The Original Forrest Gump Smoked A LOT of Marijuana
If you’ve only seen the movie adaptation of ‘Forrest Gump’ — which turns 25 this month — then you don’t know the titular character’s full story. While actor Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis did a tremendous job of bringing the fictional shrimp tycoon’s story to life, the film left out numerous episodes from the 1986 novel of the same name, including Gump’s experimentation with marijuana.
The novel’s cannabis episode began when Forrest was playing harmonica in a band called The Cracked Eggs. After a few gigs, the group starts to enjoy a taste of success, but Mose the drummer thought Forrest needed a little extra something to take his playing to the next level.
“Forrest, you is a nice clean-cut feller an all, but they is somethin I want you to try that I think will make you play that harmonica better,” Mose told Forrest between sets at the Hodaddy Club in Boston.
That something, of course, is a joint, which will “expand your horizons,” according to Mose.
Gump is initially hesitant about trying what he thinks is a “little cigarette,” but he eventually yields to peer pressure and lights up. Here’s what being high is like in Forrest Gump’s words:
“Everything seem to slow down and get rosy keen. That secont set we played that night was the best of my life, I seemed to hear all the notes a hundrit times as I was playin them, an Mose came up to me later an say, ‘Forrest, you think that’s good — use it when you’re screwing.’ I did, an he was right about that too.”
And just like that, Gump went from being a naïve boy from Alabama to a daily wake-and-baker:
“[B]efore you know it, I was doin it day in an day out,” Gump said. “The only problem was, it kind of made me stupider after a while. I just get up in the mornin and light up one of them joints, which is what they called them, an lie there all day till it was time to go an play.”
Eventually, his daily habit became too much for his love interest Jenny, who persuaded Gump to give up cannabis. But it came up again later in the book when Gump ran for office, and his rival for a seat in the US Senate dredged up Gump’s cannabis use as a cheap smear tactic. For more, check out the novel by Winston Groom.