I'm in mourning. Not in any particular tragic way, but I am currently grieving the loss of something that was once a huge part of my life: Coca-Cola. Don't worry, by the way. Coke is still alive and well for most everyone else, but for me it has been five months of Cold Cola Turkey. Once the very clear and undeniable line that could be drawn between my bouts with kidney stones and the consumption of America's favorite soft drink, I decided to give it up before I turned inside out. Initially I worried that not having me as a customer might do irreparable harm to their bottom line, but as it turns out I needn't have been concerned. The Coca-Cola Corporation is getting along fine without me.
As for me, I confess that I am struggling a bit. It used to be so easy. Friday night we would go out for a cheeseburger and a Coke. At the movie theater, there was always the anticipation of powering through that tub of Coke as the feature presentation unspooled. Even though I had somewhat recently stopped stocking the basement cola cellar for weekend entertaining, I still marked most special occasions or events with a Coke. And a smile.
I used to have a lot of vices. Most of these could be found at the bottom of a beer bottle, including the bad choices that come with that kind of habit. I reasoned that after retiring from the ranks of the semi-professional beer drinkers that temperance would be my friend. I was saving myself from the gutter by choosing a soft drink instead of booze for my libation. Little did I know that I would happily trade most if not all the hangovers I ever had for the pain experienced when passing a kidney stone.
I should point out that my wife, clever lady that she is, has suggested that simply moderating my intake of cola would be an easy enough solution to this dilemma. Moderation has never been one of my strong suits, however, and I have found that flipping the "off" switch is generally the best way to keep me off that slippery slope.
There is also the matter of the upkeep of a fifty-four year old body and the wear and tear that I have already put on this chassis. Many of those were highway miles, and while we are still operating with primarily original equipment, there is some concern around these parts that suggests that nothing lasts forever. With a big red arrow hanging over my head labeled "Exhibit A." So it turns out that when I am asked what I would like to drink at dinner and I can say that I am happy with water, I am saving myself. I will try not to evangelize and point out to others the evil that Coke does both internally and externally. We had a pretty good run, Coca-Cola and I. I'll wear my red and white logo shirt from time to time and remember how things used to be. I'll be happy when I see young folks sipping on their Big Gulps and sharing those secret caffeinated smiles. I recall some of my own. Back in the days of Coke and Roses.