Keep in mind that this thing isn't over. But hey, a fella's gotta have a day job, and writing about Diet Coke addiction doesn't pay the bills, knahmean?
Remember: the comic starts a few post ago, so you'll be a bit lost if you start here.
I measure my days in Diet Cokes.
Semi-truck drivers: they live their lives one mile at a time, one rest area at a time, one weigh station at a time. Football players: they measure their lives in inches, in yards. For restaurant employees, days are broken apart days into cigarette breaks: thirty minutes of work, ten minutes at the dumpster with a cig. Some of my friends live for the weekends, invest all of their money and happiness into their careers as Weekend Warriors. Some people live for evenings at the gym, for prime time television, for football season.
In my life, of course, Diet Coke holds the pieces together.
It's a magnet, constantly pulling me back over and over again, no matter what I'm doing. Office work, school work, teaching, vacation, driving, working out...Diet Coke is there, always.
I create rules. Never any Diet Coke before lunch. So I stick with cup after cup of splenda-rich coffee, the caffeine keeping me above water for those tough pre-noon hours; I chew Trident for hours on end, until the taste has long faded, just so I can occupy my mouth; I eat bagels, apples, drink full Nalgene bottles of water, anything. Anything to abide by that first, critical rule: Never any Diet Coke before lunch.
After that, the rules get hazy, breakable. I used to hold myself to a single 44 ounce Super Big Gulp each day, just so I could rationalize that Diet Coke wasn't a real addiction (only $1.17 a day, compared to the ridiculous cost of a pack of cigarettes each day, which is...3 bucks? 4 bucks?). That way, also, I could keep track of exactly how much soda I drank...never more than 44 ounces!
But that rule was abandoned as soon as I took a job at the
I joke when I tell people that I drink 72 ounces each day.
You want to know why that's a joke? Cause I drink a hell of a lot more than that.
I measure my days in Diet Cokes. I look forward to the moments when I can leave my office hours and grab a Sbarro's refill, to the moments when I'm driving on the interstate and I can stop and drain my bladder and buy a new 44 ouncer, to the moments when I can leave family gatherings and take a quick drive to the gas station for a fountain drink.
A day without a Diet Coke is worse than a night without dinner, a morning without a sunrise. But, hey, at least it's not crack, right?
(Note: I've been writing these blogs for more than two years now, though they were originally posted elsewhere. If you're interested in reading, try starting from the very start...I seem more hopeless when you follow the progression of the addiction)