I've got a problem.
OK, fine, fine, as any woman who has ever kissed me knows, I've got a scad of problems. But I've got one problem that I want help in solving.
I'm addicted to Coca-Cola. Totally hooked. It seems to have happened when I moved back to South Carolina from L.A. 13 years ago. Perhaps I wanted to fit in and Coke was an easy answer. An answer to being Southern without resorting to giving a rat's ass about the Carolina-Clemson football game or killing fowl with ballistic weaponry. Whatever the reasons for starting, I am a straight-out junkie, hooked on Coca-Cola.
How much Coca-Cola do I drink? Four or even five 12-oz. cans a day. That's about one-third of my total intake of calories. I use it as a constant treat while I write, while I beg for aid for orphans, while I drive in traffic, while I deal with L.A. celebs and their henchmen — essentially any time I feel the need for comfort, I turn to Coca-Cola. There's a cold one 14 inches from me right now and it's 1 a.m.
I know that this sugary concoction is a crutch. I know that it is unnecessary. It's a simple but profound addiction. Knowing that it is an addiction makes it worse. Hey, the first step in solving a problem is admitting the problem, and here I am admitting. I'm no better than the junkies on the street to whom I give spare change and unwanted clothing.
I understand that Coca-Cola is not just sugar and carbonation. It is the base of my pyramid of foods. Coca-Cola is how I get through the day. It's not a beverage, it's a coping mechanism.
When I feel the lack of love from a woman (about every three hours), I turn to Coca-Cola. When I feel that I am a lacking father (about every two hours), I turn to Coca-Cola. Subconsciously, when I feel great stress about the fact that "civilized" mankind's greed and arrogance are pushing us to self-annihilation, which happens about every hour, I turn to Coca-Cola.
I keep one can in the fridge at all times, and I take sips from it every 15-30 minutes during the day. It may as well be a self-administered morphine drip.
Oh, and did I mention that it is perfect every time? Perfect with every sip. Perfect in every situation.
My own child's love can be very inconsistent, but Coke hits the target every time. What can I say? On some level I love Coca-Cola more than I love my own child. Just like the marketing people hoped would happen.
Like any junkie, I have a ritual for how my Coke needs to be prepared. It must be properly chilled, between 28 degrees to 33 degrees Fahrenheit and served from aluminum cans or glass bottles. I don't touch Coke in any type of plastic.
And it has to be Coca-Cola. Not just any cola. Offer me a Pepsi every five minutes from now until eternity and I will turn you down every time. Bless each and every one of you at PepsiCo, but you just ain't got it. It's got to be "The Real Thing." You junkie MFer!
I've tried generics, made by the Walton Family, the Bi-Los, and the Teeters, but I go back to Coca-Cola every time with a sheepish apology like a husband caught with a sales rep — "Honey, I don't know what I was thinking, sipping from another well ... it's you I love."
I've given up meat. I've given up sex. I've given up material possessions. But I can't seem to give up Coke.
I've got it bad. There's a monkey on my back, and I want to get rid of it. So I'm taking action.
I've decided to see a hypnotist. And not just any hypnotist, but whatever hypnotist I can find in the phone book who's willing to treat me for free.
I've actually considered seeing a hypnotist about my Coca-Cola addiction before. I had a friend from my comedy touring days, a comedian/hypnotist, Tom DeLuca. Tom performs at colleges and does corporate gigs for something between $3,000-10,000 a day. Tom considered my Coca-Cola habit too insignificant to be worth his time. Making a coed cluck like a chicken is worth his time (hey, who can blame him?), but my physical well-being is immaterial. Perhaps if I had tossed Tom $8,000, he would have squeezed me in. Capitalist Pepsi-drinking swine!
My ex-wife's father is a psychiatrist, and he uses hypnotism in his practice. I sought his "help." However, Dr. M also considered my addiction not to be worth his time. But then, he considered me not to be worth his time on every level. Dr. M would rather treat a rattlesnake for hemorrhoids than help me in any way.
Actually, I'm glad that Dr. M never hypnotized me, because if he had, he probably would have had me commit suicide while under his hypnotism. The perfect crime for an imperfect marriage, in his eyes.
So, it's off to the phone book. I will find help. If the hypnotism doesn't work, I may try a 12-step program because I recognize that this is a drug addiction. Right now, I'm trying to figure out who I have "hurt" with my Coca-Cola addiction. Who will I have to apologize to for my behavior during this period? And all I can say is "I'm sorry, PepsiCo."
I'll let you know about the "perfected" me next week after the hypnosis. Or if there's anyone else out there who can help, give a call anytime. You know I'm up, I just had a Coke.
Other than Coca-Cola, Michael Fechter has over 2,964 other "problems." Call the City Paper offices to be part of his massive group intervention.