After witnessing my early, severe obsessions with Britney Spears and Harry Potter, I can see why my parents were worried I had an addictive personality. To them, my stacks of CDs and several sets of wizarding robes indicated I would either wind up like a present-day Lindsay Lohan and consume all sorts of illegal substances or star in an episode of some TLC show alongside people who eat wall insulation and chalk. Fortunately, my personality has led me to less destructive addictions: theater, books, television, and Diet Coke. I can overdose on all of these and it is perfectly legal. Well, at least it will be until March.
For most people, popcorn is a staple of going to the movies. But for me, it’s a large Diet Coke. I even joined AMC Stubs just so I could get a large soda for the price of a medium. More than thinking about the movie itself, I dream of the bubbly carbonation as it hits my lips and causes my taste buds to rejoice
in Dionysian jubilee. The perfect mix of delicious sweetened syrup, carbon dioxide, and water direct from the fountain is nirvana to me.
Much to my dismay, Mayor Bloomberg has decided to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (that’s less than a typical bottle!) in movie theaters, bodegas, fast food joints, delis, sports stadiums, and restaurants—pretty much anywhere I could satisfy my craving. Say goodbye to the beauty of a 32-ounce tub of liquid that causes your bladder to hate you by the climax of the movie. I know, I’m in mourning too.
I get why the soda ban is happening. America has a severe obesity epidemic and the amount of sugar in soda (a 20-ounce bottle has 65 grams of sugar, while a Crumbs red velvet cupcake has only 45 grams) certainly isn’t helping. My beef with the soda restriction is that it’s a straight-up ban. I waited long enough not to have to turn to my parents to validate my choices. Excuse the toddler temper tantrum, but I’m an adult!
I know what I’m doing to myself is unhealthy and might eventually make my insides look like Nickelodeon slime. However, I limit myself to one soda (OK, sometimes two) per day, and it’s usually just 12 ounces. I don’t consume any illegal substances. I drink lots of green tea, exercise regularly, and carry a one-liter Nalgene filled with water at all times. I’m a healthy person with one vice.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees soda as a treat to be consumed in moderation. Even Coca-Cola recognizes the problem and recently launched a campaign against obesity, essentially encouraging people to drink its other, low-calorie or aspartame-filled, drinks. A nice idea, yes, but this is simply replacing soda with another fix, and as much as it pains me to admit it, aspartame is not necessarily better for you than sugar. If we educate people on achieving a healthier lifestyle, where a soda, like chocolate or wine can be a treat at the end of the day, then we won’t need to restrict people’s choices. (I’m already picturing my future as a soda bootlegger, and it’s pretty amazing.)
Bloomberg: please, let them drink soda!