Christopherson Column: On legalizing pot, an eating machine, and the ‘Brain Freeze’ song

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Sifting through the random file…

    • Advocates for legalizing recreational marijuana in Minnesota celebrated last week when a bill to do just that advanced further than it ever had before, when the Minnesota House, with a DFL majority, voted in favor of the bill, along party lines.

    But the jubilation was bittersweet, as the Republican-led Minnesota Senate would never approve such a bill, so legalized, adult recreational marijuana use in Minnesota for at least another year will remain unattainable.

    At some point, you just have to laugh at how marijuana continues to be demonized by those who know so little about it. Like it’s on the level of meth, or it’s a “gateway drug,” or people busted with it need to be locked up and the key tossed away.

    Chalk it up to an unfortunate mix of ignorance and fear.

    Meanwhile, as has been written before in this space, rampant alcohol use and abuse is a laugh riot, made infinitely more hilarious by the COVID-19 pandemic that left millions of people feeling trapped and isolated and stressed-out at home, so, as a coping mechanism, they upped their alcohol intake in colossal fashion.

    Zoom bloody mary happy hour at 11 a.m.! Who’s in? Everyone! What a hoot!

    The damage alcohol inflicts on our society every day of every week of every month of every year – from the justice system to health care to families – renders any pot-related problems microscopic by comparison.

    How much do you want to bet that Minnesota Senate Republicans will toast their victory with booze, just as Minnesota House Democrats will drown their sorrows in it.

    • “Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine…an eating machine. It’s really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim, eat, and make little sharks, and that’s it.”

    That bit of dialogue, courtesy of shark expert Matt Hooper (portrayed by Richard Dreyfus), comes from perhaps my favorite scene from the iconic 1975 film “Jaws.”

   I thought the other day about what words I’d replace in Hooper’s warning to the mayor fictional town Amity Island if, instead of a massive great white shark, I was talking about our seven-month old Siberian husky.

   Our dog, Cora, likes to walk in the water at the lake but is still cautious about venturing in too deep, so the jury is still out on the swimming part. And we had her spayed last month, so she won’t be making any puppies. But the eating part? My god. Anything and everything. It’s an almost constant challenge, keeping an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t ingest something that will sicken her, or worse.

    It’s oriole-feeding season in the backyard, so the grape jelly and oranges are out. Last week, when the meat from a couple oranges had been mostly eaten, I tossed the peels in the fire pit. Our dog sifted them out and chewed them up, but we weren’t all that concerned.

    Until she got sick. We did some Googling and learned that orange peels are bad news for a dog’s digestive system.

    So I guess that makes her an eating machine, albeit an imperfect one.

    • The “Brain Freeze” ice-cream truck made an appearance in Crookston this past Sunday evening. How do I know? How does my wife know? How do my neighbors know? How does everyone in town blessed with functioning ears know? Because the truck’s external speaker plays an endless loop of an iconic medley that I simply can’t identify, no matter how many composers and timeless musicals I Google. I thought it was from The Nutcracker, but no. I thought it was from Swan Lake, but no. On and on my failed clicking has gone.

    The guy drove down our street and through the neighborhood, that little tune playing...and playing. Eventually he made it across the river, to Sampson’s Addition, but the music still pierced the air, and our brains.

    After a while, I asked my wife if she could still hear the musical din in the far-off distance. She could not. But I swore I could. This continued as I lay in bed that night trying without success to drift off to sleep. But what I can’t help but wonder is if it’s the melody itself that’s keeping the gears in my mind cranking at warp speed, or the fact that I can’t put my finger on the identity of the super-familiar tune?

    Anyone know Brain Freeze’s chosen musical theme that I’m talking about? Not being able to name it is frying my brain.

Mike Christopherson