Up to now Barack Obama's youth has been a cipher. The future President,Nobel Prize Winner and world-changer was not a student council president club president, or much of a presence at all in high school, Occidental, or Columbia.
But now David Maraniss, in his new Barry bio, digs up compelling evidence of Barack as a young leader. We are with the 'Choom Gang', a group of highschool potheads:
The first Obama-inspired trend: “Total Absorption” or “TA”.
“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” explains Maraniss. Here’s how it worked: If you exhaled prematurely when you were with the Choom Gang, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”
As one of Obama’s old high school buddies tells Maraniss: “Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated.”
Another Obama innovation: “Roof Hits.”
“When they were chooming in a car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.”
Maraniss also says Obama was known for his “Interceptions”: “When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘Intercepted!,’ and took an extra hit.”
I think some of that has carried over to the White House. Of course, "TA" is now "Total Self-Absorption".