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The downfall of soda fanaticism - Justin Boron

My trusty drink holder mustered all it could.

But the monolithic Taco Bell cup was too much to bear.

Gravity took hold as I spun my wheel to avoid some fool on a Segway, and my floor mat became victim to the torrents of Mountain Dew flowing from my cup.

With the Segway rider speeding off into the distance, I could curse no one but the top tier ad wizards at PepsiCo.

It was from their tormented minds that came the novel idea for the wide-body cup, featuring a narrow base.

Its introduction was a historical moment for the fountain drink industry and fountain drink fanatics alike.

Beneath the glossy finish of the carbonated beverage industry, there is a subculture of soda maniacs. I know because my roommate in college was one.

Most of this little-known fringe group is made up of burnt-out cross country runners, who were denied soda in the heyday of their running career. Once they find the glory of cola, there is no turning back for them. They are freed from their self-imposed adolescent restraints and go hogwild with sodas.

Their newfound devotion to soda is evident in some of memorable quotes my roommate will spill between sips.

My favorite was: "That's just 32 ounces of pure pleasure."

The addiction had an ugly side too. Once, when he was duped into buying a 44-ounce fountain drink on the premise that it was only 69 cents, he lashed out at a gas station clerk.

The sign said all cups were the same price. The tiny letters below the sign also said only paper cups applied to this special.

My roommate had unfortunately picked out a plastic cup.

When he received the bad news, which came in the form of green, digital numerals reading $1.25, he lost control.

I saw the eruption coming but knew there was nothing I could do. He was a soda-freak, which can be worse than a speed-freak on any given day when the soda goes flat, or a fast food worker puts more ice than soda in the cup.

Soda flew. Cheap linens were ruined. And my friend was forced to call up his track skills of yesteryear to escape arrest.

It was this type of fanaticism for soda that gave way to the wide-body at Taco Bell cup.

There was a clear need for maximum content, with the minimum conflict, according to its developers

Soda lovers like my college roommate became unruly when their cups would not fit into car cup holders.

The wide-body would allay these nasty incidents, developers said.

But this was no way to treat the rest of the world.

The ad wizards refused to bring general physics into their integrated marketing strategy.

What resulted was a cup aerodynamically predisposed for horrific spills like the one I encountered recently.

I intend on sending "a strongly worded letter" as Gob from "Arrested Development" would say.

And I am working on a class action suit, which claims PepsiCo neglected the health of the general population when it pandered to these soda fanatics.

Certainly, there must be millions of people who look down each morning and see stains on their floor mat evident of wide-body cup. They cringe with embarrassment, psychologically barred from ever buying a fountain drink ever again.

My floor mat is irreparably damaged, and someone is going to pay.

In the allusive words of Walter Sobchak, "This aggression will not stand."

Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News-Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or jboron@news-daily.com .