Laurie Cantillo: Planning a Pepsi 'Tea Party'

Laurie Cantillo is planning a cola party to protest a proposed new sin tax in New York.

I haven't cared a whit about taxes on other people's vices such as alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food, but New York's anti-cola proposal goes too far.

The 18 percent "obesity tax" the Paterson administration is floating would apply to all regular soda and fruity drinks that are less than 70 percent real juice. It doesn't apply to coffee, tea, bottled water, or diet sodas.

If this ill-conceived initiative passes, I will thumb my nose at New York by purchasing Pepsi in Connecticut and smuggling it into the city by briefcase. I will organize fellow caffeine addicts to toss cases of cola into New York Harbor.

While I'm a diet soda drinker, I am in 100 percent solidarity with my Coke- and Pepsi-addicted brethren. If Diet Pepsi Drinkers Anonymous were a group, I would be a charter member. I have been hooked on this bubbly brown brew since I was 16. I admit to drinking 3 to 4 of these chemical-laden drinks a day, sometimes as early as 6 a.m. I buy in bulk at Costco in 36-packs that take a forklift to carry.

Soda is my version of morning coffee. It wakes me up, helps me focus, and is as much a part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth. I've read all the horror stories about how cola disintegrates pennies and can cause every malady known to science (including a thick midsection, which is the worst of them all) but I DON'T CARE.

My kids are constantly on my case, nagging me to quit and reminding me that over my lifetime I've downed 45,651 Diet Pepsis and counting. I tell them they should never take up this disgusting habit, and they should do as I say, not as I do. I have no other vices that I am willing to admit to, so I justify my addiction by telling myself I'm entitled to just one. And this one isn't illegal... yet.

On more than one occasion I've tried to cut back on cola and drink more water and herbal tea, but it's a losing cause. Whether it's cold turkey or tapering, I get withdrawal headaches. I get cranky. I crave the satisfying fizz that gets me through rough patches during the day. In search of a fix, I shuffle like a junkie to the office vending machine.

New York politicians can tax us inter-state commuters all they want, but they'll have to pry my cola can from my cold, dead hand.


Laurie Cantillo's columns perspectives on New Canaan life appear each Sunday in New Canaan Patch.

Michelle Bowers January 27, 2010 at 06:29 PM
Laurie: I just cracked open my first DP of the day right before I read your piece. I'm with you, sister! Don't you think it's odd that they won't tax the diet sodas even those are probably worse for us, health wise, than the sugary ones? It's all crazy. I'd be fine if they only taxed Coke and not Pepsi. ;-)
KTKIA January 28, 2010 at 04:57 PM
Hey now, I am a Diet Coke drinker of the highest order and I LIVE in New York (literaly 0.2 mile over the border on a road that starts in New Canaan). It's my coffe, it's my morning pick me up, lunch drink and beverage w/out caffeine at night. I would not wish this tax on you DP drinkers, I even can tolerate your DPzero. We morning soda drinkers need to stick together!!!


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