Time was, there was a rumor that if you dropped aspirin into a glass of Coca-Cola it would give you a most fantastical high -- something about the aspirin activating the cocaine? It was never made clear. That it didn't, never stopped the rumor: I tried the concoction once, under the very eyes of my grandmother whiling away the hours until midnight on New Year's Eve as a 12-year-old.

There the matter would have rested until I discovered the following factoid: in pre-Castro Cuba, codeine was available over the counter in the form of a very dilute painkiller, where it was mixed with aspirin -- you'd have to take a dozen or more to get appreciably high. Apparently, someone tried it, got (predictably) stomach-sick, and drank some Coca-cola (which was at one point THE digestive medicine) to feel better. In an effort to cut down on the stomach-sickness, he (or she) took them together, and a fad was born among the pleasure-seekers of Havana.

Interestingly enough, I got this from the memoirs of a professional gambler....and gamblers don't usually like drugs. Hmmm....

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