Friday, July 4, 2014

Puritanism in the Restriction of Coffee

Despite an occasional state legalizing marijuana, or making gay marriages okay, there's still a strong puritanical streak in American life.  In one way, we see this in the establishment of that gray area in ages: the no-woman's land between 18 and 21 years old.  It is totally curious and irrational to me.  When I was 18, I could totally get married, with or without parental consent.  On the other hand, my possible groom and I could not toast our nuptials with champagne after the ceremony or after later events........  Similarly, I could so go down to the Army recruiter and enlist; but not go into a cocktail lounge to have a Cosmo to celebrate my little contribution to our national defense.  

But one thing that I could have, even if I was just 8 or 9, was a nice, hot cup of coffee.  With chicory, and beignets (I'm a hedonist).  However, some health purists sometime in 2020 or so decided that coffee drinking stunted the growth of teens, so our great wise men in Congress restricted sale of coffee to people who were 25 or older.  They threw in the extra four years to prove that they were in full support of virtue, health-wise, and to show what badasses they really were.  Never mind the benefits of drinking coffee:  

As if we needed convincing!  They justified this by arguing that coffee was addictive, it was a psychoactive stimulant, and that it was frequently associated with socially unacceptable behaviors.  The innocuous bikini baristas of the Seattle area were lumped together with the notorious betel girls of Taiwan.  Also, the Puritan meanies raised the spectre of coffeehouses frequented by beatniks, even though the last one was seen about 50 years ago in Indianapolis!  Well, who says you're supposed to play fair or be logical when you're fear-mongering?  

This surprising coffee puritanism had an immediate impact.  Since coffee sales were down, youthful workers were often seen nodding off on the job, "energy" drinks peaked in sales, and there was murmurs of discontent as the dark roast stream dried up to a trickle.  The economy of Seattle tanked.  In New Orleans, they tried beignets and hot tea for minors; but it went over like a lead balloon.  Fast food places had to make up the revenue differences by dropping the senior discount coffee.  It even inhibited some courtship processes: 

Well, American teens and young milennials were not about to take this lying down, no Ma'am!  As a matter of fact, they resurrected some methods used by their great-grandparents in fighting oppressive busybodies.  Coffee speakeasies sprung up in both cities known as hotbeds  of caffeinated vice and small towns alike to cater to the youthful coffee drinkers.  The bootlegging trade in dry counties expanded to include underage coffee.  Rumor had it that Hot Coffee, Mississippi was the distribution headquarters of this latter-day vice; therefore, latter-day coffee narcs tried going undercover there.  However, they gave themselves away by wearing Oshkosh bib overalls, by gosh!

The expression, "Make a run for the border," no longer applied to satisfying taco munchies in Northern states; but instead implied a fast trip to Tim Horton's!  And all snickered at the new meaning of the expression, "Just say no!"  Some slogans are meant for the distbin of history.


MarkD60 said...

Happy 4th!
I love coffee!

Duckbutt said...

I love coffee too. I remember my kindergarten teacher having a conniption fit when she found out that I had coffee and toast for breakfast!

TexWisGirl said...

haha. goofy. :)

i drank coffee since i was a young girl, too. :)

Leroy said...

Hooray for coffee. I've never tried Tim Horton's, but will if I ever get to Canada.

Mike said...

@Duck - I haven't heard the term 'conniption fit' in a long time.

Cloudia said...

Happy 4th Coffee fans!

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= <3

Grand Crapaud said...

Oshkosh bib overalls in Mississippi: that is seriously warped.

Bilbo said...

"When I was 18, I could totally get married..." When you were 17, could you only partially get married?

John Hill said...

Oh! It has been a lot of years since I've had coffee with chicory. Would love to visit with you over a cup someday.