Large sodas aren’t really a 32-ounce boogeyman

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Before I go anywhere with this bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, I will acknowledge that we have an obesity problem in this country. It’s not a matter of age, race, wealth, or whatever; we are simply a nation that is growing and growing and I am not talking economically. If there are no changes, our life expectancies will begin to diminish if they haven’t already.

At the same time, I am not of the same mind as Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City. I don’t believe it is government’s place to tell us what and how much we can eat or drink. I am not of the opinion that the super-sized soda is the boogeyman for obesity.

It takes a huge leap to imagine the 32-ounce cola with a mind of its own, whipping up on a little 12-ounce brother, saying something like, “I know you would like to be on that tray, but I think this fellow needs a big gulp! Move out of the way.” Kinda silly, isn’t it?

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I think the mayor is singling out just one tip of the iceberg. He wants to limit the size of the soda, but not the crocker-sack full of french fries that go along with the triple decker, bacon burger with the dozen squirts of thousand island dressing. Then there is the double portion of fried apple pie that comes after. The mayor will work on those after he gets through with the half gallon of cola.

I just hope our mayor doesn’t jump on the bandwagon. Can you imagine what Mayor Reynolds might do with our large glasses of iced tea? The answer is nothing if he wants to stay in office.
Every time I think of the nanny state messing with my beverages, I think of that very popular Charlton Heston video clip taken when he was president of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Look it up on YouTube and listen.

Heston was addressing the NRA and speaking of that most basic right of Americans to bear arms. He was talking about the integrity of the patriots at the beginning of our nation and how it was their ability to fight back with their rifles that laid the foundation of our country.

As that 2nd Amendment was being defended so eloquently by Heston, he spoke seriously. The words he used were not his originally, but he used them as he declared that the only way his gun would be taken from him would be “from my cold, dead hands.” Of course, always the actor, Charlton Heston played to the audience and he has been quoted often.

I like to think of the quote in a more humorous manner. I imagine our Uncle Sam threatening to take away my ice cold soda or tea and, in mock rebellion, say “you can have my canned soda when you take it from my cold, dead hand!” I’m not an actor, but I like dramatics, too.

As I said, I understand that we have an obesity problem, but I don’t lay it at the feet of 32-ounce drinks. A lack of activity could be one the problems.

I remember when I was a kid and field work was par for the course. The work was drudgery, for sure, but there was one occasion for which we pined. That was the morning and afternoon breaks that we labeled after a particular kind of soda. We held on to our sanity awaiting “RC time.”

That doesn’t mean everyone had a Royal Crown Cola in the bottle. There could have been canned drinks at that time, but I don’t remember ever having “RC time” except with bottled drinks. There were Pepsis for some, Coca-Colas for some, and a variety of other drinks. Most were of the 12-ounce size.

There was one drink, however, that was known as a Topp Cola. Its main claim to fame, for me, was not the taste, but its size. While all the others were 12 ounces, the Topp Cola was 16 ounces. The size was much more attractive than the taste, which wasn’t all that bad.

By the time I had worked for a three hours in the hot sun, I needed a big cola. I guess if it were available, I would have opted for a 32-ounce one. And I would not have appreciated some rule or regulation that prevented me from buying one.

I understand the concerns of the good mayor and other government folks. They would like us to be healthier. It would cost a lot less for our healthcare system and it would be better, but government cannot simply tell us how to live our lives in every facet. There is such a thing as personal freedom.

Let’s see now. We are getting close to our Independence Day and I am thinking of that great document that is known as the Declaration of Independence. It begins with an opening paragraph, a preamble. In those few words are expressed what they referred to as “self-evident truths.”

Given to us by our Creator were Rights (they capitalized them, not me) and among them were Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Is that too much to ask? If I want a 32-ounce soda, and someone wants to sell me a 32-ounce soda, shouldn’t I be able to buy one?