In the last few weeks, I have gotten pleading emails or Facebook messages on one particular subject from a good friend, my brother and my dad.
The topic: Diet Coke. Well, more specifically, all diet sodas, and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad dangers of consuming them.
According to their emails, which contained links to various studies or news articles or (in one case) a basic but thorough explanation of nephrology, the consumption of diet soda will wreak all sorts of havoc on my body. My kidneys will fail. My bones will grow weak. My eyesight will fail. I will grow a tail. (Okay, so maybe no one is claiming that Diet Coke addiction will cause a person to sprout a tail. Yet.)
And you know what? Thanks, y’all. I love you all. I appreciate your concern. But I’m ignoring you. La la la la. That’s right. In one ear and out the other.
Why? Because my Diet Coke is the only vice I really have, and I am not letting it go.
As far as bad habits go, I think it’s pretty minor, honestly. You want some good old-fashioned rationalization? Well, who am I to disappoint you? Here you go.
You see, I’m pretty boring when it comes to vices. I eat vegetables. I drink fat-free milk. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t smoke. I rarely drink, and when I do, it’s a glass of wine with dinner, not a fifth of Nightrain or something. I exercise regularly. I wear a seat belt. I finish every single bit of my antibiotics when I take them. I rarely even take medicine, actually, even boring old over-the-counter stuff. I don’t bungee jump, skydive, skateboard, snowboard or do anything riskier than walk across the minefield that is my Lego-strewn living room.
In short, I am a snore.
(Okay, I have been known to be cynical, to swear and stamp my feet. What can I say? I’m a journalist. You can take the girl out of the newsroom, but you can’t take the newsroom out of the girl.)
But I start my day out with an ice cold Diet Coke and I often have a couple more throughout the day. Usually I switch to unleaded (caffeine-free DC) by mid-afternoon. Not that it really matters because I’m a parent of two small boys, so when I lie down at night, it doesn’t take me long to pass out from exhaustion.
And let me just clarify: I didn’t drink Diet Coke when I was pregnant with either one of my kids. It didn’t taste right, plus the carbonation didn’t agree with me. And generally speaking, I wanted to limit my caffeine consumption when I was growing a small person within my body. But after my sons were born, I gradually began drinking it again. And I enjoy and look forward to my Diet Coke. It is my small daily pleasure. And it’s cheaper to buy a Diet Coke out of a vending machine or to stock a fridge-pack at home than it is to buy a latte in the Starbucks drive-through line. And there is way more caffeine in coffee than there is in diet soda, as you probably already know.
So there you go. I’ve justified and rationalized and explained and defended myself. You’re not going to change my mind, even though I appreciate that you are just trying to keep my best interests at heart. But unless you are going to find me a new, equally satisfying and inexpensive vice, I’m not giving up my current one. Or if you prefer, you can give up one of your vices first, and maybe then we’ll talk. Until then, just please, please leave me alone with my DC.