Ready to know more about San Diego?


Dear Soda

Berkeley is the first U.S. city to tax soda. America's soda love affair is over.

By Troy Johnson

Dear Soda.

Let’s not belabor this. It’s over.

I had written a longer, angrier letter after my doctor used the term “you’re fat.” Then Berkeley became the first American city to name a bad tax after you. So I’ll try to go easy.

I just don’t think you’re suited for long-term, day-to-day relationships. We all have to realize our special roles in life. You are a food booty call. If I’m enjoying a pizza and momentarily don’t care if I treat my body like the urinal at a nuke plant—then you bet I’ll have a root beer.

To us kids in the 1970s, you were all that mattered. Our parents’ generation had milkmen. We had Soda Men. They delivered cases of you to our door. Instead of filling us with phooey like calcium and Vitamin D, drinking you got us James Franco-high. Each sugary bubble bursting in my mouth was like a love letter from a future diabete.

Did you know in the 1930s people could order heroin through the mail? It was kind of like the Victoria’s Secret catalog. Only instead of half-naked women who need food it was pictures of dope.

I was your fan pretty early on. You came in colorful bottles. You said drinking you was how smiles were born. So I drank you and my teeth melted. Tooth Fairy doesn’t pay for sob stories.

An eight year-old boy’s energy level is naturally set to “meth.” You added corn syrup to that equation. After 12 ounces, us white kids thought we could break dance. The scars form on the inside.

Pretty soon we got addicted. Twelve ounces wasn’t enough. So 7/11 gave us 400. 7/11 translates to “Kill America Die Die” in a language.

When I became a true junkie in the ’80s, you reinvented yourself as Jolt Cola. Twice the caffeine and sugar! It was like sticking a live electrical wire up my rectum.

The Pepsi Generation now looks funny on motorcycles. Most big people do. Pepsi was pretty useful, though. It weeded out suitors. Picking that over Coca Cola was like picking choo choo trains over sex.

With Dr. Pepper, you told us its weird-tasting bubble-juice was “Just What the Doctor Ordered.” That same doctor recommends doughnut cleanses and juggling asbestos.

Let’s be honest. No one who wasn’t conceived in the wrong part of a swamp ever loved Mountain Dew. That said, I’m not sure I could make radiator fluid taste any better. So good on ya.

Root beer is the best. It’s not a debate because it’s written right here.

Remember when you ruled Little League snack bars? After games, we’d order “The Suicide”— a few ounces of every soda they had in a single cup. It tasted like carbonated Labrador vomit. Amazing.

Kids eventually figured out they could drop a Mentos in a 2-liter bottle of you and you’d unleash an almighty geyser. It was like a bored teenage boy’s answer to Georgia O’Keefe. Public school is pretty great.

I know you’re struggling right now. Someone said you can clear clogged drains by pouring yourself down them. I’ll endorse that skill on your LinkedIn page.

We really did have some good times. Some friends think I’m crazy for giving you up. “Soda rules, brah!” says Richard Blais. “Chocolate Soldier and Nehi Grape! Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray and Dry Soda Cucumber! Rock on! Bubbles make me tingly.”

But now I’m going to give “health” a chance. I look forward to booty calling you when I’m anger-Netflixing and hollow inside.

I’m sure there’s someone out there for you. Like Richard. Or maybe an under-developed country that doesn’t have access to basic health guidelines and whose government can be paid not to tell them what you did to us.

Forgive any typos. Sometimes my big soda fingers hit too many keys.



Dear Soda

Share this post

Contact Us

1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA