Saturday, April 23, 2005

My Caffeine Fix

I’ve been a mountain dew big gulp junkie for around fifteen years now and it wasn’t until recently that I started to wean myself from this evil affliction. I always told myself that I wasn’t affected by caffeine. I would drink a cup of coffee and it wouldn’t keep me awake or anything like that, but it wasn’t until I read an analysis of caffeine’s affect on the body that I realized why. According to a survey I read, 64 ounces of mountain dew is basically the same thing as doing a line of crystal meth. It takes six 20-ounce cups of coffee to equal that measure. Now I never got caught up in the whole double gulp phenomenon that has swept the nation, but there was a period of maybe five years where I drank at least one super big gulp a day, possibly two if I craved it. That’s 44 ounces of mountain dew caffeine squirming through my body on a daily basis! No wonder a lousy cup of coffee didn’t phase me!

The cool thing is that the past couple of months I’ve managed to reduce my big gulp intake to about one a week. I have to say that now I feel it when I drink the poison. I feel the jittery veins of my heart kick into gear, my mind races and I jump around like a beetle on crack for an hour. I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker. I don’t like the taste and afterward my mouth spews traces of a foul odor that turns my stomach threatening to spill the dreaded contents back to where they came from. When we go to the coffee shop I’ll often order a white hot chocolate and sink into its warm and gentle sweetness. Mmmmmm! The other day I ordered one and the woman put a shot of espresso in it, which I didn’t ask for it. I decided to just drink it anyway. Keep in mind that it had been ten days since my last mountain dew. This medium cup of coffee hit me like a freight train. I could not believe how wired I got.

This all made me think about the way we look at drugs in our culture. Why is it illegal for us to partake of one substance, while another one that has basically the same effect on the body is legal to acquire as long as you have a dollar-fifty in your pocket? Why are cigarettes legal when they are more lethal than heroin and just as addictive? I mean, I understand why. Someone with a lot of money decided that it would benefit them so they created policy to that affect. I guess the real question I have for everyone is when are we going to crawl out from under their thumb?

This brings me to the main reason I started to write about big gulps in the first place. I don’t know if it’s because I am a father now and more thoughtful about the future, but I came across an article in the nation that has me firmly cemented in a boycott of all Coca-Cola and Pepsi products. I’ve never really believed that boycotting companies truly has a major effect, but I now know that isn’t the point. It all started with this article. Please read Alexander Cockburn’s personal account of the way the Pepsi and Coke corporations treat human beings. They stole water from people who only had one thing in their lives: clean drinking water and replaced it with toxic sludge. It’s truly disgusting and it makes you realize that they’re the ones breaking the law. They are an affront to all humanity and the true cause of hatred toward Amerika. Now, when I have the desire to buy a big gulp, I simply imagine that I’m going to drink water that doesn’t belong to me. I think about the causes we make by ignoring the injustices that are perpetrated in our name, by turning a blind eye and pretending that none of it affects us. There are people far off in other countries who are dying of thirst because Pepsi and Coke need to make a profit and if I buy their products here in a Amerika then I am saying that is perfectly acceptable. I am just as responsible because I am complicit in helping those corporations to continue to exist. I just can’t do it anymore and from this moment forward I am boycotting their products. I’m asking anyone who reads this to do the same.



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