When I was a kid, I had a taste for Coca-Cola. Nowadays, I prefer a nice rich cup of coffee to a sugary or fake-sugary soda. Growing up, we drank Diet Coke at home – twelve packs of diet cherry, diet lime or diet-diet were familiar features of the kitchen. But once in a while I’d treat myself to a “regular” – bought with my pocket change at the neighborhood grocery, or from the vending machine at school. I’d have my treat – disregarding, of course, the possible correlation between soda consumption and breakouts – and then I’d be left with an empty bottle.
It occurred to me that even after the bottle is rinsed out and filled up with water, a faint bouquet of Coke smell remains. I remember thinking how interesting this was, and did a little experiment. I filled a bottle up with water, twisted it tight and when I opened it later it gave off that distinctive hiss of carbonation escaping.
“What’s that you’re drinking?” a few kids asked. (By a few, I mean 1 to 3. Tops.)
“Invisible coke,” I said. “It’s a new thing they’re trying out.”
People did find this funny – one of those things to get you through a grueling day in middle school. Because why not? This was the era of funky Mountain Dew flavors and Fruitopia – the more unnatural the better. What mattered most was being the source of a little chuckle instead of the target. Even if it was just the once.
If you’re a kid who finds humor in a few things, you’re going to find a way make it through the tumult of your teenage years. You may not realize it, but you’re halfway there already.