I love Diet Coke. Love it. It is my strength. It is my weakness. It is the Big Gulp swiggin’ monkey on my back. But Diet Coke really is nature’s perfect drink. No sugar, no calories, no nutrients—just a sweetass canful of chemicals that somehow managed to squeak by the FDA’s stringent approval process and now rests happily in the shaky hands of housewives everywhere. It’s manna from heaven, only in convenient 12-pack form.
My relationship with Diet Coke began many, many years ago, right after I broke up with bitter bastard TAB and rejected his fake, lying ways. I was hurt, I was sad, I was pretty damn close to having a one night stand with that loser Mello Yello. But then, just when I had almost given up hope of ever finding true, no-calorie love, my salvation suddenly arrived, bursting out of a secret Atlanta laboratory and sending a river of tiny, caramel-colored bubbles straight into my thirsty, waiting mouth. It was my carbonated soul mate, my tooth-staining sweetheart, my knight in shining aluminum. And we, Diet Coke and I, were destined to live happily ever after.
Because while I’ve been forever faithful to Diet Coke, straying only when I was pregnant and returning just as soon as the epidural wore off, unfortunately, tragically, Diet Coke hasn’t always been so true to me. Alas, DC’s been a bit of a playah. A hustlah. A no-good, unfaithful jackass comin’ home late with someone else’s lipstick on its sharp, metal rim. Yep, Diet Coke wanted to play the field. See what else was out there. Maybe experiment a little. So it began to betray me.
First, it stepped out with Caffeine-Free. Then, cheated on me with Splenda. Then finally, one wild weekend in Miami, it went into a dark Cuban bar and hooked up with that brazen hussy Lime. Lime. But each time, each time it left me, I took it back. I said I understood. I said that I knew it was just trying to find itself and we were still meant to be together, right, baby? Right?
But now, now Diet Coke has forsaken me again and this time, I fear my heart won’t recover. Because this time, Diet Coke is gettin’ its syrupy ass off the couch and joining a gym. It wants to be healthy. Fit. A little less carcinogenic, if you will. So now DC has added vitamins and minerals into its regular harmful formula and is calling itself Diet Coke Plus. Uh-huh. Vitamins and minerals. In Diet Coke. For the love of God, what’s next? Whole grain cigarettes? Anti-oxidant Miller High Life? Slim Jim Soy?
While I’m sure that crap like niacin, B6, B12, zinc and magnesium is actually good for you, does it really belong in a drink that comes with a lid and a straw? That’s available in 72 ounces? That explodes when it touches a Mentos? Or should those nutrients instead just be found in, oh, I don’t know, food? I just don’t think that everything I eat or drink needs to be healthy-fied. After all, I’m a grown-up and supposedly know what’s good for me (fruit) and what isn’t (heroin) and should be able to choose, right? And my heart wants what it wants–that same ol’ no vitamins, no minerals, no purpose bad boy of a drink I first chose all those many years ago.
So, listen up, Diet Coke and stop trying to change. I already know you’re no good for me.
But baby, I love you anyway.