Today I’m going to make a stunning revelation about myself.
I like Pepsi.
Yes, I grew up and have lived my whole life in the Atlanta area. Yes, my parents raised me right. No, I'm not insane.
I know as a good Southern boy I'm supposed to bow down before the Coke altar, but I like Pepsi. I don't love it. It's not even my favorite. I like Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper much better. And a good, cold Coke from a fountain is hard to beat. But I don't see anything wrong with Pepsi, and I certainly don't understand the anger it brings out in people.
And boy does it bring it out, to the point of red-faced, vein-bulging diatribes. I had a roommate in college who was so anti-Pepsi he called it "the Drink of Northern Aggression."
The first reporter to come back to the newsroom from covering something at the Arena after learning about the switch from Coke to Pepsi products went on about the tragedy for five minutes. When I mentioned that I liked Pepsi you'd have thought I said I liked al-Qaida. My newsroom brethren descended on me like angry bees, letting me know in no uncertain terms what a traitor and an idiot I was for liking Pepsi.
Our website commenters echoed the sentiment:
-- "Horrible idea, this makes me want to avoid the arena and I'm a Gwinnett born and raised native. I (am) really speechless that they would even consider Pepsi. The deal should be broken and (the) person that made the decision should be fired."
-- "What a STUPID move. I'll still go to the arena, but I won't buy a drink....I'll just smuggle my own Coke products in."
-- "What do you mean '...terms of the agreement were not disclosed...'? Is this not a public facility provided for with public funds? We the people have every right and expectation to see the terms of this agreement with Pepsi. If it's all legit, then fine. Why all the secrecy?"
Seriously, people? Fire someone? Smuggle Coke in your pants or boot like a teenager sneaking liquor into a concert? Conspiracies? And is it really that horrible? What you should be complaining about is the price. Oh wait, someone did:
" ... if I am going to have to pay those prices, I at least want a drink that doesn't taste like crap!"
They're just soft drinks, people. Sugar water. Neither Coke nor Pepsi can claim to be the nectar of the gods. And it certainly shouldn't be a deal-breaker for going to the Arena for a concert or a sporting event.
If you're so distraught over this, then drink water. Have a beer. Order some coffee. Whatever you have, try enjoying it. And lighten up a little.
You don't have to have a Coke to have a smile.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.