Yes, read the bottle. That’s Mtn Dew. Funny how I always see Mt. Dew in my head. It’s how I write it. And I write it often. At least one character in any script or novel I’ve ever written drinks Dew. I drink Dew. I drink it especially when I write. Thank God it’s not alcohol; I’d be dead by now. I would’ve been dead at sixteen. Some say it’s as bad as alcohol. As addictive as a drug. Once when my friend Gerlando saw me getting it out of the soda dispenser at HOB Las Vegas (as an employee I got to drink it for free. Thank God they eventually switched over to Coke products. I was growing a camel hump on my back of stored Dew) he called it the meth of soft drinks. He told me to cut myself off. It was the worst thing I could drink. Six years later, an empty bottle sits next to me as I write this. I have not stopped. I have no plans to do so any time soon.
How did this happen to me? Oh, I was roped in young, beautiful babies. By a family member. Two of them. As Elliot Stabler would say, “He handed her the bologna and she made the sandwich.” My dad got the soda machine in the office of his gas station and brother Drew selected the Dew and popped the tab. “Aaahhhhh,” he said after a long swig, then burped. The look on his face–pure bliss. I was seven. I wanted that Dew, and I wanted it now. He bought me one. I popped the tab. My mouth exploded as the bubbly, burny sugary rush rumbled over my tongue and down my throat. I was hooked then and there. No juice, no other soda, no Yoo Hoo chocolate soft drink tasted so good. Quenched a thirst. I slammed that can down in minutes. Drew got me another one, which I nursed on the car ride home. Going back to Dad’s station became a visit to the Dew machine. “Hi, Dad.” I’d give him a kiss and then slap his pants pocket. “Fifty cents, please.”
Back then Dew wasn’t the most popular soda. Coke was everywhere, and Shasta and Frank’s. Couldn’t get it at restaurants or fast food joints. My mom wouldn’t buy it. Cumberland Farms didn’t have it. Seemed Dad was the only pusher in the neighborhood. In the eighties I could get it at Wawa, and I did. When the first one opened in Cape May I was there every day I was at the shore, buying a Dew. When I got my first apartment with Lisa, another Dew addict, we bought it by the case-full. For Christmas her friend Mark bought her one. You’d have thought she opened a box of loose diamonds. “Oh, my God,” she said, cradling the box. “Exactly what I wanted.” One night after one of his gigs my Mark (Marks are fabulous, every girl should have one at least once in her life) walked me out to my car. For some reason I forget now there was a need to open my trunk; inside were two and a half cases of Mtn Dew. It was February in Philadelphia, and I kept them in the trunk so I could have one to drink on the way home after a night on the town. Mark said, “Mtn Dew?” I mistook his amusement as a kinship of excitement. “Cold and delicious,” I announced. “Want one?” He understood what a sacrifice this was for me. I think that’s why he declined . . .
Dew tastes best in cans, by the way. Cold from the fridge and in the freezer for forty-five minutes. Slushy and eyes rolling back in your head good. The caffeine doesn’t even bother me. I can drink three Dews and still sleep like a baby. In fact, it helps me sleep. I love a Dew at one a.m., right before I go upstairs to bed. I love it with a sandwich. I love it with popcorn. By itself. It is an integral part of the Breakfast of Champions (along with mac & cheese). It’s the busting that makes me feel good. It floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. It’s more powerful than a locomotive. It’s Britney, bitch. It is Mtn Dew. Hear it roar.