Why I Don’t Drink Soda

When I was a boy my grandfather took me out fishing on Soda Lake. It was a lake made out of soda. When he spilled our Mentos overboard in an attempt to emulate Crocodile Dundee’s TNT fishing technique, the blast blew him out of the boat and into the bubbling lake.

I watched him go under. I could only grip the gunnel with tiny white knuckles, wishing I knew how to save him. At last I threw him a life saver, but it was the candy kind and it just did the same thing as the Mentos. Besides, he wasn’t hungry. At least he didn’t say he was. All he said was, “Help, mmmph cough he- cough mma burble”.

After his hand disappeared from the surface for the last time, I stayed leaning over the edge, waiting, hoping he’d resurface. His body was never found, but if it were we would finally see exactly how bad soda is for your teeth. Grandpa still had three left at that time.

For years afterward, I would wake up in the middle of the night in a sticky, sweet sweat, trying to shake the images of grandpa flailing about under the soda, his eyes burning with carbon dioxide as he plunged to the most cruelly thirst-quenching death in history. I see myself in those dreams, so insignificant on a tiny wooden boat floating mildly in a writhing carbonated ocean of yellow-number-5-colored water, staring out at the ripples where he had just been, unsure whether the bubbles bursting to the surface were his last breaths or whether they were just more of the same old outgassing (grandpa did a lot of outgassing). My memories of him now are all so bittersweet.

The whole things was so pointless. That’s the true idiocy of it. It was only when I got back home that I learned that fish can’t even live in a soda lake. They get diabetes in no time. If you threw a fish in that lake it would just die.

Moral of the story: my grandfather was probably a fish.

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