It is said that Americans prize freedom above all else. I disagree. It is not so much the freedom we prize, as it is the freedom to choose. This is a key distinction, as it is the gift of having choices that we most relish. Whether we are in the voting booth, or the Wal-Mart, we enjoy having an infinite variety of options to choose from. Well, most of us.
To be honest, some days I wish I had a freedom from choice. Some days I just want to walk into the coffee shop and say “Gimme Coffee!” without having to describe the size of it in Latin, or choose which country it was grown in. This is also why I hate doing the grocery shopping. Not for the difficulty of locating the ketchup in the store, but for the dizzying array of different ketchups that I have to cognitively sort through to find a plain old bottle of god damned ketchup.
Sometimes less is more.
So when I read an article in the Red Star Tribune about a fancy-schmancy new Coke machine that was arriving in the Twin Cities, I was a little torn. I’m not much of a Pop drinker anymore, despite rotting half of my teeth as a child swilling RC Cola, and Fanta Red Cream Soda. Now when I belly up to the fast food beverage dispenser I just stick my cup under the Diet Coke without a second thought. I’ve put on enough pounds since turning 40 I figure ZERO calories is my only real option. So I was a little surprised, and excited, when I read the article, and heard that you could choose from over 100 different flavors, and 10,000 possible custom flavor combination’s.
TEN THOUSAND DIFFERENT FLAVORS.
I went out that very day to hunt down one of these machines and see for myself. Well, I am here to report that I found one of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines at a local Dairy Queen over lunchtime. It is everything they describe, and more. I have now seen the future of beverage dispensing, and I am here to tell you it is going to be a wonderful and glorious future.
There’s only one problem. Now that I have the option of 10,000 different flavors I can never be satisfied with any single flavor again. Now every time I walk into a place with one of these machines I will be compelled to create a Franken-Pop flavor that I have never tasted before. And when I leave bloated and gassy, I will feel guilty, and slightly anxious about the other 9,999 flavors that I didn’t try. To be quite honest, I’m not sure I am prepared to live with such pressure. This is the same reason I stopped buying beer, when our local beer store started stocking 200 different kinds of micro-brews. It’s like walking into a library and feeling compelled to read every book. It will take me several lifetimes to try all the flavors I now want to try, and with my failing middle age memory, I will never be able to remember which one is my favorite.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call the Dr. and have her up my medications to deal with the panic attacks I will be suffering tonight when I take the family to Davanni’s to try Lemon-Lime Vanilla Coke.
(DISCLAIMER: This is not a paid product endorsement. However, if the good folks at Coca-Cola Inc. would like to comp me by installing one of these at 20 Prospect, I would have no problem sleeping at night)