Friday, January 23, 2009

A Startling Announcement of Vital Importance

To put an end to the rampant media speculation, Coke Zero and I are issuing a joint statement:

"After a trial separation, up until now known only to our immediate families, Coke Zero (sometimes known as "Diet Coke") and I have agreed to part amicably. Proceeds from any forthcoming recycling income are to be split equally amongst the parties. There were no children from this relationship." (Unless you count the kidney stone I passed in 1994.)

Now, I know this is a shock to those of you who thought Zero and I were inseparable. Truth be told, I knew he was no good for me all along. But when we met, some twenty years ago, I was just a kid...and he was so shiny, so hard and smooth in the palm of my hand. And cool...real cool.

He called himself "Diet Coke" back then, and he was all promises. He would keep me alert without the caffeine jitters of my previous beau, Juan. He was just as much at ease with a PopTart as he was with a cheesesteak. And all with the taste that refreshes.

It was a match made in heaven (actually the kitchen at work where we got free soda, but whatever...) and I have to admit, I was insatiable. Six, seven times a day I would reach for Diet C, and he never let me down.

Sure, we split up in the mid 90's after I blamed him for leaching calcium out of my bones; calcium that went on to throw an oxalate crystal party in my right kidney (FYI: If your doctor ever uses the words "stent" and "ureter" in the same sentence, politely hit him/her in the head with the nearest giant rubber mallet and run away.) But I never had proof Coke's phosphoric acid was the guilty party. And I never forgot my Diet Coke.

And when word got around a few years ago that "C" was back in town, with a brand new ride called the 'fridge pack' wasn't long before he was back in my refrigerator, and my heart, again.

By now, he had reinvented himself. He was Zero - Coke Zero - and he was better than ever.

He'd greet me first thing every morning...the rush of carbonation as the chilled aluminum touched my lips. Oh yeah, baby, it was good.

But he was still all wrong for me. I found myself spending hours in my bedroom with Coke Zero (and a bag of microwave popcorn.) Truth was, Zero didn't motivate me anymore...he just made me want to eat crap and watch British folks auction off their stuff on BBC America.

And the trust was gone. I held on to the nagging suspicion that he was slowly-but-surely turning my bones into rubber, like a turkey's wishbone soaking in vinegar.'s sayonara, Coke Zero. You know I'll always love you - we'll do lunch from time to time, awkwardly perhaps. But I can't let you run my life again. I need to be free.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From the "Never Thought I'd See the Day" File

My first post of the new year, on this auspicious day...


The year the dream I didn't allow myself to dream came true anyway.

The year the nation I live in would truly, and collectively, see beyond the color of a man's skin to the content of his character.

The year my hopes - long encapsulated in the frost of cynical despair - have been released.

I never thought I'd live to see this day, but Lord, I'm glad I did.

Godspeed, President Obama.