[PROGRAMMING NOTE: The links in this moving, brave essay, were created ex nihilo. Maybe they lead to a pot o’ gold, maybe they’re the stutter-steps the Internet is taking into consciousness, maybe they’re best ignored. Message: I’m not responsible. I get screwed over by being able to choose my own bedtime. Also, don’t blame me for link-stuff. Or anything else. -dbm]
I give advice now, and preface my advice by advising you to pay it no mind.
I drink watered-down Gatorade. Why? Any explanation you can imagine is better than the real thing, so have at.
I usually get said Gatorade from the corner store, where all the flavors of the rainbow are on offer, from purple to blue to freaky green.
Freaky green is Cucumber. Yes, that’s right. And it took me two months to get the nerve to try it. And it’s been almost a month since my only swig of it, which I recall so vividly I can re-taste it.
The problem was/is/ever shall be, it was unlike Gatorade’s version of strawberry or grape, for example, in that Gatorade Cucumber tastes like cucumber. While their approach to any other flavor seems to be: Get the color of the fruit right, and have fun with the flavor because Joe American sees fruit enough, sure, but no well in hell does he eat it.
In my case, they’re right. Everyone wins!
…Still, I do recall what various fruits taste like. I was subjected to these flavors when Young, small, and stupid enough that people told me what to eat and I complied. Good parenting or not, you know there’s a power trip in there.
Which makes me think that I should try some real frost, or jump in the Pacific and find a riptide to choke on. After all, Frost Riptide Rush to me is like beer to Bukowski. (I didn’t neglect Rush. If things tasted the same as their aural impression, as though sound were smell, Rush would be fifty-seven varieties of wrong. Of course, I’m unsure what even one type of wrong tastes like. Still, I feel Gatorade stuck with their usual formula. Meaning my electrolytic sugar-water contains less Geddy Lee than it does natural flavoring.
AND YET! Gatorade Cucumber tastes just like drinking a damn cucumber.
Which is not why I bought it. I did not want to drink something that tasted like a freaking cucumber. And forgive me for feeling cheated, but this is Gatorade, yes? The schnozberries are not supposed to taste like schnozberries!
Therefore, I was looking forward — after two months of trepidation — to what Gatorade’s Anything-But-Cucumber tasted like.
…Yes, life is tragedy.
…And of all the flavors to mimic exactly, why the hell did Gatorade pick cucumber?
[SCENE: The heads of Gatorade’s marketing team in a meeting]
MAN IN PINK DRESS SHIRT & COMPENSATING-LY ASSERTIVE TIE: The people who are gonna buy this one are gonna be people who really fucking know what a cucumber tastes like.
MAN’S ASSISTANT: Right? Because who else is gonna buy a beverage whose flavor is fucking cucumber?
MAN WITH JACKET OFF, ROLLED-UP SLEEVES: Well Jesus, Troy, I just don’t fucking know, having been in this business your entire goddam life! Who the fuck makes Orange our bestseller? People who demand it taste like an actual orange? Or people who need something they can drink without choking on whatever that pulp-backwash bullshit is?
TROY: I’m sorry–
SLEEVES: Don’t get me wrong, guy — I’m making a point about the idea. Not you.
PINKY: Well, all sentiment aside, the numbers tell us to go with a “simpler” taste profile than other flavors.
TROY: It’s true. Mexico and South America truly want a beverage to taste like cucumber.
GUY WHO LOOKS WEIRD WITHOUT A CIGAR: So if we know they like cucumber-flavored shit, that means they’ve already got cucumber-flavored shit. That means we’re competing against established brands. Doesn’t it? Troy, what are we up against down there?
TROY: I don’t have the names, Mr.–
CIGARLESS: Christ almighty, kid, call me Lem like everyone else already!
TROY: Yes sir. Um… Sorry Lem.
LEM: Out with it!
TROY: I don’t have the drinks, but there are quite a few. And–
PINKY: I’ve got the file, guy. The top one is carbonated, and it’s slogan is… Ah fucking hell I can’t read this!
TROY: I think I’d be able–
SLEEVES: OK Troy, so you’ve got market research that shows exactly what about shit you can’t even read?
TROY: Actually, Tony, if you could let me see–
LEM: Who the fuck scheduled this meeting? Goddam people upstairs have us pissing our goddam pants trying to sell something we haven’t even started fucking making yet!
TONY: I like Japanese advertising so much better. That shit is fucking nonsense!
TROY: Do we have a Gatorade Wasabi yet?
SLEEVES: If we don’t, are you saying we should, Troy?
TROY: No, I’m just bullshitting. –But Tony, I do read Spanish.
TONY: Ah, this shit’s Portuguese or something. Brazil.
TROY: Still I–
SLEEVES: Troy, you gotta come prepared, you gotta take every meeting seriously, and you gotta back up every goddam thing you say. Not for the guys here, but so it’s a habit by the time you’re talking to clients. And don’t talk shit about Japanese shit! Anyone can and fucking-a will get offended when race or sex come up.
TROY: Um, but Tony, wasn’t that you who–
LEM: Alright kids, we’ve wasted enough of each other’s time today. Who’s going to lunch?
LEM: Any day.
TONY: Troy, here’s your iPad. The Internet is stuck on some Japanese site. –I’ve gotta get my phone. Hold the elevator.
SLEEVES: Lem, grab my jacket on your way past my office?
LEM: Sure. How about your fucking dry cleaning too?
SLEEVES: I’ll give you the ticket after lunch!
LEM: A fucking riot, this one. –Hey kid, don’t let yourself get pushed around in these things. And if you stick to the boss’s advice — no fucking joke — there’s no way anyone can fucking push you around, hear me?
TROY: Yeah. Thanks Lem.
LEM: All right. …Fucking cucumbers!
I have no idea, as illustrated.
Thank you for your support.