‘Coke, sens, VCR, mesc . . . ” That was “Butterman’s” constant pitch on the southeast corner of MacDougal and Washington Square West circa 1984.
“Coke” for cocaine; “sens” for sensimilla, a mind-erasing marijuana bud; “mesc” for mescaline and “VCR” for, well, a videocassette recorder. Someone I knew — not from New York, obviously — shelled out 40 bucks for one. It had a phone book taped inside for weight. Butterman hightailed it for awhile.
His pitch seems quaint today. Now the big boys are getting in the game. Wall Street. Madison Avenue. Booze and cigarette manufacturers.
“There’s a lot of money in that white powder,” Santino pleaded to his dad in “The Godfather.”
Well, there’s gold in those suddenly legal leaves, too, and everyone wants a piece of it.
U.S. marketing magic is in the air. Pot helps everything now, not just glaucoma. Read the stories. Smoking pot may improve lung capacity. (Really?) It can stop cancers from spreading, slow brain tumors and protect against concussions. Marijuana will stop nightmares (a fifth of bourbon will do that, too, I’ve found); it’ll delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
That’s not all. Oh no . . . Smoking pot helps alcoholics drink less, we’re told. I suspect that’s true, just as alcohol keeps stoners from smoking so much weed and Oxy cuts down on heroin use. Lemmon 714s (quaaludes) did a good job of that in the ’70s.
Jesus smoked pot. Did you know that? I didn’t. Read a story about it recently. Let me guess . . . Tyre Stick and Philistia Gold?
Crustaceans can benefit from pot as well. Some Maine restaurateur with a sore conscience was in the news recently about it. She gets her lobsters high before dropping them in boiling water. Eases the pain, you know. I mean, duh.
Even Coca-Cola’s diving in. It’s planning to roll out a line of beverages with CBD, a chemical in cannabis that doesn’t get you high. Meh.
A news-editor aunt securely in heaven gave great advice to young newspaper readers: “Ask yourself who pitched the story you’re reading,” she used to say. “Then ask yourself why they pitched it. That will tell you more than the story itself.”
Worth remembering still.
Poor Butterman. Last I heard he got pinched by the Sixth Precinct. Today he’d be in the Advertising Hall of Fame.
William F.B. O’Reilly is a consultant to Republicans.