Today is one of those days when it seems that no amount of caffeine will ever be enough; that my body is expending more energy just sitting in my chair in an intelligent and insightful (yet carefully thoughtful) manner than can be taken internally through my coffee cup; that if I forget myself and blink one time too many, my body will collapse in a pile of lifeless non-energy on the floor, gasping for the last drop of liquid in my travel mug. With my carafe empty, I turned to my Diet Mt Dew a little earlier in the day then usual, and when that was gone, I went for broke and bought a can of Diet Dr. Pepper. It would mean that I’d only have water after lunch, but if I got lucky the 10,268,121,894 milligrams of caffeine I had put in my body would start working at the same time, giving me the buzz and attention span that usually only comes from drugs that aren’t legally sold. Or so I was hoping. Because if OD’ing on caffeine can’t be done, then my life is totally not worth it anymore.
Due to my love affair with Diet Mt Dew that replaced my love of Coke Zero, which came shortly after my long-term relationship with Coke Classic, I’ve never really made room for Dr Pepper in my Caffeine Catalog. And when I did occasionally make room in my program and schedule the Dr, I was buying the cheapo, Wal-Mart, brewed-in-China-so-I’m-going-to-Hell-for-drinking-it brand. Not the REAL thing. (Or was Coke the real thing? I think I’m too young to have to know the answer to that question.)
So today I cracked open my Diet Dr Pepper while I was reading some article about some Field Artillery Battalion (I also have a catalog of articles that could put you to sleep; let me know if you ever have insomnia). I’ll admit, at that moment the thinking part of my brain was screaming for something, anything, please god find me something else to focus on instead of the basics of combat training. And as soon as I took the first sip of Diet Dr Pepper, I was fishing.
When I was about … um… 7? 8? (In other words, too young to have gained any sanity), I thought it was just groovy to get up BEFORE dawn to go fishing with my dad. I’m pretty sure that the only reason this ever seemed like fun was that I knew if I went, then my brother had to stay home. Lord knows I never caught a fish. While I could sit and read for hours on end, fishing required more dedication to one thing than any 8 year old has naturally. I was worse at fishing then I was at computer programming. Which is saying a lot, because I got through at least the first 10 pages of chapter one int that BASIC workbook, but fishing took skill. Skill that I did not have an ounce of. Somehow, my dad managed to not strangle the babbling little girl that threw her line over every tree limb hanging over Lay Lake. I’m sure he burned off a few years of Purgatory keeping his thoughts to himself, and for all I know, that’s the entire reason he took me fishing. It sure wasn’t because I was catching any fish.
We ate lunch on the lake. Sandwiches – exactly the same as the ones I took to school every day – were magically transformed into an entirely new food experience. Because when I went fishing with my dad, we had Dr Pepper for lunch. In our house, soda was not an every-day-of-the-week drink. Soda was for special occasions and the nights my mom fixed pizza (she actually told us that soda went better with pizza then milk – and I have never in my life had milk with pizza to this day).
Luckily, I have gained a little wisdom. I now know that dawn marks the time one should start thinking about getting a little sleep, rather than the time one’s alarm should be going off. I now know that fishing is not, and never will be, something I can do to provide food for my family, and I’ve made my peace with that. And I think the reason that I so rarely drink Dr. Pepper is because I want it to be something that brings back the memories of fishing with my dad every once in a while. Because that is something I don’t think I’ll ever put either one of us through again.
Unless he brings the beer.