I am a junkie, though my addiction is socially acceptable. I can drink like a fish, but never compromise lucidity or morality, and I never need a designated driver.
My greatest weakness is 12 fluid ounces, canned in crimson, heavenly just north of icy, and, with “Dynamic Ribbon Device,” has the best logo appellation of any product I know.
I love Coca-Cola. Rather, I LOVE Coca-Cola.
Very little soda was imbibed during my childhood, but the few one-liter glass bottles we did drink are recalled with genuine fondness. Away at college, external restraint was nonexistent; indeed, I owe my degree largely to Coke’s caffeine, which rendered me quasi-alert through scores of veterinary school all-nighters. After graduation my habit lived on; any thoughts of consequences of such liberal consumption were fleeting.
In 1999, I met my dear friend Donna. I encouraged her, successfully, to adopt Russian twins; she encouraged me, unsuccessfully, to adopt healthier beverage choices. Occasionally, she would e-mail me links to articles extolling the benefits of a Coke-free life. I appreciated her concern, but continued heeding signs proclaiming, “Enjoy Coca-Cola.” Once, she sent a study claiming researchers had found that women who drank even one soda a day were 83% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than those who drank soda less than once per month. With my aunt a diabetic and a resultant kidney transplant recipient, Donna stoked my fears, though the effect had a fruit fly’s longevity.
December 31 was a five-Coke day. As I opened the can I knew would be my last, I consciously savored the crack of the tab, the refreshing mist-in-the-face it generated, and the first sip’s assault of carbonation. Coke connoisseurs understand not all vintages taste equally good; this wasn’t a top-flight serving, but finishing at 11:58 p.m., my nostalgia was disproportionate to the quality. Tuning in to the Times Square ball drop with less enthusiasm than most years, I felt immediate panic when “2011” lit up.
I could still enjoy Coca-Cola, I’ll admit, but I feel a burgeoning sense of power. I could take one from my refrigerator. Now, I don’t have to. This time, it’s the real thing.
I have 28 days Coke-free days down, with 337 to go in 2011, and after that, hopefully, a lifetime of extreme moderation. If you would like to help me kick my habit, and help a deserving Lighthouse child in the process, please contact me at email@example.com to make your per diem pledge. Flat donations can also be made; checks should be written to “Beyond the Cross Adoption Fund” and mailed to First Assembly of God, 1608 N. Oak Street, Rolla, MO 65401. Please write “Coca-Cola” in the memo line. All donations are tax deductible, and will be used to support the adoption of Russian children.