I am disturbed by mindless conformity to long-held traditions. And I am determined to change them.
I am starting with a drink now unanimously referred to as “Pepsi.”
In restaurants, bars, fast-food joints and grocery stores, I have taken to using the product’s God-given, full name: Pepsi Cola.
It is harder than it seems.
For example, try telling the person at the Taco Bell window that you would like two “Pepsi Colas.” And don’t just say it. Over-enunciate each syllable for emphasis, as though the person to whom you are speaking is deaf and you are facilitating their reading of your slow-moving lips. And wait for the response.
“You mean Pepsi?” they will ask.
Then there is a pause while they consider the possibilities:
1) The customer I am dealing with is developmentally disabled and I should not stare.
2) The customer is from an obscure Central Asian nation and I should not stare.
3) I am not getting enough money to deal with this shithead.
While the Taco Bell employee ponders this, I, too, ponder.
I ponder all the revolutionaries that have come before me: Jefferson, Paine, Marx, Lenin, King, Gandhi. And I know that at that moment I am in that line of great men.
“No, no. Not Pepsi,” I reply, pausing briefly to smile.