Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dear Moxie

As one of America's oldest soda companies, one would expect that you have your act together by now.  You made a drink that tastes like the bitter brew of the angels, yet you have continually refused to distribute it nationally.  Anyone that is fortunate enough to taste your little piece of heaven, yet doesn't live in New England, is forced to either pine away until they find you again, or pay exorbitant prices to order you over the internet.  I love your soda, but I refuse to pay almost $1.00 a can.  If I had that kind of money, I would probably finally go to the doctor to find out why I can't feel my right foot anymore.  There is no question that people nationwide would embrace your product, so this stubborn refusal to go national can only be a greedy attempt to control supply and demand.  To that end, I would like to tell you a story, and perhaps use that as a way to illustrate to you that your actions have consequences.

In the summer of 2004, I spent two weeks in Maine. This was more than enough time for you to sink your bitterly sweet hooks into me.  When I got back home, I quickly exhausted the rations I brought back.  Chills set in, the shakes took over, and it got so bad that I tried mixing bitters with cola to try to get your unique taste.  When I awoke confused and belligerent hours later, I resigned myself to the fact that perhaps we were not meant to be together.  It wasn't until later that fall that I was proved a liar.

Some moments are so ingrained in the formation of the person that you are that you remember every small occurrence, every smell.  I was in my friend T.'s apartment, spending an lazy afternoon smoking cigarettes and yelling at people that happened to pass by.  Somehow, Moxie was brought up, most likely as a wish that whatever we were currently drinking was Moxie instead, thus making us both sad. 

A voice broke our melancholy, deep and dripping with honey and poison.

"I've seen some Moxie."

Out of a dark corner, which was hard to find since it was a sunny afternoon, our friend Brian leaned his perfectly coiffed head forward and smiled a toothy, vile grin.  An odor both sweet and sad, like a lost love or a lullabye sung by an orphan with a speech impediment, wafted over the porch, accompanied by the buzzing of a legion of flies.  In our excitement, we were quick to push away these omens and sat in rapt attention as Brian told us how he had seen Moxie on an end cap at the Shoppers Food Warehouse, just one day previous.  No sooner was he finished speaking we were in T.'s Suburban, careening towards our delicious destiny. 

I am not sure that I waited for the car to fully stop before I was out and running through the parking lot to the main doors.  T., being of small stature, took longer to get in, and found me at the soda aisle.  Our enthusiasm propelled us up and down the aisle the first eight times.  It even sustained us as we checked every end cap.  The dawning realization that bad things happen in the world soon crept into our minds, and desperation began to guide our actions.  T. began muttering, slowly and quiet at first, then reach a fevered pitch of, "Where? Where?  No. No. No. Where? Why?" as he began to push sodas away on the shelves to see if they were hiding the Moxie.  I used my superior height to check to make sure they weren't keeping it stashed on the top shelves just for us.  Finally, the commotion attracted a store employee, and Travis begged them to show us where they were hiding the drink.  Panic set in as the woman looked confused, and then she uttered the words that scarred us ever since:

"Moxie?  I've never even heard of that.  We don't carry that."

I was overcome with a sensation that all feeling had left my body.  I was hollow almost instantly, and it was as if I had never had feelings to begin with, like I had never known love, pain, joy, or sorrow.  I was just in the world as an impartial observer.  Poor T., having such a big heart for such a small man, went the opposite direction.  Feelings ballooned so that they encompassed his whole being and his body was a raw nerve, stinging with every breeze  His little legs gave out as he wailed, and he began pulling his body across the floor, trying to escape this cruel Warehouse of Lies and Broken Promises. Our despondency steeled itself into anger and self righteous fury against our deceiver, and we set out for retribution.  Brian was dead to us.  He had been killed by our enemy "Lyin' Brian", and we would exact our revenge.

If my memory is correct, we found him sitting under a giant parasol, hiding from the pure and good rays of the sun.  He tipped his glass of water to us, and taking a sip to quench the fires of hell that burned under his skin, he asked if we found what we were seeking.  Rage prohibited us from forming  real words, and T. was barely able to stop himself from backhanding this new Father of Lies.  Lyin' Brian professed confusion, still adamant that he has seen the Moxie, and he claimed he was so very sorry that our trip was fruitless.  T. and I knew better at this point.  We knew we could never trust anything he ever said again.

I could say that if you, dear Moxie, would have bothered to ship your product further than your own back yard, then perhaps one of my dearest friendships would not have dissolved.  I could also say that perhaps your product did me a service, and showed me that there was a villain that I had showed too much trust and brotherhood.  Either way, it would be nice if I could go to my local grocer and get your soda.  For now, your logo doesn't say, "Drink Moxie!". 
It's a stern reminder of what is missing in my life, and what...

could have god.....

it's a river of slime.    Brian, what have you done?

1 comment:

  1. At least you know it's still out there, somewhere, making someone happy. I'm terribly cursed in a way that causes companies to stop manufacturing products that I love. It's as though me loving a product is its death sentence. I actually love things to death.


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