Monday, June 18, 2007

Cool as a Cucumber Soda

In case you haven't been paying attention, cucumber soda pop is currently being sold in Japan. This news item is being reported by ABC, CBS, and all the major news outlets. For some reason, this reporting has twitterpated my hackles. It's not that I want only real news to be reported. Far from it. I understand the need for entertainment propaganda in our daily dose of the news, and I'm in favor of the light banter at the end of news programs. Sometimes I'll tune in to ABC or CBS at 11:27 p.m. just so that I can grab my porcine belly and guffaw as the local newscasters wrap up their coverage. Nor do I mind when people point out weird foods that crazy foreigners eat. When it comes to enjoying the blood pudding/monkey brain/raw squid stories, I'm smack dab in the middle of the bell curve. So what bothers me about this story? Just this:

People think cucumber soda pop is stranger than Coca-Cola.

In the interest of full disclosure -- I love this idea by the way, that I've been hiding some revealing truth up to this point -- I don't like soda pop. For reasons I don't recall, I stopped drinking soda pop for a few months back when I was just entering the work force. When I tried Coke again after this long layoff, drinking it was a painful experience. It hurt my sinuses. Mebs. Enkk. I'll drink the occasional carbonated beverage now and then, but I'd almost always prefer juice or water. So there. I admit to a bias.

Yet even for people who like soft drinks, it doesn't take more than a half-second of objective analysis to realize that Coca-Cola is a weird thing to drink. On the Beverage Weirdness Scale, it's very close to cucumber soda. By the way, I want to make it clear that I'm not singling out Coca-Cola in favor of, say, Vanilla Coke or Diet Pepsi or even Orange Crush. No -- it's all the same drink, despite what Dug says. Let's break it down:

First, Coke is a brown drink. Brown. Is a brown drink appealing in any way? In nature, what drink is brown? When noble savages are introduced into our culture, do they think, God, I could sure use a dark brown drink? Second, Coke is fizzy. It's a brown, fizzy drink. There it is. That's my whole argument. And what we have now is a group of people who are making fun of the green fizzy drink. It's as if legitimate soda drinks derive from coca leaves, vanilla beans, or citrus fruits, whereas soda drinks derived from celery or cucumbers are absurd. I reject this unspoken premise.