What was life like before Coke Zero, and dare I even try to remember?
With two kids, early mornings, and a life that always feels like it is running and then suddenly asleep, Coke Zero has replaced the blood in my veins and my heartbeat now beats to the tempo of “I would like to teach the world to sing…”
This is my life force.
It wasn’t always like this. No, for a time I was off soda. Four months of semi-consciousness, bumping into walls, speaking incomplete sentences, losing words, forgetting to—I don’t know—wear socks. But thanks to my baby daughter’s teething, I was brought back into the fold and I am once again collecting My Coke Reward points like nobody’s business. Subscription to Entertainment Weekly? Nah, I’m hoping to earn enough points to take over their editorial staff (I have a strong opinion regarding their obsession around Twilight, reality shows, and Glee).
Caffeine has been a blessing and a curse most of my life. In high school and college, when I paint any memory, they usually involve me in a hoodie holding some kind of a soda in my hand. And in college, it was so much worse. Then I was on the Dew. I couldn’t even think straight in a class unless I was on the Dew with just enough in my system for one of my legs to shake. I needed to be on my game! As an English major, with the high dose I could not only quickly analyze a work, destroy an essay exam, but also look beyond the words into the soul of the author. Yes, Mountain Dew gave me secret powers and with the right amount I am sure I could have flown.
But I got off that rush. No more. I couldn’t handle that now.
Now, it is Coke Zero. Heck, it is even sitting next to me as I write about it. I usually have one can or bottle in the morning, if I need an afternoon kick another might follow then. After a rough night or a stressful day, there has been known to be three… And… I think it is looking at me…
Did you ever notice that when you hold it up to the light it almost seems to be lined in the most beautiful hint of gold?
Just beautiful… Happy sigh…
What was I saying?
Oh yeah, I don’t have other addictions. I don’t drink coffee, I don’t smoke. To be honest, I avoided both avenues because I knew once I went down that road I would probably have never been able to turn aside. It would become a crutch, something to complete my character. Yes, because in my world and head we are all characters in some grand book. And I am the romantic lead in a sweater vest, holding a can of Coke Zero in his hands. “Hi.”
So why bring up all of this around Coke Zero? Because as a parent, I am worried that I am unintentionally teaching my children something. Am I teaching my son, for example, that this makes me happy? That he will need this when he gets older?
My wife and I have a series of cute little jokes about our foibles. For example, we have been known to call wine “mommy’s juice.”
“No, you can’t have any, that is just for mommy; it’s her special juice.” Hmmm… It sounds like something you would hear in a Tennessee Williams play the more I think about it.
But why do we have to abandon things as parents? Seriously, why? We are adults! Why do I have to hide my Cadbury eggs, for example, and eat them in secret? But I do and you can’t have one! ARGH!
The only thing out in the open for my children to see everyday is the Coke Zero. Always nearby… like a… good friend.
Scott, get your head back in the game.
I lost one of my back teeth last year to a bad cavity. Yes, I could blame Coke Zero, but that seems cruel to do since it can see what I am writing. While my parents warn me that I am slowly going to turn into one of those scary old men with dentures (“Hey kiddy, do you want to hold my teeth?”), my son seems fascinated by the new space in my teeth. We average about once a week where he asks to see the spot where the tooth once survived, and each observation is followed by him laughing and shouting “Ewww!”
I still don’t know how to feel about someone shouting “Ewww!” about my mouth. How would you feel? It’s your mouth!
I’ve started using my lost tooth as an opportunity for talking about cavities. My son knows about cavities, he had a dentist speak at his daycare (They also gave him a free toothbrush which made him very happy) and has visited a dentist already (He wouldn’t open his mouth and screamed, but he did go) with another visit soon. So I explain each time that this is what happens when you don’t take care of your teeth and eat and drink a lot of things that are bad for you… Bad, but so wonderfully and wickedly delicious…
I think my son has heard me (It’s so hard to tell sometimes what a four-year old actually picks up). He has told me he doesn’t want “holes in his mouth.” Yet, I still drink the Coke Zero everyday.
I hope to get off Coke Zero sometime in the future. Maybe when my baby daughter is done teething and things relax into a normal pace in my household.
Yes, that sounds good.
Sometime off in the future, distant future, I’ll break the bonds that hold me to this liquid joy… just not yet… not yet.
“Hey Kiddy, do you want to hold my teeth?”