Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Have a Coke and a Smile

"What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest.  
You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, 
and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too.  A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.  
All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good." 
-- Andy Warhol

I don't know about you, but where I live Coke is on the way o-u-t.

Nobody drinks it.  
Everyone shuns it.  
If you didn't know better, you'd think it had some actual cocaine in there the way people react.

Around here, children can never have a Coke.
Like chocolate decadence cake, it is hardly ever seen and rarely tasted.
It's a forbidden fruit.

I'm old school.

Yes, I still drink Coke.
(sssshhhh, keep it on the down low...because it is a serious personal flaw)
I have Coke in my fridge regularly.
I do allow children to drink it -- on occasion -- OK, every Friday night.

I'm not belittling childhood obesity.
I'm not a fan of High Fructose Corn Syrup.at.all.
I could use more exercise and could be in better shape...
but there's something about an ice cold Coke that is delish.

And lately, I've been dividing people up into two groups:
those who will have a Coke and a smile and those who don't.

When I visited my friend Beth in the hospital for the first time with her daughter Chloe, I bought her a sandwich at Subway.  I stood there in front of the drink cooler and toiled.  
Was she a Coke drinker or not?
Would she be offended if I offered her a Coke?
What would she think of me?
I chose the Coke.
Turns out I guessed right...she's a Coke drinker.

When the guy who was landscaping my backyard was sweltering under a broiling sun stood up to take a break, I offered him a Coke.  Or a water.  Both would be ice cold.
No question: he went for the Coke.
He gave me a smile.
Yes, we bonded...under the guise of Coke.

When the guy who was crawling under my house and fixing my rogue ventilation came up for air, 
I offered him a Coke.
I didn't even cringe. 
I knew he was one of us.
He guzzled that sucker so fast I felt bad...the man was parched. 
I should have asked sooner.

Turns out that Coke is a pretty great ice breaker.
It leads to conversation.
It helps a busy person to pause, take a break, and enjoy something simple.
It can definitely help strangers reach out to one another.

Just like the smiley revolution, I think passing out Cokes on a hot day might bring about serious world peace.  Or maybe it would help us see we're not so different -- that we really can stop and drink and relax together even if the only thing we have in common is the item we're drinking.

I know, I know.
Coke is bad for you.
It's bad for our kids.
We should be drinking water, or kombucha, or chai or green tea.
Or maybe milk.

I still say that it is a nice part of life.
I'm grateful for the many Cokes I've shared.
I'm grateful for the smiles.
I'm grateful for the fun times, the popcorn, the movies, the pretzels and the deliciousness that Coke brings with it.
I like the way I can break down barriers with a simple question:
"Would you like a Coke?"
More often than not, the answer is yes.
Those are my kind of people.
Come on over any time...free Cokes all around.

1 comment:

  1. You mean there are people out there who don't drink Coca-Cola? Around here, there is no such thing as a place without Coke (and yes, even in schools). Thank goodness there's still a little common sense left in the world. =)