Smoke to the Future

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By Michael Watt

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you wonder what the younger version would think of you at that particular moment. This happens to me more than I care to admit, like the time I attended a concert performance by Michael Feinstein thinking he was Harry Connick, Jr. Turns out their shows / style / music are nothing alike, but I’m not sure how cool the younger version of me would have been Harry Connick Jr., either.

Then there was the other day. I was driving south on Route 110 when I came across a delivery truck (see picture) which, based on the truck’s artwork, was delivering an energy drink called Cannabis. Forget for a moment that, as a friend pointed out when I posted the picture I took with my cellphone to Facebook, “Cannabis Energy” should qualify as an oxymoron. Besides, I don’t think Amphetamine Energy Drink is quite as catchy. What’s really intriguing about this product is that if you saw this truck in a “futuristic” movie released back, say, in the 1970s, everybody in the movie theater would have cheered.

I started thinking, too, about the fact that I took the picture with my cellphone. Amazing. Let’s imagine trying to explain “the future” to the teenage me back in 1977. Let’s say I’m, uh, recreating after dark with my high school chums in the wooded area known as Caroon’s Lake in Massapequa, as far away as possible from our respective parents so we don’t disturb them with the hearty guffaws sure to follow the witty wordplay and spirited exchange of ideas we so enjoyed back then.  And let’s say the 50-something is transported back to this time, and the teenage me asks, “So what’s the future like?”

I start to describe my experience with the “Cannabis Energy Drink” truck and the cellphone camera and the teenage me is like, “Wait – they make soda out of marijuana?”

“Well, no. An energy drink is not quite soda, not quite water.”

“And you took the picture with your phone? How’d you do that? Where does the film go? How is the phone connected to the telephone poles?”

“Well, in 2015 your phones are wireless, they take pictures and they do a whole lot of other things, too.”

“Are you a Secret Agent and you have all this high tech stuff? Is that it? Or are you just super rich.”

“Not exactly. Just about everybody has access to this technology.”

“So you’re not a Secret Agent. Did you at least marry a hot blonde?”

“Well, yeah. I got that covered nicely, thank you.”

“Wow. I can’t wait until 2015. It sounds like everything is really cool.”

“Again, not exactly. There’s a lot of things that are better and some things that are worse. You’ll do just fine, but it might not hurt for you to pay a little more attention in class and less time at the local watering hole. Oh, and buy up as much stock in Microsoft and Apple as you can.”