I used to be a Coke addict.
No, not that kind of coke. I used to drink a lot of Coca-Cola. My favorite was from the fountains of McDonald’s. I would drive through just to get myself a “pop” most nights. I didn’t order food; the large Coke was enough for me. I figured I didn’t have any other vices: I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. I needed something!
My wife joined Weight Watchers and, in the spirit of martial harmony, I decided I would try it too. The way Weight Watchers works is you are allowed to eat anything you want, but only up to a certain amount. Everything has a point value based on the number of calories, grams of fat and grams of fiber. And you are only allowed so many points a day.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that either I could have my Coke every day or I could have a third meal. While I did actually go without a third meal for awhile, it occurred to me I couldn’t do that forever. After experimenting with various diet drinks, I found I could stomach the taste of Diet Pepsi. A few years ago, I formally gave up Coke for Lent (though I’m not Catholic) and switched for good.
There are some advantages to drinking Diet Pepsi. The best tasting fountain version of Diet Pepsi comes from my local gas station, which is cheaper than McDonald’s. They serve it in big plastic cups. I take them, drink them dry and come back and get refills for half price. Since Diet Pepsi has zero calories, I don’t feel guilty when I order the mongo sized serving. In fact the only thing preventing me from getting Diet Pepsi by the vat is that it wouldn’t fit the drink holder of my car.
I drink a lot more Diet Pepsi than I ever drank regular Coke. I think Coke’s sugar content gave it some “substance”. I would drink a Coke and feel full. I can drink Diet Pepsi all day long and all I feel is an urge to pee. Most mornings, I get up and go to the gas station for my morning Diet Pepsi. I sometimes go out late at night as well. My wife and I both assume NutraSweet is probably as addicting as heroin.
Actually, I find Diet Pepsi serves as a metaphor for my mental condition. If I have one cup at my desk, that means I’m approachable. Things are going well and I will be friendly. Two cups at my desk means that I’m under a bit of stress. If you don’t have something important to tell me, you might want to wait. Three cups: if the building is on fire, you can talk to me… otherwise just keep walking.
Unless, of course, you have stopped to get me a refill.