What Would You Do For a Coke?


 Let me just say…I loved this Super Bowl commercial.  On so many levels.

If you know me, you know I drink a Coke with a frequency that borders on religious practice.  Some, or at least one who will remain nameless, would say the amount of Coke I’ve had in the morning is a fair indication of how sweet I’ll be for the remainder of the day.  I’d like to think that’s a bit of an exaggeration….

My mother is to blame for this nasty habit (aren’t our parents always to blame?).   After all, she was the one who told me coffee stunts your growth–a declaration that has kept me from joining the billion or so Starbuck-ians of the world in their pursuit of the perfect Vente Mocha Frappa Foamed Madness–that, and the fact I think it tastes like battery acid.  I might have been able to live with the acid part just to be 5’10”.

There have been times I’ve truly wished I could stomach the taste of coffee.  In Paris, where the formula for Coke is sweeter…and on Safari in South Africa.

There’s an art to having a coke in the morning when you’re on Safari.  Rest camps in Kruger National Park are few and far between.  If your entrance gate doesn’t sell concessions, there’s a very real chance you won’t be on the same planet as a Coke for hours.  If you share my morning addiction, you know what hours feel like.  For the rest of you–imagine sitting on hold with US Airways for an estimated 102 minutes–and then multiply it by 50.

On my second trip to Kruger, I was forced into one of those mornings.  It took 3 hours to get to a rest camp with a coke machine.  This particular camp was on the small-ish side so the Coke machine was truly a gift from God.  I am convinced the heavens delivered it to appease my prayers–which were becoming a bit desperate by the time we pulled up.  Dear God, forgive me for the blog I wrote about my mother’s shoe disintegrating at Andrea’s wedding.  I promise I will never, ever, ever write about it again…

I believe I set records leaping from the truck.  Forget skill, all Olympic athletes really need is motivation.  Mine was locked in a red and white cooler with a 12 Rand price tag.  In hindsight, I should have realized this was a bit too easy…I mean, really…this was a Coke machine in the middle of the bush.  It’s not exactly like the Zebras are keeping it stocked.  But I didn’t really think that through.  At least not until I heard the heavy clank of Rand and pushed every button on the machine…50 times. And you wonder how Americans get nasty reputations while traveling abroad…it seemed perfectly reasonable to wrap my body around the machine at the time.

Maybe it was pity, maybe it was luck…maybe it was the 51st time I pressed the button to vend–but just as I began to accept defeat, a Coke made its way down the internal slide of the machine and landed at my feet.

 (This is where I sang the halleluiah chorus off key).

All was good with the world.

Or, should I say…all was momentarily good with the world?

Since we had technically exited the park in my quest for caffeine, we had to re-enter the park by showing our receipt to the guard at the gate.

A nice fellow. 

So nice, in fact, that I thought he was kidding when he asked me if he could have my coke.  I was convinced he was just making fun of my earlier acrobatics. So I said “Sure!”  (Haha Haha).

And he took it.

That’s right, he took it.  Gone.  Done.  Finished.  The only coke on the planet at that moment.

And all I could do was smile.

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