Monday, June 8, 2009

Never Find a Hookah Here

While deployed, I enjoyed going to the weekly bazaar. It was a nice way to break the monotony of the daily routine. At the bazaar: I haggled with vendors (customary/expected), socialized outside of work, found some great deals, and as the days blurred, the bazaar helped indicate that it was Friday, again.

There was much to be had at the bazaar, depending on your preferences. Beautiful Afghan/Persian rugs, gemstones/jewelry, Afghan clothing, Russian artifacts, antique rifles, and... hookers, oops, excuse me, wrong spelling, I mean hookahs. My apologies to nor-easterners; same pronunciation, different meaning.

Hookahs, are prevalent in the Middle East, and are used to smoke tobacco, herbs, or marijuana/hashish/opium. It is a culturally and socially acceptable smoking instrument in those parts of the world. Guess I could have bought an authentic Afghan hookah if I really needed one, but I don't smoke. And, I don't think a colorful, multi-user hookah souvenir, prominently displayed, would go over well with our military/educator circle of friends. Never knew anyone who used a hookah, until a few days ago.

Recently, while searching for computer cables in my cable-stash drawer, I happened upon a hookah, apparently hidden. "What's this?" I thought. Had my wife taken up smoking pot to deal with the stress of my absence? Nah! She did well while I was gone. But if not her, who then?

Seems my 18 yr old step-son bought the hookah online while I was gone. Mama found it, and confiscated it amid great consternation. The official story relayed to my wife, according to my step-son/daughter, was that the hookah, a trendy instrument, is used by young adults for smoking "trendy" blocks of tobacco.

Uhhh, after thinking back to high school/college, I paused, contemplating the fable. I paused some more, then proceeded to believe their incredible story (it did smell like tobacco). These kids are just not the type. Tobacco experimentation, yes, marijuana, no.

Nonetheless, the hookah was officially confiscated. They took a hit (so to speak) on their much needed teen dinero, it was their money, not tobacco, that went up in smoke. I had to find another place to put it until we decided what to do with it. But where?

After some thought, using finely honed parental skills. I put it where they'd least likely think to look, a place where teens are notorious for never venturing, hidden in plain sight...Duh! I put it with the cleaning supplies, under the bathroom sink; no chance of discovery there!

Teachers: Seriously, the hookah does play a prominent social role in many cultures, and it is not always associated with the use of illicit drugs. Have your students research this centuries old implement, and report on the positive, and negative aspects of how it is used. domain from: