“Here’s a staggering statistic,” he said. “Americans drink 50 gallons of soft drinks a year.”
“I drink 48 a year and love every sip,” our friend said.
“How many is that a day?” I asked.
“I down three cans before 7:30 in the morning, so figure about thirty,” he said.
“What does that do for you?” I asked.
“It keeps me bright and happy all day while I work,” he said with a smile. “But it has to have caffeine, none of that caffeine-free stuff. That’s horrible.”
My cousin, the writer, is one of these people. From the minute he wakes up in the morning until he goes to bed at night he has a can of Diet Pepsi in his hands. He can’t write a single sentence without it. “I’m addicted, I know it, bury me with it,” he says.
We knew an airline pilot with a similar addiction. His drink of choice was Diet Lipton Tea. He kept two six-packs in the flight deck, stocked a second refrigerator full of it at home so he would never run out, always had a can in his hands when he talked to you, and probably brushed his teeth in it.
“Isn’t it interesting that all these people drink the diet variety? Is it the taste or something else they’re addicted to, like a secret ingredient?” I said to my husband.
“Sugar. It’s a mind-altering drug,” he said.
“But it’s fake sugar,” I said.
“Fake or real, it’s still sugar. The brain craves it after a while.”
I pondered that. I thought of a horse I had as a child. Zorro didn’t like apples or carrots, but would go wild over sugar lumps. He’d sniff my pockets every time I came near him. If I didn’t have any he’d give me that how-dare-you look and walk away.
Calvin says, ” Sugar is over-rated. But beef jerky, now that’s worthy of an addiction.”