America has long been the land of “bigger is better.” When I think of America, I think of the Chevy Suburban. I think of the McMansion. I think of the Magnum condom.
This has led to a culture of mass consumption that has not been seen since the golden age of Rome. In fact, if the entire population of Earth lived as Americans do, we would definitely need a bigger planet — or, more precisely, a planet 4.1 times larger than the one we currently inhabit.
Last week, as I approached the front of the line at a friendly neighborhood Carl’s Jr., I found myself in a bit of a dilemma. Low on cash, I could get a free cup of water…or a sixty-four ounce fountain drink of whatever I desired for 99 cents. Of course with these two options, it’s easy to see why most Americans would go for the Big Gulp. Why drink from a tiny free water cup when 99 cents will get you ten times more of whatever sugary concoction you decide to guzzle down? I, being the health-conscious Californian that I am, went with the most logical, and thereby the least logical, course of action. I got my water…in the 99 cent cup.
But most Americans are not able to make this decision. They fill their 99 cent cups with high-fructose corn syrup and happily drink their way to obesity, “diabeetus,” and massive coronary heart attacks.
Coca-Cola, the massive international beverage consortium best known for its 1985 “New Coke” failure in the midst of the American coke epidemic, naturally says that serving sizes and dieting are not to blame for this health crisis; they say that Americans must simply exercise more. While stating that the sedentary hungry, hungry hippos that constitute two thirds of American adults require more exercise is certainly valid, Coca-Cola’s position that fast food and serving sizes are not an issue is—excuse my bluntness—bullshit.
Coke provides “financial and logistical support” to an organization called the Global Energy Balance Network that endeavors to provide “healthier living through the science of energy balance.” This organization’s vice president, exercise scientist Steven N. Blair, recently said that “Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on. And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”
Oh, come on. Is there really “no compelling evidence” that eating too much and consuming toxic sugary drinks are significant factors in America’s health crisis? Is there no “compelling evidence” that the world is round or that Donald Trump’s toupee is, in fact, a walking, talking, sentient being with a mind of its own?
In light of Coke’s transgressions, I call out to you, the public, to undertake the “Shake a Coke” challenge. Instead of allowing your friends and family to constantly consume Coca-Cola’s carbonated crap or even “Share a Coke,” as Coke’s marketing team would so love you to do, I ask you to “Shake a Coke” instead. Turn that sweet-saccharine solution into a real solution. If you can’t make the man pay, then make sure that his reach cannot spread any further by dousing would-be accomplices and victims with his own blood. Shake a coke. Save a life.