Conscientious Objector to the Cola Wars

On a whim, a project I set out on at the beginning of my recent vacation was to see if I could go a week without any kind of cola beverage. I have been thinking lately, I'm really not all that passionate about colas, not in proportion to the amount I usually drink. I go through so many 2-liters that my body is probably 80% Pepsi, instead of H2O. I mean, my saliva was starting to get carbonated.

Yes, I happen to prefer Pepsi, but I don't attach a good vs. evil type of fanaticism to it, as some of you esteemed Coca-Cola drinkers are wont to do. I've been getting disenchanted with the hegemonic beverage control being perpetrated by both these corporate juggernauts. The choice is Coke or Pepsi, not a cola or a different worthwhile nonalcoholic drink item. That third option has been eradicated by catchy jingles and commercials with cute kids all-too-symbolically sucking themselves inside the bottle. Fuck them! Hell O'Goshen, did the Good Lord intend for us to limit our fluid intake to fizzy brown sugar water? No sir, that there is the work of Satan. I'm ripping off the blinders and making the choice of a real new generation: drinking other stuff!

My favorite beverage has always been milk anyway (100% whole, all fat intact -- ask Ruffin and Shea about the time I tried to drink a gallon all at once), which I would drink non-stop if it wasn't so expensive and it didn't taste like crap in the little cartons they give you at restaurants. So that was cola alternative #1. I got by at most restaurants with sweetened tea and the occasional lemonade or milkshake. I even bought a blender, so I could try out some recipes in a book I bought called Zero Proof: 200 Nonalcoholic Drinks. Just perfect for teetotalling dorks like me who don't want a Co-Cola. I've made some good stuff, but crushing up ice for Virgin Daquiris is way too much work to drink 'em every day. Oh yeah, there's this other soft drink that's pretty good too, and you can't beat the price. It's called water.

Well, not only did I make it through vacation without cracking, but it's now ten full days that I'm cola-free! I had a close scrape when I got home to find Mom had a fresh unopened 2-liter Cherry Coke (my supreme favorite cola, but extremely scarce) in the fridge, but I did not fall off the wagon. And I'm just gonna hold out until I find myself really craving a cold, bubbly Pepsi. Then I'll have one, and enjoy it, but I'm gonna try to remember: them colas is only one fish in the great beverage ocean, and you can lead a self-reasoning human to Cokeorpepsi but you can't make him drink.

(Originally published in The Lard Letter, October 1995. For my more current feelings on the soft drink industry, please see The Tyranny of the Evil Sugar Water.)

D. Trull