Crystal Pepsi-The Wrong One, Baby

Do you remember middle school? That's right, that time when a fleet of Martian zit-creatures had declared war on your face, when you had about $3,000 worth of metal clamped to your distorted teeth, and an lzod alligator adorned every article of your clothing.

Ah, yes, I remember those days well. Things were so much simple then. Midterms were unheard of. Three quarters could get you a metal with your choice of "tater tots" or "fish wedge." And your social standing was determined solely by your choice of carbonated beverage.

I was a devout Pepsi drinker. Despite shifts in fads and general opinion, I was true to my soft drink. Peer pressure and public ridicule could never sway my faith sneered at the weak-willed fools who fluctuated monthly between Pepsi and that other cola.

Pepsi, to me, was the perfect beverage. Coke was a bit too dry, and Dr. Pepper had too heavy a taste. Its delightful carbon dioxide bubbles tickled the nose and the throat as you sipped it. The mild after taste was just acrid enough to make the next taste that much more pleasant.

I loved Pepsi. I would never drink anything but Pepsi.

Like I said, those were the good old days. That was the Old Pepsi.

But things change so easily. The old leadership of Pepsico has moved on, and the new management has abandoned its once faithful followers.

When I walked into store 24 one day to grab some munchies for my evening at The Crimson, I beheld a most in-triguing sight. There in the front display case, was a three liter bottle of Diet Crystal Pepsi.

Being the inquisitive type, I purchased a can of the substance. "What a novel idea," I thought. "It looks healthy and refreshing, How hip! How happening! How nineties! This may be the Messiah of the soda market!"

It takes a couple of minutes for the tongue and the brain to comprehend what has just happened to them when you first ingest Diet Crystal Pepsi. At first, you think you've just drunk a lightly sweetened mineral water. On the second sip, your nose tingles and your throat burns slightly, alerting you to the fact that the drink is carbonated.

Then the third sip makes your entire body realize that the liquid you have just been drinking tastes exactly like three-week-old Cambridge sewer water (yes, it's really that bad).

It's flat, unpalatable, and visually uninteresting. How does Pepsico expect anyone to buy Diet Crystal Pepsi? If isn't even that much healthier than regular caffinated caramel colored Pepsi. That ominous "natural flavorings" entry is still on the ingredients list.

The idea of a clear soda is nothing new. 7-Up claimed to be the "UnCola." Sprite and Slice are both colorless drinks. So Crystal Pepsi provides nothing new for the soft drink community.

The advertising is stupid. There's one commercial that I keep seeing, which shows the picture of a thin, buxom woman an clad in a white swimsuit diving into a pool, superimposed on an image of Crystal Pepsi being poured. Is Pepsico trying to equate Crystal Pepsi with water? If I wanted to drink water, I would buy water, not Pepsi.

It tastes horrible. I was really thirsty, but I still was not able to finish an entire can of the stuff. I went to the Crimson newsrooms and actually drank a can of Coca-Cola to get the taste out of my mouth.

Does Pepsico have no sense of honor? The makers of Crystal Pepsi defile the great Pepsi tradition with their blasphemous concoction.

Everything that I loved about Pepsi is gone in Crystal Pepsi. The flavor is bald and unrewarding--too plan and not sweet enough. It goes flat too quickly, killing the little carbon dioxide bubbles. The after taste is oppressively heavy, and makes it difficult to quaff an entire serving of Crystal Pepsi.

The entire situation is enough to break a die-hard Pepsi lover's heart. The Pepsico I once knew is dead and gone. It doesn't respond to the people any more.

I've been thinking hard about my life lately, and I just don't think Pepsi fits into it any more. I've been exploring other soft drinks. You know, I hear L. Ron Hubbard drank a lot of Dr. Pepper.

The third sip makes you realize what you've just been drinking tastes exactly like sewer water.