I hate the Experts. They’re always making us give up things we like. Honestly it’s been on my (long) list of self-improvements to finally “Kick the Can” but it kept slipping my mind. And now I know why! Last week, a shocking news story went viral that was “sodapressing” for me. Its headlines exploded (like when my son mischievously shakes my Zero Calorie Pepsi can) “Diet Soda Causes Dementia and Strokes!”
Wow. Just wow. But it was too late. My fate was already sealed. This amazing memory of mine had always been something I prided myself on until recently (hitting the big 5-0) when suddenly I’d walk into the proverbial room and couldn’t remember why.
I posted signs on the walls with hints meant to jog my mind.
- To tell someone something?
- To play with my kittens?
- To use the bathroom?
- To nag a child?
- To search through my purse for change?
- To have sex?
- To write a new blog?
- To clean something?
- To ask for a compliment?
- To pay a bill?
- To drink a Diet Coke?
This worked for a while, until I couldn’t even remember to look up and read my little signs. And to think this downhill slide into oblivion could all be attributed to my tiny, little addiction to a “sugar-free fizzy party in a bottle.”
Such an innocent vice, really. Years ago, I used to balance that red two-liter bottle of infamous carmel-colored carbonated liquid on top of my skull and tease that I was officially a “Cokehead.” But seriously, give me a break, Experts! I drink zero coffee or black tea so this was my only source of caffeine. (NOTE: YOU HAVE NO TANGIBLE PROOF ABOUT ME AND CHOCOLATE.)
And then I became engaged to a holistic, homeopathic, health and wellness doctor and suddenly I felt the need to hide my “criminal” activity to avoid disapproval. I slunk around the house (when he was over) snatching sips of the dark toxic bubbles from random flower vases and fishbowls, denying I had a problem. “Look at the huge spider on that wall!” I’d gasp and point, then slug down my Chanel #5 perfume bottle.
Finally I recognized that my Diet Soda was out of hand. Or rather, it was always IN hand. I needed the Twelve-Steps Solution for my Six-Pack Problem. I knew I was truly frightened that a bad thing could happen if I didn’t quit. But I couldn’t even recall what that bad thing was anymore. And the only “strokes” I wanted were high praise for my writing.
Soon a well-meaning girlfriend (from AA) suggested I slowly taper off the poison by pouring something else in the cup to dilute it down little by little. Like gin, rum or vodka. Kidding. No, she actually recommended water.
Sadly “moderation” isn’t a word in my vocabulary. (Although I was once just a “little bit pregnant” with twins.) But mainly I’m an All or Nothing type. Black or White. Up or Down. Feast or Famine. Push or Pull. Diet Coke or Death.
And so I had no choice but to go Cold-Turkey. But first because of the language lover that I am, I had to find out why we call it that? Would I soon be walking around shivering and saying “gobble, gobble?” If you love word origins like I do, you can find out where Cold Turkey came from right HERE.
And then to my surprise, another viral internet headline surfaced from the Experts. It refuted the first study that diet soda caused these awful things. And tossed around words like “Absolute Risks,” and “Control Groups” and made some other really important points that I can’t recall at the moment.
I love the Experts! Yay. Giving me permission to continue doing something I want to do!
And then I realized. It’s not just something I want to do. I NEED to do it. I get headaches without diet soda. I crave more and more. I hear that familiar “fffsssssst” when someone flips the lid of a can and I flip my own lid trying to obtain some. (Thank you Pavlov!) Yes, I DO have a real problem, expert or no expert.
Also . . . (and here comes my love of wordplay again!) DIET COKE starts with “D” and so does Dementia. Coke rhymes with Stroke and Croak. And speaking of croaking, Diet contains the word “Die” in it. Cola even perfectly rhymes with Ebola, which nobody has mentioned yet, but you can bet your pop-top that’ll be the next big scare. And Bubbles rhymes with Troubles. Coincidence? I think not.
Forget the experts. Forget dementia. Forget the experts. (Oh right, I already said that.) My own astute language associations (above) are all the empirical ‘absolute risk’ evidence I need to kick the habit. Starting today, I’m getting completely off that bubbly stuff you drink when you don’t want calories or sugar or fat and whose name I might recall right now if I hadn’t been drinking so much of it in the first place.
READERS: Do you have a little “addiction” you rationalize and think is innocent in the grand scheme of things? Tell me about it in the comments so I won’t feel so alone! Or before I pack up and move to Minnesoda. 😉