Being a child of the fifties growing up in the deep south, naturally I drank a lot of fizzy soft drinks. They started us early down there -- Coke was routinely put into baby bottles, which was probably why, at our first dentist visit, our mouths had as many cavities as we did teeth.
In those hot and muggy summers, before air conditioning was common, you drank a lot of iced drinks -- Coke, tea, lemonade, even water, if you were desperate.
As a small boy, my brother and I got half a Coke each, after supper. My mother, clever about such things, let one of us pour while the other got to choose which half he wanted; I learned exactly how much constituted half a six-ounce Coke by eyeballing it real quick. Heaven forbid that my little brother should get the least tiny bit more than I did, even a micro-ounce.
And "Coke" was the generic term for soda pop. You didn't ask somebody if he wanted a soft drink, you said, "Yon'ta Coke? What kind? Seven-Up? Dr. Pepper?"
Coca Cola was king. Still is. There were others: Seven-Up if you didn't want cola, or Dr. Pepper if you wanted it as thick as it came; Pepsi, RC, Barq's Root beer, Nehi Orange or Grape, a veritable plethora of bubbly, sugary, flavored water.
The sweet road to diabetes and rotten teeth.
I drank enough of it to float a battleship over the years. At my peak, I inhaled ten or twelve cans a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. On a bet once, I went a weekend without, and it almost killed me ...
You didn't get a sugar spike and then a letdown, because you kept it constantly flowing all day.
Full-on spike, morning to night ...
Eventually, I looked up and realized this was maybe not a good thing, healthwise, so I resolved to quit. Tapered off by doing diet Cola -- which is awful, vile stuff -- and eventually, ten or twelve years ago, I stopped -- save for a rare one now and again. They don't taste as good as they did when I have one, which is good.
Enter my son, the serpent in the Garden, who found out that Costco now sells Mexican Coca Cola, which is the old formulation, using cane sugar instead of high fructose syrup like USA Coke now does.
Down in Atlanta, where Coke is headquartered, they say you can't tell the difference, but you know they have to be smiling when they say that, fingers crossed behind their backs, 'cause you sure as hell can.
So my son, the serpent, bought several cases -- and brought one over for me.
I am limiting myself to one bottle a week.
"Hi. I'm Steve, and I'm a Cokeaholic."
"Hi, Steve ..."