A couple of notes today about Americans and changing tastes. If you’re like me, you grew up drinking carbonated sugared drinks. Pop in my part of the country, tonic in Massachusetts and soda elsewhere. Family picnics often allowed us to get away with drinking as many as three cans before someone put the grab on us and brought the sugar spree to an end. By the time the diet pop craze came along I’d already lost my thirst for Coke. On rare occasions I still like an orange or raspberry pop but sometimes can count on one hand how many I drink in a year. Apparently I’m not alone in my lost yearning for sweet and bubbly drinks. The Washington Post detects a trend in sales which may bring an end to a remarkable cultural saga of beverages.

Another trend I’m witnessing is a reduction in alcohol consumption. At least among members of my social circle. No one has time for going out and bellying up at the bar and others complain (like me) two drinks put them asleep. Increasingly, however, I’m hearing from people turning to marijuana. Even more to the point many of these people are conservatives in their political views but the dope barrier was long ago crossed and like hands free mobile phone use while driving and speed limits some laws get no respect.

I hear all the old arguments about marijuana I heard from stammering, slouching and unambitious potheads in the 1970s. “It’s much better for you than alcohol,” they still claim. Better might not be quite the right word. Less harmful could be what they mean to say but because of arrested motor development as teens the elevator isn’t making its way to the top floor. The pot they’re promoting as less harmful has also taken a dark turn. This link from the Daily Caller explains you may be taking risks with the hereto unknown.

The sugar high of my childhood may have been worse for my short term health but I’ve never seen anyone plow into a family of four because of a sugar or caffeine high. As I’ve said before, if you want to smoke it’s your choice and I won’t get in the way. Just butt out of my path and stay off the roads we jointly fund. Sorry, jointly may be the wrong word! The problem with the pot puffers is they want your imprimatur. They want you to sanction their behavior. I’ve hosted talk shows in big cities and small towns and can tell you many people believe they need my approval or even worse believe I should be a spokesman for their cause.

This is how life works: If I think you’re a dummy I’m not violating any laws. If I say you’re a dummy I’m not violating any laws. If I pat you on the head and say, “Go right ahead,” then I violate my conscience and if I promote your stupid cause then from my point of view I may bring harm to others who may then feel the behavior is harmless.

Lastly, I’ve met several corporate CEO’s in my lifetime. Lee Iacocca was perhaps the most personable. He didn’t smoke dope, wear nose rings or have tattoos. Successful people may sometimes knock back a scotch and eat more red meat than a doctor recommends but at the moment in this culture, and I think even the stoners would agree, success for the counter-culture may still be well beyond the hazy horizon. And if marijuana does become a daily sacrament let’s hope we understand any hazards before we rush headlong into the fog.

I need an Orange Crush.