Pepsi Vanilla

Oh man. I had to go get some blood drawn this morning, so they could check on my cholesterol. This is the big one. When they checked it a year ago, the numbers were bad, and when then rechecked it six months ago, they numbers were WORSE, so this morning was put up or shut up time. Today was the day where they test my commitment to life on this planet. Sure, I lost some weight like my doctor ordered, but have I been exercising more? Besides the one hand? Not so much. So we’ll see.

But when you get bloodwork done you have to fast from like midnight the night before, so I was fairly ravenous when I got out of there, and did what pretty much anyone who was starving and woozy from loss of blood would do at 8 AM: I stumbled next door to the Mobil station and bought a Pepsi Vanilla.

DO NOT TELL MY DOCTOR, SHE WILL KILL ME. Soda and juices—yea, my very lifeblood—are forbidden for people trying to lower their cholesterol. But hello? I need to give the people what they want? I mean I am literally not doing this for my health. That’s the dedication. That’s the extra mile, right there.

So, Pepsi Vanilla. It’s good. It’s even slightly better than Vanilla Coke. The vanilla additive that Coke uses is too obviously fake and chemical-ish, and to me it always tastes like Coke + Fakeout Vanilla Material, rather than a cohesive, homogenous beverage. Pepsi Vanilla tastes more blended to me. The flavors don’t pick apart as easily.

So this round goes to Pepsi, although I am totally with you on the “Coke has more cred than Pepsi” tip, but between this and Pepsi Blue, I have to say that Pepsi is really putting it down fairly consistently lately. They are in there. They are scrappy. They are both bobbing and weaving. What has Coke done for me lately? Not much. They need to watch they back, that’s all I’m saying.

Them there’s the positives, but unfortunately (Pepsi. Sad little Pepsi. When will you ever learn?) we have some heavy negatives as well, namely a little something known as package design.

Good lord, is this bottle ugly. All it’s missing is a tag. I was actually embarrassed to be seen in public with it. How do they expect this beverage to succeed if men live in fear that a hot chick will see them drinking it? I was like hiding it under my jacket, sipping it out of a paper bag. Better they think I’m an alcoholic, I thought.

Actually what it really reminded me of was elementary school. Every morning at breakfast I’d have my Count Chocula or my Fruity Pebbles, and my mom would always want me to drink all the milk in the bowl, as though the nutritional value of the now-pink milk counterbalanced the transparent evil of the sugar-saturated cereal I demanded. But of course the milk is no fun once the cereal’s gone, so I never drank it. And then when I wasn’t looking, my mom would pour the disregarded cereal milk into my thermos and pack it into my lunch box to take to school. So at lunch time, I’d be sitting there eating my little sandwich, kids all around me screaming about cooties and anti-cootie spray and who likes who and who used to like who but doesn’t anymore, and I’d go to take a sip of my juice and realize that my mom had again foisted my cereal water on me. And by this time the milk was lukewarm from sitting in my locker all morning, plus there were a few very soggy bits of cereal remnants to contend with, all of which made for one heck of a disgusting beverage. And I’d sit there, panicked, thinking: “Oh my god. What if the other kids realize that my mom is making me drink my leftover cereal milk. Everyone else has really cool juice boxes with bendy straws. If they find out they will make me sit at the other end of the table, with Malcolm.” And at that point I would fake an illness, throw my lunch in the trash, and spend the rest of the day in the nurse’s office. Because you do not want to sit with Malcolm. That kid always smelled like he’d never once wiped his ass.

These are the memories that came cascading down around me as I drank my Pepsi Vanilla at 8 AM this morning in the parking lot of the Mobil station. Wonderful, another beverage that sends me sobbing to my therapist. Maybe I should just do what my doctor tells me and get off the sauce.