An Argument For Making Tom Waits the New Diet Coke Spokesman. Part one: A Personal History

I had manboobs, so I turned to Jesus. Not huge unsupportable c cups, but a chest no longer flaunting any of the definition of my youth.

Since my epiphany happened in the middle of spring, I used what I had left of my fear of God and stopped eating sugar for the forty plus day of Lent. When I had successfully deprived myself back under 190 and my boobs were once again mildly pectoral, I dove Scrooge McDuck style back into chocolate, carrot cake and Boston crème donuts. But while I was picking the last of Gummy Worm from my teeth, there was one sweet that was lost to me forever: regular soda.

In college, I was a flag bearer for Mountain Dew. I consumed. I recruited. I bought by the palette. My freshman year sculpture class was littered with the empty green aluminum cans tied together with copper wire into standard shapes. I laughed at Diet Coke drinkers. I judged. I pointed.

I didn’t tell my friends at first. I still ordered Coke in restaurants but secretly drank water. In bodegas, I bought Diet Coke like a box of condoms, hidden in the middle of paper towels and tampons so that I could pretend it was my wife’s. But soon I was drinking with such verocity, that I had no choice but come out of the aspartame closet.

Like any closet exit, there is a loss of “cred” amongst the testoronic. I felt much like Ed Norton in Fight Club. Emmasculated beyond reproach, but with no bar I could punch people in. I was dismissing my male sense of carefree invulnerability. My youth. I was embracing my mortality.

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