Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Time Flies When You're Diet Coke Deprived

Bless me father*, it has been two weeks since my last blogger post, and one week since I gave up Diet Coke.

Why am I writing about Diet Coke when I could be writing about daisy rocks, buying a tent trailer, camping, author events, parenting teens, preteens and an over sized four-year-old? Because it is my nemesis, my one vice, my last, adamantine grip on adolescent rebellion and doing the wrong thing.

The time seemed right to give it up because I'll be turning 43 in a week, and according to vital statistics, that should mark the halfway point in my life. The next 43 should be all about extending my healthy active existence, not holding onto bad habits that pollute my body, give dollars to big corporations, create scads of recyclable cans and bottles that may or may not get recycled properly and earn scorn from my children for my hypocrisy as an allegedly healthy example when I won't let them start the day with a soda in one hand and a piece of cake in the other.

It is a hard habit for me to give up. I've been swilling some version of the stuff since I started working at the pet store when I was sixteen, cleaning cages for four hours a day, the dust, mites, hair and dander flying into my face**, creating a thirst quenched by a king-sized Tab from 7-11 provided by the owner's wife who was addicted to the stuff.

Diet Coke is addictive stuff, though my wife tried one for the first time in about a decade recently, and found it disgusting. Good for her. I like it. The kids are betting I make it to New Year's. Clearly, this is not the first time I've given it up, as I have three healthy kids to show for my abstinence during pregnancy. But it was hell then, and it is hell now. But worth it. I'd like to live to 100, and see our youngest turn 61. It's a good goal.

* This is merely a parody of Catholic confession, my father died of acute liver and kidney failure eighteen years ago after drinking himself to death. Literally. And he wasn't Catholic.

** Not really a good job for an asthmatic--I had enormous asthma attacks while working. Also, two years into it, when I went off to college classes after finishing for the morning, I didn't smell so pretty and had bird droppings in my hair. My social standing rose considerably when I got the job at the poster and framing store instead, where the most unsightly results of a workday were bloody rings of paper cuts around my fingers from rolling poster upon poster into a narrow tube and stuffing it in a plastic sleeve. Years later, I would dream about this monotonous occupation, and almost all of my work anxiety dreams center around that job, first as a part-time job, then almost full-time during college, then as assistant Manager, then as Manager, which nearly drove me out of my tree.

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