change what I think of these parents’ behavior. Though it explains it somewhat – still very rude, but not as bizarre as I initially thought. Parents have probably watched too many movies about college life, where one dudebro randomly shows up at another’s place uninvited to crash on his couch or what have you. Why they didn’t realize that movies =/= reality, I don’t know.

      • admin April 21, 2015, 2:33 pm

        OP is a female.

  • Raven April 20, 2015, 10:02 am

    I’m confused about the MJ. The way this was written, it sounds like OP did not realize it was an illegal substance, which was why she passed it on to a dealer – none of this makes any sense.

    Kudos for the polite spine regarding the couch surfer and his parents. How bizarre (and also, truly, how sad) that the parents were ok with their son just landing “wherever.” It doesn’t seem like they were very invested in his wellbeing.

  • Enna April 20, 2015, 11:08 am

    I am sorry to hear about your alcoholic housemate who was so badly behaved. The main lesson here is if someone finds themselves in a similar situation is to get out of it ASAP. Well done for standing your ground with M. But I have to say that you should have done what Admin said about the drugs – either got rid of it or handed it to the police – or even refused it. Have to say I think M would have tired to move in with you regardless of the drugs.

  • Lisa April 20, 2015, 11:19 am

    There has to be a lot more going on here than is being said.

    Why would anyone just give you a large amount of weed with no strings attached? And you didn’t know it was an illicit substance? I don’t think so. So then you gave it to the campus pot dealer? SMH.

    The story about the parents trying to pawn off their stoner son on anyone and everyone would have been bizarre enough on its own.

    • just4kicks April 21, 2015, 4:13 am

      @Lisa: your comment is pretty much word for word what I was thinking.
      I think OP definitely left something out of the story.
      Who just “gives you” a “significant amount” of pot without expecting SOME form of payment?!?
      I’m not a drug user, tried pot once in my teens and didn’t like it, but even in my very limited experience, no one just hands you drugs free and clear.

      And as soon as I saw the word “Craig’s list”, I knew this story wasn’t going to have a happy ending.

      • Devin April 21, 2015, 8:58 am

        When I was in undergrad living on campus, the last few days before break were always ‘interesting’. Anyone who had to fly home had to dispose of anything they had been stashing in their dorms, drugs, alcohol, candles, because the residential advisers would conduct room checks during breaks. Many students lived out of state and would fly home, so they couldn’t take the contraband with them. Most people would gift it to someone who lived off campus or someone would didn’t have to fly home for break. I wasn’t a user, but I also didn’t fly, so I was offered these ‘gifts’ on several occasions.

        • NostalgicGal April 22, 2015, 2:07 pm

          Or having to break down their grow system in their wardrobe and hide all traces. One a few down from me in dorm had made arrangements with their roomie to empty out one of the wardrobes and found an extension cord that matched the baseboard stuff (not wood) exactly and ran cord around to the wardrobe and up and in, and I was there the night they went through a chewing tobacco container and found all the seeds and planted the crop. They had to move 2′ tall plants and erase all signs of the lights and that… then get them back in there. They harvested before session was out for summer…

  • Cat April 20, 2015, 11:45 am

    My heart was in my throat because I was so afraid that the next line was going to be, “So I said he could stay just until the appeals process was resolved and then…”
    You were wise to stand your ground, regardless of their pleas. I would not have bothered to explain anything to his parents. I would have told him no and closed the door. His parents are his problem.
    As to the marijuana, I think I would have trashed it or turned it over to a local pastor and asked him to turn it in without giving my name. I would not have tried to turn in the one who decided to gift me with it in case he decided to deny all knowledge and left me holding the bag, so to speak.

  • mark April 20, 2015, 11:48 am

    Wow, I have to say even if everything were going perfectly and I just hadn’t had the roommate from hell, I still would not have taken this guy in. I’m sympathetic but not that stupid.

  • Meegs April 20, 2015, 12:07 pm

    This story makes no sense.

    • MamaToreen April 20, 2015, 12:27 pm

      My thoughts exactly. Notice what we all seem to be latching onto is the ignorance of marijuana’s legal status?

    • CJCarville April 20, 2015, 8:49 pm

      This story (and many other submissions) are so poorly written that we readers spend way more time trying to figure out the logic and details rather than the etiquette issue itself. The admin’s writing is fine, but when I spend more time trying to figure out specific details, I just give up deciphering what the rudeness is.

      This story made zero sense, I admit. I’m guessing the bulk of the stories are written in anger and frustration along with the writer’s strong sense of “right.”

  • Kat April 20, 2015, 12:38 pm

    This post makes me uncomfortable. I’m glad things worked out for the OP, but I don’t understand why this is an etiquette issue, and some of the more violent things mentioned are really disturbing.

  • Julie April 20, 2015, 12:45 pm

    1) she knew it was an illegal substance AFTER the friend gave it to her. Seems they may have given it to her without her initially realizing what the item would be, then when she realized it, she was probably afraid if she went to the police, SHE would be held responsible as the ”possessor”. 2) Not wanting to reveal who gave it to her is understandable in a generation that views pot as harmless and not a gateway drug, etc. This view is enabled by lack of life experience and also the newly prevailing legality of pot by too many states encouraged by ignorant and/or addicted voters. I know of what I speak as a recovering marijuana addict of decades use. 3) The parents undoubtedly were trying to dump the kid off as they clearly wouldn’t let him back into THEIR home. That’s actually pretty generous, driving him around looking for a place to dump him — I know of plenty of parents who sure wouldn’t go that far for their kid, and rightfully so, in many cases.

    I hope the OP truly has gotten an iron spine because at my age, 49, I have just learned to have one after having evicted FOUR people since January as roommates. Having an open heart is a luxury I can no longer afford.

    • mark April 20, 2015, 4:15 pm

      My impression from the story is the OP is male. But I don’t see that explicitly stated.

      • Julie April 21, 2015, 1:12 am

        I took it to be a female because of the statements about rape but you are right, that could certainly be a male

    • EchoGirl April 21, 2015, 11:35 am

      There’s a difference between thinking pot is completely harmless and thinking that criminalization isn’t the right approach. I’ve voted for legalization referendums, but not because I’m “ignorant or addicted”. I don’t smoke pot, never have and never will, and I know that it can be harmful and addictive, but I support decriminalization because I also don’t think that the War on Drugs mentality (treating every single person who uses drugs as if they are a dangerous criminal who needs to be locked up) is the right way to handle the situation. Tobacco can be harmful and addictive too (some of the effects cross over between the two) but most people don’t treat cigarette smokers as if they’re the scum of the earth just because they smoke.

      • Snarkastic April 25, 2015, 2:30 am

        Let’s not even start on the alcohol industry…

  • Stefanie April 20, 2015, 12:50 pm


    • mark April 20, 2015, 4:16 pm

      lol, I skimmed as much as read that huge wall of text.

  • cdubz April 20, 2015, 12:54 pm

    Actually, it sounds more like this is probably what happened:

    “Hey, OP, I have something for you” :hands over bag/box:
    “Okay, cool, thanks” :friend leaves, OP opens box/bag: “Why is this full of weed?”

    It sounds like the OP didn’t know she was getting marijuana, not that she didn’t know it was an illegal substance.

  • Skaramouche April 20, 2015, 1:15 pm

    Haha, I’m amused by the number of commenters who expressed disbelief at the fact that OP didn’t know that the MJ was an illegal substance. My initial reaction was the same but then I re-read that bit and now have a different perspective. I’m chuckling because it does sound quite ridiculous – “Sorry officer, I had no idea marijuana was illegal.” 😛 However, I think what OP actually meant was that she didn’t know she was receiving marijuana as a gift…as in, the gift had already been accepted and had changed hands before she found out the contents. This is the only thing that makes sense. I hope OP clarifies this for us.

  • Annon April 20, 2015, 1:32 pm

    So, OP said she moved off campus her Sophomore year, but met “M” her freshman year which is when she was gifted the weed?? How could “M” possibly know where she lived her sophomore year, if she gave him the weed during freshman year?? I know it said that the transaction took place at her apartment, but does the timing sound right? Or am I reading this wrong?

    Still, what person “gifts” a hefty sum of weed to someone else for nothing in return?? Story doesn’t sound legit……..and in all articles I have read (news sources, etc) I have never heard of police escorts until a restraining order goes through the courts?? They usually don’t have the resources to do this. The whole thing sounds off, but if it is true, I hope this person smartened up with who they hang out with, and don’t find roommates on craiglist anymore!

    • Aletheia April 21, 2015, 4:02 am

      The timeline works out well enough; M and OP could’ve met in freshman year, and stayed in touch afterwards. Sophomore year is only the year after freshman, after all, so it’s not unheard of; it’s not like there’s a span of decades between the two. 🙂 If they stayed acquaintances throughout their freshman year, OP could’ve felt comfortable enough to pass along the drugs when they received them, especially since they knew enough about M to know he was a user and/or dealer by that point. The “several months later” in regards to the weed “gift” is a little confusing, as it can either refer to “several months after freshman year” (so around September – the beginning of the school year in any case, and right around when OP first got the apartment and before the roommate turned horrific) or “several months after meeting M” (which could have the same timeline as the previous option if she met him at the end of their freshman year – or at least somewhere in the Spring semester, but carries the added implication that they really WERE just acquaintances and thus the OP didn’t know him well enough at all to trust him as a roommate.). 🙂

      As for the gifting versus selling (or getting something in return): there’s probably a whole slew of legal isues with that. I’m honestly not sure, but I would guess gifting would have brought around a lot lighter of a sentence if the OP had been caught, while getting “something” in return would have guaranteed a dealing charge (and probably conviction), as they would have technically been selling it.

  • boymom April 20, 2015, 1:50 pm

    Forget the weed; I’m shocked you made a fuss about 4 bucks worth of breakfast with an alcoholic, violent older former sailor. I know college can be tight, but really, that’s not worth the confrontation.

    • Ergala April 20, 2015, 6:07 pm

      It doesn’t matter if it was a $4 breakfast or $50 breakfast….you eat it and then proceed to vomit it all over the living room you better believe you are paying for it. The roommate had a violent reaction to a perfectly reasonable request. Whenever I’ve had to deal with someone who was attacked by an acquaintance…they usually say “They have a bad temper but I NEVER thought they would actually hurt me…”.

      There are rules of conduct when it comes to co-habitating. Not taking your roommates stuff is number 1, number 2 is not threatening to harm your roommate when you are called out on doing #1. There is absolutely no excuse for this guy’s behavior period.

    • Asharah April 21, 2015, 5:06 pm

      Haven’t you heard of “setting boundaries?” If OP didn’t try to put her foot down, he would have just kept stealing from her. Today it’s $4 in food, tomorrow it’s $10 from her purse cause he was short on cash for booze, in a month he’ll be stealing anything worth pawning.

  • Firecat April 20, 2015, 2:20 pm

    It’s not entirely clear from the way the post is written, but it sounds to me like the OP didn’t know what the gift was before she opened it. Once she opened it, she realized that it was marijuana and wanted to get rid of it, so gave it to M, as she knew M did partake, even if she didn’t entirely trust M.

    I can see not wanting to go to the police about it, out of not wanting to get the original giver in trouble, and due to the risk of the police being skeptical of the story. Depending on the amount and whatever other factors, the OP could have ended up in serious legal trouble herself. So I can understand, in the moment, just wanting to get rid of the stuff, and just picking the first person she could think of.

  • Wendy B April 20, 2015, 2:22 pm

    And no one thinks it weird that a young girl would accept an older man as her roommate, one she doesn’t know at all except he responded to an advertisement on Craigslist? Did OP even ask for any kind of references about him? I personally wouldn’t feel safe living with a man I didn’t know.

    And then the marijuana thing…yeah, that sounds fishy. OP knows what 420 means but doesn’t know it’s an illegal substance? Ummm…

    Also fishy is the part about walking out to talk to the parents when we’ve been so cautious up to now…

    • Devin April 20, 2015, 6:00 pm

      The ‘older man’ in this story might only be a few years old than the OP. To qualify for the basic GI bill, most vets only have to serve for 6 years. If you sign on in high school, at age 18, you’re done with your service by age 24. The ‘older man’ might have only been 3-4 years older than the OP.

      Granted, I would have done a thorough background check on any craigslist roommate, but being former military, he might have had excellent references.

      • Asharah April 20, 2015, 11:30 pm

        Maybe her parents wanted her to have a male roommate if she was going to live off-campus as a safety factor.

        • Green123 April 21, 2015, 5:02 am

          Do we know the OP is female or are we just assuming this? Men can be victims of sexual threats too…

          • admin April 21, 2015, 8:43 am

            I’ll end the controversy right now and report that the story was submitted by a female.

    • Aletheia April 21, 2015, 4:10 am

      Eh… the marinjuana thing does sound a bit fishy, but not necessarily for the reasons you mentioned. 🙂 It’s anecdotal evidence, I know, but I’ve never smoked pot (because of a handful of phobias and the like, among a general disinterest in doing so :/ ), but I still know what 420 is (both the supposed origins and how it’s used now). I also wouldn’t be able to tell you where it was and wasn’t legal to possess/use/whatever, or even if it was legal in my own state. I know it’s illegal in some states and legal in others, and in some states it’s legal but only in certain situations, etc, but since it’s not something I’d ever have to worry about, I don’t pay attention to what the particular laws are in the state I’m in – if that makes sense?

    • Stephbwfern April 21, 2015, 7:20 am

      They went to the sam school and had mutual friends. I don’t think, in OP’s mind, he was just some random guy. He was someone she “sorta knew”.

  • Rosie April 20, 2015, 2:43 pm

    I think the OP means that she didn’t know what was in the gift, and that she wouldn’t have accepted the gift if she knew it were marijuana, not that she didn’t know that marijuana was illegal.

  • CW April 20, 2015, 3:30 pm

    I think what the OP meant by not knowing they were getting an illicit substance was that they accepted a gift without knowing that the gift was marijuana. Meaning maybe they took a package, said thank you and opened it later. At least, that’s how I read it.

    Also I’m not sure how that huge back story has anything to do with saying no to some dude’s parents. It’s just bizarre.

  • Marozia April 20, 2015, 3:37 pm

    You cannot ‘change’ people. You can have all the patience and understanding in the world, but you can only work out their personality and go from there. I do applaud you, however, for being patient and understanding with people, that in itself is not naive.
    Congrats for the polite spine. Keep up the good work!

  • Lynette April 20, 2015, 5:14 pm

    boymom — You call it “making a fuss.” We call it “having a backbone” aka, respecting ourselves.

  • Ergala April 20, 2015, 6:10 pm

    My friend was in court fighting for custody of her two kids….she was currently homeless as was her husband. She informed the court she and her kids would be coming to live with my husband, newborn son and I….in our 2 bedroom tiny apartment. I didn’t know any of this was said until her mother told me. Thankfully I wasn’t put into a tough spot in front of a judge. However I don’t blame her all of it…her husband was extremely abusive and a pathological liar. I have a feeling he told her he spoke to my husband and I (we didn’t even know him) and that it was all worked out. When she left him not too long ago he really showed his true colors when he tried to have her thrown in jail for assault….she was leaving him and he tried to physically prevent her from leaving. She shoved him out of the way with her purse. He called 911 and said she beat him up.

  • JeanLouiseFinch April 20, 2015, 9:52 pm

    This sounds like the kind of thing that happens when a person is in college and away from home for the first time. OP, I am happy to hear that you came out of this weird situation as well as you did. My brother was always a person who kept pretty bad company, so I ended up involuntarily in contact with some pretty shady characters, ironically, when I went home. I was better off when I was on my own since my parents refused to believe there was anything wrong with my brother or his “friends.”

  • Miss Merlot April 21, 2015, 2:49 am

    Back in the day, I went on a first date with someone who as it turned out grew his own.

    Waking up the next day, I found a whole bag of the stuff in my handbag that he’d clearly “gifted” me while I wasn’t looking. I didn’t even smoke!

    I got nervous and put it in the dumpster behind my flat…

    • mark April 21, 2015, 9:49 am

      With “friends” like this who needs enemies. If you are pulled over and searched it sounds like he put enough in your bag for you to be charged with intent to distribute (actually not all that much.) Not a very nice thing to do.

      • Snarkastic April 25, 2015, 2:34 am

        Actually, it wasn’t an inexpensive gift.

  • April Obe April 21, 2015, 10:42 am

    I’m glad you’re safe and you’ve learned from your mistakes. 🙂

  • nannerdoman April 21, 2015, 10:44 am

    Oh, THERE’S a great recommendation for taking someone into your home–the school is kicking him out! Thank goodness you had the sense and the spine to turn him away. I wouldn’t even have gone out to “explain” to his parents–just said, “No way!” and closed the door.

  • MichelleP April 21, 2015, 11:38 am

    I believe every word of this, as some of it’s happened to me. I wasn’t crazy enough to live with a guy I didn’t know, but I did get a “present” of pot left in my car by my boyfriend’s friends after being nice enough to give him a ride. He knew the cops were had been tipped off about a cartel in the apartment building he lived in, and dumped if off on me. Thank goodness I found it the next morning, but then I panicked, ended up carrying it around in my purse all day not knowing what to do, and put it in a dumpster behind my work. (I was 18 at the time.)

    The parents driving around looking for a fool to dump their kid off on was the most realistic part of the story. Not long after the pot incident, I was living on my own in an apartment. I had neighbors all around, some good, some not. The couple downstairs were fine until they had some guy move in. Then it was loud music, people coming in and out at all hours, and cars taking over the backyard. I talked to them about it and they said they didn’t really want him there, he had climbed in their window while they were gone, and they just didn’t have the heart to kick him out. Well, I had the heart to tell our landlord there was a guy living there who wasn’t supposed to be; he had the heart to kick them all out.

    • Asharah April 21, 2015, 5:10 pm

      Some people have the spine of a jellyfish. He broke in and they ” just didn’t have the heart to kick him out.” GOOD GAWD!

  • A different Tracy April 21, 2015, 1:49 pm

    Several people have theorized the LW didn’t realize the package she was given contained marijuana until she opened it, and that’s why she didn’t know it was an illicit substance, but remember, she said this:

    Through rather bizarre circumstances several months later I was given an incredible amount of marijuana by a friend, and being as I had no intention of smoking it and didn’t know what to do with it so I called the only person I knew (M) and gave it to him. In hindsight this was incredibly reckless. If I had known that the “gift” I was being given was an illicit substance I would have never accepted it, let alone passed it along to someone I didn’t entirely trust.

    So it’s possible she didn’t know it was marijuana when she accepted it, but she absolutely knew what it was when she decided she wasn’t going to smoke it (unless, of course, she makes the “will I smoke this” decision before she unwraps any gift, which is possible but unlikely). Therefore, the only way to read this passage is that she knew it was marijuana, but didn’t know it was an illicit substance. And yes, I suppose it IS possible that she came from an area where it was legal to own “an incredible amount of marijuana” and she had no idea such a thing was illegal in her new home. It would make her frighteningly naive and uninformed, and would explain a slew of poor decisions. But the whole thing is still pretty fishy to me.

  • Angel April 21, 2015, 4:34 pm

    Any story that begins with “sophomore year I found a new roommate on craigslist” you just know is not going to end well!!

  • HindsightBias April 22, 2015, 10:03 am

    Hi there, I’m the (female) writer of this post. I really appreciate all the discussion of this post, & cannot speak as to whether or not Ms. Hamilton posted this on 420 as a tongue in cheek nod to the “holiday”.

    Let me clarify a huge point of discussion – while I’m not a 420 participant, I was fully aware that it was against the law to possess marijuana in the state I was going to college at for either medicinal or recreational use. I had just celebrated a birthday, & a friend of mine (we’ll call T) gave me a rectangular package wrapped in sparkly paper (bow & everything) & told me to wait until I was home to open it. Thinking that this was something to be done to build anticipation, I did what he suggested. Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped the gift & found roughly 1/2lb of marijuana. It was vacuum sealed & gave off no smell so there was no way for me to know what it was until I peeled back the wrapping leaving the plastic vacuum seal intact. I was totally floored – & my mind started racing. I was convinced that the cops were going to burst down my door right then & there & haul me off to prison. Then I realized that this had to be a VERY expensive amount of weed, then I questioned what on earth compelled this friend to give it to me?? I thought about my parents, I thought about my current roommate situation, I thought about my scholarship…. I thought over it ALL. In the end, I called M because I wanted it gone immediately & I knew he was either going to smoke it all or sell it all within a week. I received no payment from M in return for my passing it off to him. To clarify, M & T did not know each other. I didn’t want to bring it to the cops because I was unsure of the legal consequences for handing over an illicit substance you didn’t purchase, but had just unknowingly transported across state lines & now possessed. I didn’t want to get my friend T in trouble, & didn’t want to potentially wipe out the protection that I was received from the police at that point in time. I didn’t want to dump it because I had fingerprints all over it, didn’t want to flush it because you would not BELIEVE my luck with plumbing. For future reference – google can’t tell you the common protocol on this particular situation. I was flying blind. I made the best decision my 19 year old self could at the time.

    Commenter Devin made a really spot on observation regarding my roommate – he checked out due to excellent references & background. My parents & I ran extensive background checks, my landlord ran his credit check I shared it with me, & we had mutual friends on campus who raved about him. He was a dedicated student, was gainfully employed & served his country for a little over 6 years in the navy. This was a far better candidate to bring to my parents than several other students who answered my CL post, so with feedback from my parents, friends & landlord I made the decision. There was no way to predict his alcoholism & violent tendencies – everything “checked out” & he seemed to be an upstanding student, serviceman & potential roommate.

    I mainly submitted the story to highlight the poor etiquette of M’s parents, but realized it was important to fully disclose my personal situation at the time. I was in the process of making important decisions for the first time in my adult life – my first apartment & first roommate search [which led to me handling a significant legal issue (restraining order) when he didn’t check out despite all of my background checks] handling a very illegal & very scary situation for the first time when I was “gifted” marijuana I never asked for, & generally deciding what kind of an adult I was going to become. A lot of the stories on EHell revolve around people who let themselves be taken advantage of, or see others without a backbone get taken to the cleaners. There is no other example I could take from my experiences that better shows the importance of standing up for yourself & turning things around.

    With several years having progressed I’m now a happy, healthy, drama-free grad student & the only weed I deal with is a reoccurring dandelion in my tomato beds.

    • NostalgicGal April 22, 2015, 2:15 pm

      Dig deeper on the dandelion. If it is coming up in the same spot. Follow that taproot. Else half vinegar, half water, and about 1/4 cup Epsom salts to a gallon, and a touch of dawn dish soap, will nail the dandelion. Spray on when it’s going to be a hot day and leave it be.

  • Snarkastic April 25, 2015, 2:15 am

    So…besides the first scenario that is truly horrific, where is the issue? The OP was faced with a ridiculous situation and handled it well.

  • Snowy April 25, 2015, 10:51 am

    While I wholeheartedly agree with Admin’s comment about the pot, she missed a great opportunity to highlight this story as a shining example of how having a polite spine can be crucial to your very well being. You have a situation that is designed to make someone feel socially (if not morally) obligated to help someone in need, putting them on the spot in a tremendous way, and many people would be so flabbergasted or bowled over they’d say, “Well, just for a few days,” and then they have a new housemate for life. (Given that OP was naive enough not to realize that pot was contraband, it’s what I expected the outcome to be.)

    But OP didn’t; he/she stood up and kept that spine straight, staying polite while staying firm.

    That’s the takeaway for me.