Notebook – July 2001
7/22/01 – Current mood: slightly irritated.
I missed the first birthday party for my best friend's son because
there's something wrong with my foot. I sit here on the couch (yellow
legal pad in lap), with my foot propped up on the coffee table. I sense
the following things happening this week: a trip to the doctor, the
taking of Advil, and the use of some sort of wrap and/or heel
cushion-thing. Crutches and cortisone shots are a last option (or at
least they better be).
In the meantime, some thoughts:
I've finally figured out what bothers me about the Pepsi
Challenge*. I think it's bullshit, at least partly. People who
ordinarily drink Coke taste both in a taste test and choose Pepsi?
Right. As if they can't tell the difference between the two sodas? They
taste completely different, and if I was a staunch Coke fan then I
would say that the Coke taste better, because I've already had years of
experience in choosing Coke over Pepsi. Every Coke drinker knows what
Pepsi tastes like, and every Pepsi drinker knows what Coke tastes like.
There's a commercial running right now that has a guy saying something
like "I've always drank Coke." And then he takes the Pepsi Challenge**
and has some sort of taste breakthrough! Bull. If you like Coke, you
People who prefer one soda over another are pretty resolute about that
preference. You don't suddenly enjoy Pepsi if you are a Coke drinker.
Holy wars have been fought over less controversial topics. The tastes
are very different. Why would having them side by side in a taste test
suddenly change your mind? You can tell the difference between Coke and
Pepsi the moment it touches your tounge. It's not like you're putting
Coke up against some dynamic new product that tastes unlike any other
carbonated beverage known to man. It's PEPSI! It seems to me that the
only people who should take this test are a.) people who don't drink
soda, so they wouldn't have any pre-conceived notions about Coke or
Pepsi, or b.) people whose favorite drink isn't Coke or Pepsi. But even
these b people have tasted the stuff and would know what Coke and Pepsi
For the record, I'm a Pepsi guy. If someone gave me a taste
test and asked me which I liked better, I'd, um, say Pepsi. Yeah, I
know the other one's Coke. I'm familiar with the product. But I don't
care if you hide the names of the sodas, I still pick this one, because
it's Pepsi, I've been drinking it for 25 years, and I just like it
better. These people who drink Coke their whole lives and then take a
blind taste test and pick Pepsi act all "suprised" and chagrined? Give
me a break. It doesn't make any sense.
That ends this week's Pepsi/Coke rant.
The scariest, most depressing part of this whole "A.J. from The
Backstreet Boys in rehab" story? Crying pre-teen girl being interviewed
outside the arena where they were to perform before the group cancelled
Girl (through tears and blubbering): "I speak with him all the time via e-mail and he didn't even tell me anything was wrong!"
Have you seen A.I. yet? Me either. But I have spoken to the online chatbot in a piece for Ironminds.
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, perhaps many months
ago, but I'll say it again: what is it with clerks these days? I'm at
the check out counter and the clerk says, "hi, how are you?" So far so
good. My answer: "good, and you?" No answer at all. This happens to me
almost every single time I go to the store. Then they tell you to "have
a nice day," even though it's 8 o'clock at night (they don't really
mean it when they say it – they're just parroting some training they
went through). Or how about this one: I'm waiting in line while the
woman in front of me pays for her groceries. The clerk is having a
coughing fit, and he coughs directly into the hand that will soon be
handling my food and handing my money back to me. Now, obviously, money
is already one of your least sanitary items, but didn't this guy have
any sort of a.) store training, or b.) training by his parents or
someone else that you are not supposed to cough into your hand and then
touch other people's food and/or hands? Or how about the girl who took
my order for a sub, then while it was being made out back went and
emptied a large, smelly, gross trash barrel. She then went and picked
up my sub, without even bothering to wash her hands. Or how about the
department store clerks who don't smile, don't say thank you, don't
even acknowledge you? Why, in my day…
Oh God I'm getting old and cranky…
*Trademark of PepsiCo.
**Again, trademark of PepsiCo.