If Hell is a warm Coke, then let the sinning begin.

January 30, 2009

When New Zealand’s dairy industry went all greedy-guts, I stopped eating cheese. Anyway, it clogs the arteries.

When the price of petrol went up 30 cents a litre over the last three weeks of January alone, I parked the car. Anyway, walking is good for me.

When the crumbling economy cost me a full-time job and most of my freelance work, I tightened the budget reins. Anyway, who needs a plasma TV? And I’m nearly positive, if I wait long enough, my clothes will come back into style.

And so it goes — you adjust, you scrimp, you roll with the punches. You pray a lot. You cry a bit. You bang your head against the wall until the plaster loosens.

But — at the end of the day — you do survive.

And then comes a double whammy that I’m reasonably certain will crush the final drops of humanity from the broken husk that is my spirit.

You guessed it — my caffeine supply is under threat.

Oh, sure, we all know it’s an insidious drug but it allows me to get through each penny-pinching day without gathering up a vacuum hose, duct tape and car keys.

The first whammy: Starbucks — O Valhalla! O Elysian Fields! — announces world-wide cuts to stores and staff. Is it just me, or is that comparable to God downsizing angels AND manna?

And then — second whammy! — today I read how lower sales figures have Coca-Cola scrambling to rework its advertising campaigns by jettisoning the “Classic” from Coke Classic.

(Something about kids being confused by the term “classic.” Christ, if we dumped everything kids don’t understand, there’d be no vacuum cleaners or lawnmowers or clean dishes. Or imperial measurements. Or parents, for that matter. Or cricket. Oh, wait, no one understands cricket. Bad example.)

I know, it’s a mystery to me too how Coke could be in trouble. I drink gallons of the stuff, all by myself. Just ask the bathroom scale. And my bladder.

Although I will admit the “Classic” was a bit redundant. That’s akin to me referring to myself as Great and Wonderful when, like, it is already so obvious to everyone.

The “Classic” part only came about because, in April 1985, everyone at Coca-Cola died and was replaced by mindless drones with a plot to destroy the world. And that plot was called New Coke. I think it lasted 12 seconds. Or about 13 seconds too long.

You can hurt a man in a lot of nasty ways — I know, I’ve been married twice — but you mess with his Coke and you’re asking for a whole lot of trouble. Shake-the-can trouble. Chug-a-lug-and-burp-the-alphabet trouble. Laugh-until-it-spurts-out-your-nose trouble.

Goodness and justice and puppy dogs and girls in summer dresses did eventually prevail and the drones received a good and proper rogering. The “old” Coke made a triumphant return as Coke Classic and, after being renamed Coke II in 1992, the interloper finally faded into history seven years ago, to gather dust with other useless items: disco, boy bands, Dan Brown’s keyboard, Pintos, Paris Hilton’s acting career, George Bush, senior and junior.

You can well imagine my absolute horror at this double shot of bad news, arriving as it has so soon after the hardships of 2008 were dropped on my doorstep like a burning bag of dog doo.

I’m not ashamed to admit I would spend my wife’s last dollar on a bottle of Coke. Asked for a condemned man’s final meal, I’d request Coke and, um, you know, whatever the chef feels like throwing together.

If you told me Hell was a place where you were served nothing but warm Coke, I’d still skip merrily through the fires of eternal damnation.

Unless Hell, like Vegas, is a Pepsi town. In which case, I am pretty much hooped.


One Response to “If Hell is a warm Coke, then let the sinning begin.”

  1. Megan said

    I almost shot tea out of my nose when I read,

    “That’s akin to me referring to myself as Great and Wonderful when, like, it is already so obvious to everyone.”

    Great line. I’m sorry to hear about your coke & coffee.

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