Thursday, July 16, 2009

Carbon Nation

I was born to be a part of the Pepsi Generation. That was the ad campaign that was most closely aligned with my coming of Soda Pop Age; and I was happy to climb on board.

Not that we were allowed to actually CONSUME sodas in 1962...unless, of course we were at Grandmother's house; where soda AND dessert were OK in the same meal.

Although we lived in Atlanta, the Land of Coca Cola, I proudly displayed my red, white and blue, insuring my outcast status among my young peers. And I was an early adopter in 1964, when Diet Pepsi came on the scene. Followed in short order by...oh, I shiver to think...Tab. I don't think I consumed more than two cans of the stuff in my life, but I can still conjure the taste. It reminds me of the smell of ether, just before I went under to have my tonsils removed.

The Pepsi Generation, boys and girls, aged gracefully; holding hands and singing. We grew our hair long and embroidered flowery patches on our favorite jeans. Some of us were too cool for school, and opted to "hang out" on 14th Street; wearing flowers in our hair. We read "The Great Speckled Bird" News (simply referred to as "The Bird") and sometimes The Pepsi Generation - um - enhanced the Pepsi with interesting substances. The Coca Cola crowd was enjoying their debutante balls. It was clearly cooler to drink Pepsi.

And then, a new campaign. Circa 1972, we became The Pepsi People! Feelin' free, feelin' free! All across the nation, (we were) the Pepsi Generation! Feelin' free!

I was OSoCool!!! Free! The Pepsi People! And I had an invitation to a concert at The Great Southeast Music Hall, supercool ATL venue, where Country Joe and the Fish were holding court. Opening act was some guy named Barry Manilow.

Who just happened to leave the world of jingles for the world of pop music. Penned The Pepsi People, and then...Mandy.?

Can't remember anything else about that evening except:

1. My shock that I was in the presence of The Pepsi People Genius, and
2. Country Joe got booed off the stage; Barry played a second set.

I was in the front row. I loved my Pepsi (even though I think I had white wine that night), I loved Barry Manilow, and I pretty much loved everyone in the world.

Important footnote: Other than a tawdry dalliance with Diet Dr. Pepper in the late '70s, due to David Naughton, star of "An American Werewolf in London" and the "I'm a Pepper" campaign, I have been FOB with Pepsi. Even when MJ lost his entire head of hair.

Until tonight.

I was out of Diet Pepsi, Vanilla; my favorite carbonated evening beverage. Stopped by the local grocery to grab a fridge pack and some dog food; and noticed...I am not making this up. "Pepsi Throwback." Sweetened with Natural Sugar.

So I'm wondering. Before Pepsi ThrewBack, what WERE they using to sweeten their beverages?

Unnatural sugar?

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