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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The ‘New Generation’ Is Parched, Dammit!

I’m sorry. I just can’t hold my tongue any longer.

I know, I know. Many of the posts lately have involved me bitching — about my computer, or eBay, or some other ridiculous thing. And I usually like to mix it up around here — a rant here, a list there, maybe poke fun at some dimwitted celebrity or other, or make up a story where I put the dog in mortal danger of some hilarious kind. The ‘potpourri approach’ is what I’m going for here. Only, with something manlier than ‘potpourri’ that I can’t think of, just at the moment.

But tonight, tis not to be. It’s a menuful of crabby snark again, I’m afraid. I am at the whim of the Muse of Pissy, and tonight she dances again. You’ll have to settle for all rose petals and none of… um, whatever the hell else they put in potpourri. I’m really disturbed that I even tried to carry the analogy this far. Let’s just get on with the bitching before I lose my froth.

(‘Potpourri’. Sheesh.)

So. Here’s the thing. I’m a Pepsi man; have been all my life. Don’t get me wrong, though — I’m not one of those huffy, uptight, militant bastards about it, like some people on both sides of the cola fence. If there’s Coke around, and no Pepsi for miles, I’ll drink one. I don’t look a gift soda in the mouth. And if I ask for a Pepsi in a restaurant, and the waitperson asks, ‘Is Coke okay‘, then it very probably is. I don’t stamp my little feet over it. I don’t glare and say, ‘You know, it’s because of places like this that the rest of the world hates America!‘ I don’t even roll my eyes and pout and sigh that ‘I guess so‘ sigh that we all used on our parents back in the day. I take my glass, drink it, and keep my smart mouth shut. Plus, if I’m at a restaurant, I’m usually too drunk to know the difference, so who’s complaining?

The problem though, is work. The office is the one place where I really need a nice caffeinated cola to make it through the day. And I’m occasionally not drunk at work, so I’d really prefer that tasty beverage be a Pepsi. This is where the bitching comes in; thanks for hanging in there. You’re a real trooper.

See, where I work there are two vending machines.

Actually, that’s a lie; there are really four machines. But one only provides solid snacks — mostly from the days of the Eisenhower administration, by the looks of it — and another is some sort of failed attempt at a coffee machine. I’ve never seen it used, I’m frankly not sure it’s plugged in, and it features blends with names like ‘Columbian Caress’, ‘Roasted Fantasy’, and ‘Dark Chocolate Surprise’.

I’m afraid to use it because I’m not entirely sure whether it serves cups of java or provides sexual favors. And apparently for an extra quarter, you can get ‘Cream’, ‘Sugar’, or ‘Happy Ending’. I ‘like my coffee like I like my women’, but this is ridiculous.

That leaves two machines. One is a standard-issue, run-of-the-mill Coke machine. It has the whole product line — Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, Cherry Vanilla Coke, Hollandaise Coke, Crisco Coke, Diet Crisco Coke, I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter Coke, Cherry Lime Mango Papaya Guava Kiwi Coke, you name it. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

The last machine, technically, isn’t a soda machine at all; it’s a water machine. Aquafina water, to be precise. But who’s going to fill up six shelves of drink machine with bottled water? Nobody, that’s who. How depressed would you be if you saw a ‘water machine’ with nothing but… water? They might as well vend hangin’ ropes and slittin’ razors out of the change slot. That’s helping no one.

So, for the past two years, the machine has been a veritable cornucopia of alternative products. Sobe drinks. Snapple. Arizona iced teas. Little bottles of Starbucks ‘espresso shots’ — because you know you’re not getting coffee from that ‘other’ machine. One shelf of Aquafina, naturally. And then — Pepsi. Half a row of regular, half a row of diet. Fine. So I could get a Pepsi out of the machine whenever I wanted, right?

No. It’s not that simple. Nothing in my world can ever be that fricking simple.

No, the way it would happen is this: one day, the vending maching guy would stop by, and stock up the machine, as described. The Pepsi products would last, oh, maybe nine minutes. Forty Pepsis, forty Diets — whoosh! Gone, in the blink of a carbonated eye.

(If I was lucky, I might get one before they disappeared. One time, I scored two between fill-ups. I almost wept.)

Next, it was the iced teas. Snapple first, then the off brands, and a few of the Sobe concoctions. Then, the off-off brands. After a week, only a few stragglers remained. Then the waters began to go. Did the vendor sense this pattern, and stock up the popular items, to make more cash?

No. No, he did not. Jackass Vendor Man remained conspicuous in his absence, and we were left to rummage through the remaining scraps. Eventually, the teas disappeared. The rest of the Sobes, the waters — all gone. The machine would sit like that, all but empty, for weeks at a time, a desolate shell of the refreshment oasis it once had been. The only thing remaining were the bottles of Starbucks product.

(How, you ask? In an office full of caffeine-addicted codehounds, how did the bottles of pep juice survive? Are we too picky? Were they tainted? Priced out of our meager spending range, perhaps?

None of the above, actually. Everybody tried the Starbucks bottles — once. But in a move typical of the gross mismanagement of this particular Vend-O-Rama, the bottles — glass bottles, mind you — were stocked on the highest rack on the machine, a full six feet above the delivery slot below. And this is one of those machines that *boots* the requested item off the end of the shelf and against the front glass, letting it fall to the bottom to be retrieved.

And it only takes one loud crash and smashed bottle of two-dollar vending machine coffee product on your shoes to deter you from ever trying that shit again. My mocha-flavored loafers are a grim reminder of my own trip down that dark and bitter road.)

Anyway, eventually — many moons later — the vending chump would show up and stock the sodas, and the cycle would start all over. That’s how we lived for two years. But there was nothing we could do about it, so we sucked it up and dealt with it.

Until last week.

Last week — after his typical months-long absence — the vending douchebag returned to stock up the machine. Only this time, were there iced teas? No. Those were replaced with another row of water. Apparently, Aquafina was concerned about their margins on all the water they weren’t selling. Fine.

Were there Sobes, then? Snapples? Arizona tea goodies? No. In their place, we now have a variety of fruit juices. Orange is there. Apple. Cranberry. All the delicious flavors of the rainbow, which we’d all enjoy in the office, if ANY OF US EVER GOT THERE BEFORE FRICKING NOON! Who’s drinking orange juice at lunch, I ask you? Nobody. ‘Sippy-cup of apple juice-juice before you get blitzed at happy hour, sweetums? No? How about a binky before nappy time?‘ Bitches.

None of this would really faze me, of course, if they’d left the Pepsis. Their one hot seller, their consistent money maker — the only (non-breakable) source of caffeine in the entire operation — surely, they didn’t take away the Pepsi. Right?

Wrong. Pepsis — gone. In their place, we have — I can’t even believe I’m typing this — lemonade. Pink lemonade. That’s where the Diet Pepsi used to be. And to replace the regalar soda — sit down for this one, folks — something called ‘Tropicana Strawberry Melon’. Can I stay up at night blogging furiously writing code with the help of pink lemonade and strawberry ri-goddam-diculous melon soda? No. No, I can’t.

(And for you granola-sucking health nut-bags out there who’d argue that at least ‘strawberry melon’ anything is better than soda, I”ve got news for you:


Maybe if it actually contained the juice, or pulp, or even zest of the fruits in question, you’d have something to work with. But this new bullshit is about as beneficial nutritionally as three big bowls of crusty toejam, and there’s a hastily-settled lawsuit to prove it.)

So, basically, I got screwed. Along with the rest of everybody around my office. I’m encouraged to say, though, that we’ve all independently taken the same tack towards this new affront — as far as I can tell, not a single product has been extracted from that vending machine in a week. Maybe, just maybe, when the guy comes back — in, like, October — to ‘fill’ the thing and sees no empty slots, he’ll come to his senses. Twatwafflin’ douche-diddlin’ bastard.

Meanwhile, I don’t know what I’m going to do for caffeine, because I can only stomach one or two Cokes a week. And that’s pushing it. I may resort to sucking the abandoned coffee goo out of the bottom of the crappy machine. It’s nasty and sticky down there, and there’s a good chance I’ll swallow some glass in the process — but how the hell else am I supposed to stay up late to write this crap?

Permalink  |  9 Comments

9 Responses to “The ‘New Generation’ Is Parched, Dammit!”

  1. The Red says:

    I gotta use this at least once today.

    “Twatwafflin’ douche-diddlin’ bastard”

    I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my cubicle. heh

  2. Jenn says:

    My solution: Hit eBay. Get one of those little dorm fridges. Put it under your desk, and load up on Pepsi!

    That will show that “twatwaddlin’ douche diddlin’ bastard” who’s boss.

    (Damn that was funny!)

  3. RRaccoon says:

    “before I lose my froth”

    You can LOSE that?

  4. Kimi says:

    Being of an entrepreneurial spirit, here’s an idea for you. Buy like 2 cases of Pepsi at Sam’s Club or something, then sell them off individually to your co-workers with…um..say,100% markup per soda. Your caffeine addicted colleagues will be happy, and you’ll be known as “The Godfather of the Pepsi Stash.” People will be coming to you groveling for Pepsi and you can set your price and tell them that you’ll grant them this favor, however, you may call upon them sometime to return the favor.

    Anyway, just a thought. :)

  5. The Red says:

    Your catch phrase “twatwaddlin’ douche diddlin’ bastard” is catching on in the office. I am going to have to get the merchandising rights secured for this phrase. I can take over the world!!!!!

    BWWAWWWWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH *mad scientist laugh*

  6. Pooke says:


  7. #Debi says:

    I feel your pain. The university that I’m attending has some sort of Mafioso-type contract with Coke, apparently, because every frickin’ machine on the entire campus is a Coke machine. No Pepsi in the machines. No Pepsi in the cafeteria. It’s either bring one from home (30 mile drive) or suck it, sucka! I am not bitter. No, not at all.

  8. #Debi says:

    Btw, that OJ would be good to mix with the vodka you know you got hidin’ in your desk somewhere… :^)

  9. just do like i do and get an iv drip of jolt or coffee.

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