Tag Archives: Coke

I’d like to buy the world a Coke

I’d like to buy the world a Coke. Just one Coke. And everybody would have to share it. How do you split twelve ounces into seven billion? I’m sure it has to be possible, right, I mean, soda is made out of molecules, and all of those molecules have to be able to be broken down, even the tiniest atom is composed of smaller parts.


So here it is, a can of Coke, from Rob, to the world. But who’s going to accept it? Who can I entrust with making sure that everybody on the planet gets his or her tiniest drop of Coke? This is getting pretty stupid already, I thought I’d maybe get like two or three paragraphs out of this, and then I’d be able to stretch it out to five or six, and then add a ridiculous intro.

But I’m already out of everything to say about making the world share one Coke. Actually, the first three lines, that would have made a great tweet. I get Twitter, I do, I just don’t get how I can really do anything on Twitter. Because every time I have anything even close to something that would do well on Twitter, I’ll post it, and then that’s it, it’s gone, maybe one or two people will “favorite” it.

And I don’t get it, some of these Twitter people that I follow, they’re like really good at just constantly churning out bite-sized packets of information, little jokes, beginnings, middles, and ends. Me, I can write eight hundred words and not feel like I’ve really said anything.

But Twitter, even though I get it, sometimes I wish that I’d never gotten it. For example, a while back I started getting a ton of new followers. Wow, I thought to myself, it’s really happening, my work is getting out there, I’m attracting a following. But none of these people ever clicked on anything that I wrote, my stuff never got retweeted.

I thought, maybe these people are just mad that I didn’t follow them back. So I started following people back, everybody that followed me. So now I had these two columns of rapidly ascending numbers next to my username. It was “followers” and “following.”

But then right after I did that, my Twitter feed turned into something that looked like my spam email folder from when I had AOL back in the late nineties. And that’s when I figured it out, all of those accounts that were following me, they were all spambots, all of them sending out identical weight loss formula tweets and magic penis enlargement ads. So I had to go through my followers list, which, by this point, was quite large, and I had to individually block and report each one for being spam.

So yeah, that stopped the new followers. And then I got sad. Because it hit me, great, I didn’t have spam anymore, but it also meant that I wasn’t really popular. I couldn’t even pretend that I was popular. Ignorance really was bliss. Now I just regular, it turned out that I had been regular all along. I felt more regular than ever.

Every once in a while someone will follow me who has like fifty thousand followers. Wow, I’d think to myself, this person must be famous, or at least really well known. Even though I’d never have heard of any of these people. And then I noticed also that they had an almost equal number of people that they were following.

That didn’t make sense, because all of the famous people that I do follow on Twitter, for every hundred thousand people that follow them, they in turn follow zero to one people back. So I figured out that these people were just following me purely to get a follow back. I stopped following back and, sure enough, within twenty-four hours, they’d unfollow me.

Now I’m sad again. I wish the world would buy me a Coke. Actually, I don’t wish that. I have tons of soda in my house. If the world knocked on my door and gave me a can of Coke, I’d be like, yeah, I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t need it at all, and I’d feel bad that the world went out of its way for me, for nothing.

When people say “pop” instead of soda

I love it when people say “pop” instead of “soda.” I start laughing so hard. “Hahaha!” I’ll interrupt whoever happens to be talking, “You said pop!” and I’ll just totally take over the conversation, which is a bad habit, I’m not trying to brag here or anything, but it’s like I can’t help it. Someone says “pop” and that’s it, game over, you might as well leave, because that’s all I’m going to talk about until we part ways. And even then, the next time we run into each other, even if it’s like months later, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to bring it up right away, the last time we were together, “Remember when you said ‘pop’?” And I’ll just laugh and laugh.


Which, again, it’s not cool, I’m being a huge dick, I get it. But I can’t stop it. I tried really hard to keep it in last time I was up in Buffalo. I was really hungry and I went to a diner, and I just sat there and prayed, I said, God, please make it so the waitress doesn’t say pop. But that was my first mistake, because just that thought process alone got me going. I imagined God in my head listening to my prayers, and in my imagination, he started laughing, he was like, “Ha, my child, you said ‘pop.'” And so I already felt it bubbling up from inside, the giggles.

When the waitress came over, I asked for a Coke, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this beforehand, but I really should have just had iced tea or water, something, anything besides soda. But like I said, that idea hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I just said it, “I’ll have a Coke, please,” and then I held my breath, hoping that the waitress wouldn’t say anything to get me going.

She just said, “You got it,” and so I let out a sigh of relief. But when she came back with my drink, she caught me by surprise, I mean, at my restaurant, we have a rule that you’re not supposed to announce whatever it is that you’re serving. Does that make sense? Like, if you order a hamburger, a lot of people’s natural reaction when serving food is to narrate it, like, “Here’s your hamburger,” as it’s getting placed in front of you. Obviously it’s a hamburger.

But yeah, just because that’s how they do it in my restaurant doesn’t mean that that’s how they do it everywhere, and I should have been ready for it, I should have had my hands over my ears, so I could have at least tried to muffle out the sound of her putting that Coke in front of my face, saying, “Here’s your pop.” Because that’s how it went down, and I just totally lost it.

I tried to hold it in, I really did, but this only made it worse, because my efforts in restraining the laughter only succeeded for about half a second, and the noise that I made as the “haha” escaped from my throat, that’s exactly what it sounded like, like an escape, like I was holding it back, but it just, bam, it just knocked over completely the flimsy walls that I had hastily erected in a pathetic attempt at not letting that laugh out.

“Is everything OK?” she asked me, and come on, everything was fine, I was the one that had the problem here. I wish I could have just made it out to be like something was wrong with me, because really, there actually was something wrong with me. I had this uncontrollable urge to laugh at something that, definitely in Buffalo anyway, isn’t funny at all.

“Yes, everything’s …” and again, I couldn’t really think of anything to say. Now I can look back and say to myself, Rob, you should have said that you were laughing about a joke that your friend made last week, or you could have turned it into a cough or something, but none of that seemed natural in the moment, I was clearly laughing, and I just said, “I’m really sorry, it’s just that, you know, you said ‘pop,’ and you know …”

“Yeah, that’s what we call it up here, pop.” And she stormed away, clearly insulted. Worse, I was still laughing. I couldn’t stop it. As I was trying to explain myself, I kept getting my words caught up over my laughter, still beating me in my efforts to, if not contain it totally, to at least reign it in somewhat. But no, I was practically spitting on her.

Because come on, “pop,” that’s crazy, right? I’m sorry, people from upstate, the Great Lakes, Canada, I hope you don’t think I’m too much of an asshole. But that’s just so funny. It’s like that one time I went to Philadelphia and they called my hero a “hoagie.” That deli guy actually kicked me out of his store. I thought he was going to chase me out, try to punch me in the face or something.

My brain is empty

Sometimes I can’t get my mind to think about anything. A lot of the time, I’ll just start writing about how I can’t think of anything to write about. But this is different. I’m sitting here and I can’t even describe what’s going through my head right now. It feels like there’s nothing turned on . It’s like, usually if I’m really struggling I can at least start by just acknowledging where I am, what I’m doing.


Like right now, I’m sitting here at my kitchen table, I can hear the birds outside doing their thing. Sometimes just writing out an observation like that will jog something, all of the sudden I’ll realize that I haven’t been thinking about nothing, that there’s always something going on inside that I just haven’t been aware of.

But right now? I don’t know. I’m just sitting here. I’m typing on a really old laptop that my parents gave me after my house was robbed a little over a year ago. I remember at the time it felt like life was over. They got our computers, my XBOX, it was a mess. But now it doesn’t really feel like a big deal anymore. I don’t get to play video games, but that’s probably a good thing, because every once in a while I’d lose five or six hours at a time playing some online first-person shooter, getting yelled at by twelve-year-old gamers kicking my ass from all around the world.

And this computer is old, but it works fine. I bought more memory, upgraded the operating system. Aside from the cosmetic differences, it’s more or less the same than any new computer. Although, a couple of months ago, the screen died. I thought that it was going to be this huge deal, getting a replacement part, having it installed. The guy at the Genius Bar was like, “Even if Apple still made parts for this machine, which it doesn’t, it won’t make sense to put more money into an eight-year-old computer. Sorry.”

So I was a little bummed about that. But then on a whim I took it to one of those “We fix computers!” shops all the way downtown, and this Chinese guy took the computer out of my hand, unplugged it, plugged it in, started and restarted it a few times, and then held down command, option, r, and p, and bingo, it came to life. I couldn’t even understand what he was trying to tell me, but he wouldn’t accept the money I was holding out.

OK, so I just wrote about my computer. It was boring, but it was something. And I don’t think that I was thinking about that story before I started writing about how there was nothing going on inside of my head.

Right before I sat down to the computer, I got out an ice-cold can of Coke Classic from the fridge. I don’t drink soda that often, but I love it. I love drinking soda. I try not to keep it in the house because I know that, if it’s there, if there’s ice-cold Coke at my disposal, I’ll always go for it. Like right now. I don’t know how they got in there, but there were like three cans just right there, I noticed them yesterday.

And so I’ve been drinking them. And I don’t know what your opinion is, but to me, Coke is at its absolute best when it’s drank right out of the can. It just tastes better. You know what never tastes good? Coke out of a twenty-ounce bottle. It always tastes less carbonated, not as flavorful. I keep thinking that there has to be a reason, but nothing really makes sense in my head. So maybe it’s just that, maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Maybe this is as good as it’s going to get today, talking about old computers and Coca-Cola in a can. Is that better than nothing? I don’t know. I’m trying to think about it but I can’t come up with any conclusions. My mind’s a total blank.

Y’all got Dr. Pepper?

I always think it’s funny when people from Texas visit New York and try to order Dr. Pepper everywhere they go. This isn’t something that I picked up on right away. It’s only after years of working at restaurants in the city, thinking it really weird that every once in a while I’d get those out-of-towners who asked me for a Dr. Pepper, as if it was just the most natural thing in the world, giving me looks of confusion when I’d respond, “Sorry, we don’t have Dr. Pepper.”


Dr. Pepper exists up here, but it’s not like you’re ever going to find it outside of a grocery store or a Seven-Eleven. It’s just Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if restaurants had more of a soda selection, but I don’t sit down at random restaurants and start asking for cream soda or something equally obscure.

You travel away from home, maybe you don’t know. I certainly don’t know. I worked at this touristy place for a few years and I was initially really confused when Southerners started asking me, “Ya’ll got sweet tea?” I’d be like, “Well, we have iced tea.” I didn’t know there was a difference. But I guess if you add sugar to iced tea, you call it sweet tea, and everybody just kind of expects it.

Whatever, it’s all just funny regional differences. But again, it wasn’t until I actually met some Texans that I eventually figured out that it’s a Texas thing, Dr. Pepper, that apparently this stuff is more popular than Coke is in the rest of the country. Which is crazy, to think that there’s an alternate reality out there, where everybody speaks the same language, right, but Coke isn’t number one, Dr. Pepper is.

I like Dr. Pepper. I can’t tell you exactly what it tastes like, but then again, I can’t really tell you what Coke tastes like either. But they definitely taste different. Maybe I’d like it if we switched to Dr. Pepper. Coke is great and everything, but I don’t know, I feel like a lifetime of cola has sort of dampened my ability to appreciate it anymore. It doesn’t taste like anything anymore, not really, it’s just sweet.

One time recently I had this couple sit down at one of my tables at the restaurant. The guy had this big beard and when I asked him what he wanted to drink, he asked for a Dr. Pepper is that Texas drawl. And I smiled and I said, “Sorry pardner, you’re not in Texas anymore.” And he kind of just looked at me, and his girlfriend or wife or whatever just said, “That’s OK, he’ll have a Coke.”

And it sucked, because I wasn’t trying to be a dick or anything, I was just trying to be friendly. Like friendly funny. Like yeah, I’m making fun of you a little bit, but it’s all good-natured, nothing to get upset over. That’s what I was going for anyway, but I don’t know, every once in a while I’ll play it back in my head. Was I coming across as a jerk? Was it my intonation? Was it the whole “pardner” thing?

Whatever, there’s one thing that I can totally appreciate about Southerners and Texans. Not once have they every asked me for a Pepsi. At least we can all agree on that. Coke, fine. Dr. Pepper, yeah, I’d be willing to switch to Dr. Pepper. But Pepsi? Forget about it. Whenever someone asks me, “Is Pepsi OK?” I say, “No, Pepsi is not OK. Pepsi is never OK.” And usually that gets a laugh, but I’m not joking, I’m actually trying to be a little bit of a dick, if only to get the importance of my message across.

Workplace diplomacy

You have no idea what kind of lunatics I have to deal with at work. The other day Maggie, one of my coworkers, she comes busting into my office, she’s like, “Rob, you know, if you’re not going to make any ice cubes, it’d be nice if you didn’t use them all. OK? Because now there’s no ice. So thanks a lot.”


And yeah, I did take all of the ice cubes, but just the way she came at me, like no knocking, and no, I wasn’t on the phone or anything, but I was in the middle of reading something, I was on the Internet. And she’s all like yelling and pointing, she’s holding a can of Diet Coke in one hand and an empty glass in the other, like look Rob, Diet Coke, glass, no ice. Thanks a lot.

Sure, I could have been a little more diplomatic about everything, right, I told HR that I’d do my best to handle office situations like this a little bit more diplomatically, that’s what the letter that they made me sign said, I just remember that word, diplomatically, like I’m an office diplomat. But I lost it, I said, “Maggie, what the hell’s your problem?” and she kind of smiled, because yeah, I came out swinging, I said “hell” which isn’t very diplomatic, and so I could just tell she was already filling out the official complaint in her head, “And he was cursing,” and then I’d have to write out my own counter-complain, explaining how technically “hell” isn’t a curse, even though, yes, it is all about context, and no, I shouldn’t have said that.

But I was already knee deep in, and so I pushed ahead. “One, what are you, in charge of the ice?” And she was like, “Yeah, I filled up the ice tray this morning. Now there’s none left.” At this point she pointed to my desk. I had a huge glass of ice, which, whatever, yes, I used all of the ice. And this I admitted, albeit not very diplomatically.

“I’m sorry,” I told Maggie, “I didn’t know it was your ice. I thought it was the office’s ice. OK, and I filled up the tray with water after I was done. Why don’t you just come back in a couple of hours and you’ll have all the ice you want?” and she shot right back, “Well how about next time, you save some ice for the rest of us, especially considering you weren’t the one who filled it up this morning, I did, because I was planning on having an ice cold Diet Coke right about now. And now I can’t. Because you took all of the goddamn ice.”

Now I smiled back, I was already mentally adding on my future report to HR, that not only is “hell” not a curse, but if it is, then maybe you should talk to Maggie about cursing, because she told me “goddamn.” “Maggie, where’d you get that Diet Coke, from the office kitchen?”

“Yeah? So?” she said. “Well, it’s from the fridge right? It’s still cold. I don’t understand what you’re complaining about. Why don’t you just chill the f out …” shit, I shouldn’t have said f. Even though I didn’t say “fuck,” I only said f. There’s a lot of room for her to make it look like I said “fuck” and this was potentially a problem, because I could just see my response to HR, in my head, there was no way of phrasing a defense without writing out, “f,” or even, “fuck,” no, just “f.” Still. That was sloppy.

She smiled, “Well you know what? I filled up the ice. OK? And who are you to talk about ice cold soda? You’re telling me to drink it from the can, but you’ve got an ice cold Coke right next to a glass of ice. Don’t you think that’s maybe a little hypocritical?”

It’s true, I was using a full glass for my own refrigerated Coke. I like pouring just a sip, and then I drink it, and then another. Each drop perfectly chilled without being diluted. But I was on the ropes now, I didn’t have time for any concessions. “Look, it’s ice OK? It doesn’t matter who fills it up, and even though I’m grateful that you replenished the tray …”

“Bullshit you’re grateful.”

Bingo. I continued, “Even though I’m grateful, I didn’t think I had to ask everybody in the office if I could take some ice. Do you go around asking people who replaced the toilet paper in the bathroom? Huh? You want to get into that time I saw you not refill paper tray two on the annex printer with fresh paper? Remember that?”

And Maggie just looked at me, I was smiling, we were even for curses, and she said, “You know what Rob? Go fuck yourself, asshole.” And she stormed out.

I thought, ha, talk about a win. And I’d be the bigger person here. I had the cold drink. I didn’t see the need to involve HR.

But then ten minutes later I thought, you know what? Fuck Maggie. And I opened a new Word document and told HR all about how Maggie stormed into my office and told me to go fuck myself. I hope she gets fired.