PepsiCo changed Diet Mountain Dew’s formula a few years ago, and it upset me. I did a protest web site that included what was really the first blogging I ever did, though I didn’t call it that at the time. Here is a selection from March 21, 2006. Enjoy:
I’ve always been punctual. I could say that I don’t like being made to wait, don’t like making others wait, and so forth, but that implies that I make some special effort to be on time, and it doesn’t happen that way. It just happens.
So I was pretty distressed to find myself 20 minutes late to a Russian midterm during my sophomore year at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I definitely didn’t have time to plead with the cantankerous elevators in Roberts Hall, so it was straight to the stairs. Three flights and a couple of turns and I could start cleansing the dissonance of tardiness from my spirit. Had my pencil, my click eraser, and as always, my Diet Mountain Dew with me.
You know the handy 20-oz. Diet Mountain Dew in the plastic bottle that you grab at the convenience store? Well, that serving used to be a 16-oz. one, and it also used to come in a glass bottle. It wouldn’t be long in my college career before I’d graduate to simply toting a 2-liter everywhere I went, but that hadn’t happened yet.
Let’s survey: we’ve got a kid wearing worn-out Reeboks and carrying a glass bottle in a big my-GPA-is-in-mortal-danger hurry in a concrete stairwell.
We are headed for something other than a Norman Rockwell moment here.
I slipped so quickly and completely that the moment in time between when I was upright and when I was prone on the stairs seemed not to exist. And my left hand, in which I had my Diet Dew, would not have come down any harder if I had stopped and deliberately punched the stair.
Now I’m lying in broken green glass with a two-inch-long gash in my left wrist, wearing what is rapidly becoming a blood-soaked T-shirt. The pain is coming online nicely. And incredibly, my first linear thought is “man, I’ll never get this taken care of and still have time for my exam.”
After that wave of lunacy evaporated, I verified that there was no glass that I could see remaining in my wrist, took my shirt off, wrapped it up, and starting walking to the lobby to get help. Sometime during the walk it occurred to me that I was cut exactly where people attempt suicide.
And I freaked.
Had I any presence of mind, I’d have noticed that even though there was a copious amount of blood, it was flowing and not spurting, so I hadn’t cut an artery. But, presence of mind doesn’t tend to be one of a college-age young man’s strong suits. So I asked the first person I saw, mostly coherently, to call me an ambulance.
On our way to the emergency room, one of the EMTs asked me “do you want the lights and siren?” Half kidding, I replied, “that’s an extra charge, right?” And she smiled and said “yup, 95 bucks.” I passed.
Short ER wait, as these things go. As the doctor was stitching my wrist, a nurse sat beside me and starting asking odd questions about how my life was going, how I’d been feeling lately, and the like. When I figured out where she was going, I said “no, I didn’t try to kill myself; I slipped while carrying a glass bottle, just like I said.” When she persisted, I said “you know what? If I leave here by 12:45, I can make it to work on time. Can we do that?” She left.
I was still a couple of minutes late to the bookstore that afternoon. I had to stop and get a Diet Mountain Dew.