Big Soda and the “Nanny” State

 

“Soda Noir,” by Owen Smith

New York City is banning super-sized soda pop, and suddenly, everybody’s a critic – of healthy initiatives!

Never mind that pop rots your teeth*, your bones**, and that the caramel coloring will give you cancer ***– drink lots, and give it to your babies!

Speaking of babies, we’re the babies! Government is regulating our every move as if we’re children, and the government is the “Nanny.”

Well, not really. Once upon a time, people railed against seat belt laws, and helmet laws, and not being able to smoke anywhere they pleased.

No one wants to get diabetes; or for their parents to get it; or for their kids to get it. I remember hiding my father’s cigarettes, hoping he’d quit. When I was six, my friend was thrown during a relatively minor fender-bender. But because he was small and light, and it was before seat belt laws or special seats for kids, his head connected with the windshield. In high school, a girl lost her two front teeth going too fast, and hitting an unpainted speed bump. Needless to say, her face wouldn’t have smacked the dashboard had she been strapped in.

Soda pop isn’t outlawed. It’s just really clear now that it’s really bad for your body.

In California, the state was going to make Coke and Pepsi put cancer warnings on their cans and bottles, but the companies decided to change the chemical ingredients in the caramel coloring instead – isn’t that a good thing?

People hate it when their poison of choice gets regulated. They’re addicted. They want it. They’re pissed when the cigarettes are found in the freezer, and thaw wet and kind of unsmokable.

But you can’t really get mad at someone for wanting to save your life. The government isn’t the “Nanny.” The government is like your educated kid, who wants you to live to see them grow up.

**************************

*There is a science experiment that children used to do in first grade: put a tooth in some Coke, and in a week, the darn thing is completely dissolved. (I used to think this was an urban myth, until my mother told me her class did it.)

** Phosphoric acid can be good when it’s not an additive, like it is in soda. Too much phosphoric acid in your body leaches the calcium out of your bones, and contributes to kidney disease.

*** Cancer: see paragraph seven.

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