Thoughts on moving, and the drink that should not be.
On the Evils of Moving By Miles Baker
As I type this I am very tired. My feet are sore, my hands are raw, and I feel like crying and screaming at the same time — I moved today. I had been living in my apartment for four years, since just after my second year of university. That apartment has seen me through two years of university, a year of floating, and a year of college. Four girlfriends, dozens of parties, four roommates, and a lot of attempts at shepherd’s pie. Then it saw me move: an epic fight against years of sentimental crap, boxes, garbage bags, dust, and “is this yours?” questions.
I wouldn’t wish moving on anyone. Realizing you have to move, finding a place, waiting to pack, packing, bending, carrying, figuring out how it is going to fit in, and breaking things is one of the worst human experiences that you can go through. It’s worse than the dentist or looking for a job or writing an exam. It’s just so exhausting there aren’t really words for it.
The best part for me is that I didn’t find a place to move into. I don’t have a home. I spent all day sweating and cursing to move my belongings into a metal box in a self-storage facility. In 30 days, when I hopefully have a place, I’ll move again and experience all this pain again. Oh joy.
On the Drink That Should Not Be By Sam Linton
A lot of things get hyped these days as signs of “the Decline of Western civilization”: Iraq, Postmodernism, X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Personally, I never took these claims of our imminent fall too seriously. Just the typical braying from naysayers doing their nay-saying.
Last summer, however, I experienced the uncomfortable sensation of having my illusions shattered and my very faith in society questioned. The catalyst? Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper: The Drink That Should Not Be. Less than a year later, fresh on the heels of Grindhouse’s box-office failure to out-perform even Wild Hogs, I face yet another challenge to my faith: that what Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper started, Diet Berries and Cream Dr. Pepper seems destined to finish.
Now, let me start off by saying that I enjoy a specialty beverage as much as anyone. It is with great fondness that I can look back on the days of 7-Up Tropical Splash, Pepsi Blue (mourn you ’til I join you) and even that horrible Sprite with the mint inside. You know the one I�m talking about. But all those products, as ill-conceived as some of them may have been, at least had some semblance of meeting a form of market demand. “People like to put limes in their cola, so why not make a cola with the lime already inside?” to give an example. To tell me, however, that there would ever be a demand for a Dr. Pepper with the added flavours of cherry, vanilla and aspartame is to tax the limits of credibility beyond any reasonable definition of sanity. Then to say that such a drink would benefit from berries and cream?
In and of itself, how popular is Dr. Pepper? It’s a widely enjoyed drink, to be sure, but on the level of your Cokes, your Pepsis or even your 7-Ups? I think not. Why then, would it receive no less than 3 modifiers to its flavouring, when even a soft drink staple like root beer has only recently graduated to attaining its “diet” status? (Okay, not really recently, but you understand what I mean)
It’s the diet in both of these drinks which really irks me. Oh, I know that there are apparently non-diet versions of these products out there. A glance at the official Dr. Pepper website (not linked for the sake of decency) confirms this. But I have yet to see one in the stores. No, somehow the appeal of these products actually increases with the “diet” modifier. And that’s just terrible.
Anyway, I am entirely convinced that these products were never intended for sale. The first one was pitched satirically at a business meeting, maybe for the sake of breaking up the room and relieving tension, only someone latched onto the idea and, against all logic, the product was produced and launched. Somehow, the drink was successful, and the next year a follow-up product was launched, this time devoid of irony, serving only the cold hand of capitalism. There’s no other explanation for the existence of these drinks. It’s the end result of a joke launched at a meeting and taken too far. Case closed.
Or is it? Perhaps the products themselves are the joke? A joke on all of us? By creating products so strange, so bizarre in their specificity, the Pepsi Cola corporation is in fact aiming its satirical Super-Soaker down the mouths and throats of us, the consumers, saying that these beverages are proof that we will, in fact, buy absolutely anything. The very fact that we (or at least, some of us) are buying the products two years in a row makes us active participants in our own lampooning, elevating the drinks’ satirical statement to a level approaching Jonathan Swift or Bertolt Brecht. Well played, PepsiCo. Well played.
In conclusion, we should all go out and buy more Diet Cherry Vanilla and Diet Berries and Cream Drs. Pepper, my new favorite drinks, even if they do taste like the devil’s bile.