So I've been sick lately. It really sucks. I have all of the symptoms of a bad cold: I've been coughing, which isn't bad. I've been wheezing, which could be worse. I am constantly stuffed up - both ears and nose, but you learn to deal with it. And I've lost most of my sense of taste - which is downright horrible. I can't taste my Mr. Pibb soda.
Mr. Pibb, for those of you not blessed with the experience, is the Coca-cola Company's answer to Dr. Pepper. Except it's ten million-hundred times better than the fine doctor. It's got a sweet, almost chocolate-y flavor, and a nice little aftertaste - but not in bad way. It's not one of those over-carbonated sodas, that make you burp incessantly for two hours after drinking a sip. And most importantly for sodas, it doesn't taste like ass when it's warm. Cold or hot, it's my beverage of choice.
My love affair with Mr. Pibb started many years ago, back at home in Maine. At some point the local convenience stores were selling both Mr. Pibb and Mellow Yellow (sp?) for either 29 or 39 cents a bottle. Obviously, that's what I started to buy regularly. I think at first it was Mello Yello (sp?), a Mt. Dew clone, that would purchase. But at some point, maybe they were out of The Yellow, maybe I had OD'd on it, I bought my first Mr. Pibb. And I loved it.
Now, I'm not a real soda drinker. Sure, I'll get it when I'm out to eat, but what else am I going to get? Coffee? Milk? I'm too much of a cheapskate to buy beer at restaurants. And at home, I drink orange juice or water. I buy sodas pretty much to entertain guests. Like this weekend, I have lots of guests so I bought lots of sodas. But once they're gone, I won't replenish the stock.
But the summer that I worked in Florida at Walt Disney World, I drank lots of soda. You could buy Mr. Pibb by the can. Okay, not at the Gooding's at the Crossroads at Lake Buena Vista - but those guys were freakin' Nazis! How many grocery stores have you been in that have carpeting and fountains everwhere? They really should just have a big neon sign that says, "Hey, tourist suckers! C'mere for really great prices on food - only eighteen dollars for a loaf of bread! Twenty-two fifty for a gallon of milk! C'mon down!" But down the road apiece is Publix, the holy grail of Mr. Pibb fans. Here you could get a twelve pack of the good shit for two-fiddy. Nowhere on earth is there a better deal on anything. That is it. I found it at twenty years old. Some people search their entire life, I found it by chance.
And then I left. Back to Boston, where they don't have such advancements as "Mr. Pibb". This is what I term, "the dark years". Let's not talk about them, shall we?
Life is happy now. I can't buy canned or bottled Pibb, but many of the soda fountains here in Southern California serve the stuff. I can get it at Spoons restaurant, I can get it at McDonalds, at the commissary on the Disney Lot, or even right downstairs at our own Feature Animation commissary. That's where I got my lunch today, my cajun chicken sandwich that could be styrofoam for all my taste buds know. Twenty ounces of Pibb for a dollar. Not bad. Except I can't taste it. And really that's they whole point of soda. It's not there for nutrional value. This chicken I know has protein, and vitamins and minerals. The bread has carbohydrates and ... vitamins and minerals. The lettuce and tomato have ... vitamins and minerals, too, I guess. But soda, soda's there to be savored. To remind you that things are right with the world.
Things won't be right with my world, however, until I get my taste back. Until then, I can drink my Mr. Pibb and remember the fun times that I've had with him. And I urge you, too, to try a can or glass, if possible. You may make a beautiful friend.
[Interesting post-script to this note - I didn't in fact have a cold at this time, but in fact had the very rare and very odd Bell's Palsy. For more information on this and other palsies, please visit your local library.]
Last Updated on: February 25, 2000
© 2000-2004 Joshua Paul Edwards
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