Thursday, April 17, 2014

Now I Can't Stop Thinking About Milkshakes.

I chugged on the elliptical trainer this morning, wearing the last clean gym shirt in the rotation. It’s a red, white and blue soccer jersey with “coach” on the back. Not only do I look goofy in it, but how are you supposed to sweat in one of those things? The perspiration on my torso ran around like a champion basketball coach looking for someone to hug.

Thankfully, my shorts performed admirably, soaking up the downward flowing burden of the ugly and nonabsorbent Eurogeek wear.

On the machine next to me was an elderly woman I’d never seen before. I'd entered the Y parking lot this morning just as she climbed out of her Prius. She hadn’t pulled forward far enough into her space, and her car stuck out about six feet into the driving area. By the time I’d gotten out of the minivan, she’d slowly hobbled halfway up the stairs. Thus began my dilemma:

Should I:

A) tell her that her car is sticking out and then watch her gingerly go down the stairs and stagger back to her vehicle, risking a broken hip and ensuing death from pulmonary edema? 

Seemed prickish.

B) ask her for her keys and offer to move her car?

Little too Ted Bundy. And I'll bet she remembers when he was on the loose.

I chose C) do nothing—overwhelmingly the most common answer in these personal character quizzes.

Anyway, back at the elliptical, as usual I was listening to sports radio and a commercial came on for a new beer, “Miller Fortune,” with 6.9 percent alcohol content. It's aimed at Millennials and its slogan is “You might choose a regular beer. But then you might get a regular night. Try Miller Fortune, now with ecstasy.” That third sentence is actually not part of the ad, just a little marketing nugget for the folks at Miller, free of charge.

I started thinking about the barrage of products the fiercely competitive beverage industry has doused us with, finally realizing that since I was old enough to pop the top on a Squirt, I've drizzled nearly every make and model of liquid refreshment down the old gorge. 

As Julio Iglesias once crooned into the craggy glower of Willie Nelson, “Dude, I have loved them all.”

Regrettably, many I’ll never again sample, due either to discontinuation or the clammy, Schick-Shadle-type aversion I've acquired for them over the years. 

Among the drinks I've grown to abhor are:

The Graveyard—Next time you’re at Shakey’s, take a pitcher over to the pop machine and mix together Sprite, Coke, root beer and orange pop. You’ll realize how they came up with Mr. Pibb and then you'll get a scorching gut ache.

California Cooler—Remember the two-liter bottles filled with bright orange and red and purple poison? The neon glow of your lips and tongue betrayed your toxic choice for the evening.

Shasta Chocolate Soda—Around for just a couple shallow gags back in the Seventies. No big mystery, though, since it tasted of fizzy pork bullion.

Budweiser or Bud Light or Bud with Lime or even “Meat Bud,” a satisfying Pilsner with a hearty slab of jerky cleverly attached to the can—Nothing personal against Anheuser Busch; actually it’s quite personal. Let’s just say Bud's products tend to launch a blitzkrieg on my lower intestinal London.

Still reading? Thanks.

Finally, Olde English 800—As if the “e” on the end of “old” makes this swill any more chokedownable. This beverage, when fresh from the frosty confines of the AM/PM cooler, is tolerable at best. But that last tepid half-inch of a forty is like sucking on Tuesday's roadkill through a green Starbucks straw.

Gross, sorry. I don’t want to end on a down note, so here’s a quick list of my five favorite drinks:

Chocolate malt
Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine
Coppola Merlot
Mug Root beer float 

Looks like I’ve got my lunches lined up for next week.

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