Soft Drinks, Artificial Sweetener, and Childhood

This morning I attempted to pop open a can of Pepsi Throwback, but apparently the top of the can was not scored deeply enough for the opening tab to function properly, and I wound up with an unopened can and the separated pull tab in my hand. Not to be discouraged, I used the can opener in my Leatherman to open the can, and enjoy my Pepsi. this brought back memories of my childhood. When I was around seven years old, I liked to use my finger to push the flap of can top flat against the underside of the lid for some reason. I honestly have no idea why that held such appeal to me. When my dad saw me doing this on several occasions, he mistakenly thought that I was dropping the pull tab into the can, and he’d take the drink away from me, citing that I could accidentally swallow the pull tab and injure myself. He never understood my explanation when I tried to clarify that in reality, there was no loose metal in the can. I would often drink diet sodas, because the aspartame would give me such a buzz. In fact, I’d often eat artificial sweetener tabs like mints for the same head rush. At the time I never made the connection that the subsequent skull-throbbing headache was a direct result of the aspartame. I always had headaches when I was younger. When I started avoiding that crap, the headaches disappeared. As I have matured, artificial sweeteners stopped giving me any kind of buzz, but the headaches are still guaranteed, often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes I wish that everything was so simple as misunderstandings over soft drink cans and avoiding the wrong food additives.

One thought on “Soft Drinks, Artificial Sweetener, and Childhood

  1. Amen to your last sentence. And another Amen to the rest of your post. I drank Coke or MtDew almost nonstop when I joined the Navy (late nights studying; working until 9pm and then trying to grab a bite to eat and some rack-time before a 2am reactor startup brief; long days of maintenance that typically ran the “30-hours-up-5-or-6-hours-down” course. Caffeine was mandatory.). My first wife got me switched over to Diet Coke, because “Coke was so unhealthy” (ironically, I was still running 10 miles a day in the Hawaiian heat and humidity and my courses always sought out hills…yeah, I was skinny and fit back then). I used to blame the stress of work on my splitting OhHolyCrapThisHurtsTurnOffTheLightsGodSaveUsAll Migraines (the “M” is capped on purpose. You understand.) Serenity, my current bride, finally got me to give up sodas. Still like caffeine on occasion, but the migraines are ..well…not gone, but they’re much farther between. Breakfast does not consist of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and three Excedrin anymore!

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