The woman who sits directly behind me seems to be in her 60s. She has the sort of hair I see on “respectable” older woman with money: curled, by not necessarily naturally so, sort of sculpted, and definitely maintained. I don’t think any of it is gray, although at her age, I think it would be, think it probably is, under the very tasteful dye job she has going on. She wears glasses, and on her feet sandals that say “casual, but still put together” to women of her age-group and socioeconomic class. I’m making a lot of assumptions of a person I’ve never spoken to, but that’s my assessment of her at a glance.
This woman has a travel cup that sits next to her computer screen. I see it every time I’m walking back to my desk. It’s a tall, black travel cup, upon which is emblazoned “Ohio State.”
But that’s not all that’s on the cup. There are also multiple white circles on the black cup. In each white circle is a green leaf.
For two weeks, every time I saw those leaves on that travel cup, I thought why does that lady have marijuana leaves on her mug?
These were some of my ideas:
The woman is a stoner and she doesn’t care who knows it.
The woman is a proud supporter of medical marijuana.
The woman’s kids (or grandkids) gave her the cup as a joke, and she thinks it’s hilarious.
The woman’s kids (or grandkids) gave her the cup as a joke, and she has no idea why they giggle whenever they see her sipping her coffee from it.
Today I saw the cup and the mysterious leaves right before break, and it occurred to tell my friend about them. My friend is from Ohio and knows one or possibly two things about marijuana. I thought my friend would think the whole situation was really funny.
This is what I texted to my friend:
A woman sits in the row behind me. I’d say she’s in her 60s. She has an Ohio State mug. The mug is black, with white circles. In the white circles are–I Swear–pot leaves! I am so curious, but what if I ask her and they are not pot leaves or her kids gave it to her as a joke and she doesn’t know?
My friend texted back:
Ha!! It’s the buckeye leaf but it totally looks like weed!!!!
Apparently, I am not the only person who’s been confused by the buckeye leaf.
I stumbled across a 2013 article titled “Marijuana vs. Ohio State Buckeyes leaf: Jonas-Boggionis pulled over after decal confused for pot.” You can read the (short) article, but basically a 65 year-old woman was driving down South (the website belongs to a West Palm Beach news station, but the article references Memphis and Shelby County) and after being pulled over,
[t]he deputy asked her why she had a marijuana sticker on the back of her car.
looked back at her car, dumbfounded, and wondered if someone had stuck something on there when she wasn’t looking.
What she saw was an Ohio State Buckeyes football helmet, which is traditionally decorated with the buckeye leaf to signify gridiron success.
When this was pointed out to the officer, the situation came to an end and the couple got back on the road, without receiving any sort of citation…
The article continues,
…the buckeye leaf bears little resemblance to a marijuana leaf. The Buckeye has five points while marijuana leaves generally have seven.
For folks like me, with little knowledge of the public plant life of Ohio, I’ll leave you with this image of a buckeye leaf and a marijuana leaf for the sake of comparison:
I have little knowledge of the flora of Ohio. I’ve seen some marijuana leaves, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the leaf of a buckeye.
Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/shallow-focus-photography-of-cannabis-plant-606506/.
Great article!! I’m a born and raised Buckeye but I never saw the leaf decal until I went to college in Bowling Green, Ohio in 1970. I was elated! Someone had the nerve to put a marijuana leaf on the O decal. Cool, eh? Honestly, it was years before I figured out my error…and such a disappointment it was! I still look at the decal with a smile…and an urge to eat chips and cookies. 😉
Thanks for sharing this, Ford. I don’t feel so bad about my confusion if a real, true Buckeye thought the same thing about that leaf that I did.