Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

What, if anything, should I say to a friend who is breaking the law?
Since I have known her (twenty-five years, first as work colleague
then as social friend) she has always been an upstanding person:
reliable, honest, and the type of person not even to run a yellow light,
let alone break a serious rule. I was at her house for a party and used
her personal bathroom because the other was busy. Then I looked at
the new décor in her bedroom, which she had told me she wanted me
to see. While I was looking around, I saw a marijuana pipe and a jar of
leafy herbs on her nightstand. I wasn’t just surprised, I was shocked! I
know the younger generation uses pot like we use alcohol, and doesn’t
think twice about it, but to find a respected senior and member of the
temple board with a pipe seems strange. Ask, or keep my big mouth


Dear Stunned:

Pot-smoking, among all generations, is becoming more common, and
in some states legal as well as socially more acceptable. Like other
social trends, the national acceptability of gay marriage for example,
society is changing fast. Conspiracy theorists have hypothesized that
big pharma and big tobacco see this as the next big cash crop. While
many people smoke for recreational reasons, many others do so for
medical ones, from pain relief to a cure for insomnia. In the absence of
more information that would be my guess for your friend. Given your
summary of her life, I’m sure she hasn’t advertised this.


The reality is that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in
their own home and in their bedrooms. So for you to open your “big
mouth” in an accusatory way to her, or, worse, to gossip about her to
others, would be a true violation of the friendship. Either let it be, or, if
you suffer from insomnia or some other ill that pot might help, bring it
up casually in a conversation, saying that an anonymous friend had
suggested it to you as an option for remediation and that you are
curious what she thinks. She might suspect something, so if she does
ask you outright, confess and say you didn&'t know how to bring it up.
If she declaims all knowledge, let her off the hook and let it go,
keeping your mouth shut to others, even in what you might think
would be a subtle probe. We are rarely as opaque as we hope. If you
want to gossip about someone, let it be you, not her.