By Vennis. A Vennable
Hi folks, it’s been a while.
During the early years of The Regular Joe publication, I guess you could say I was a “regular feature.” I’d been sending anonymous pieces around different places for a while, but hadn’t seen any in print, ‘til these guys ran one about my fantasy football team. (Some of you will recall how I ran roughshod over the other members of the “Grumpy Old Farts League” with my “All-Johnson” line-up.)
From then, I had pretty much a ten year run of “regular” bylines.
I wrote about teen pregnancy. I wrote about guns. I wrote about damn near anything that came to mind. They were obviously starved for quality content.
Got paid with dinner coupons. The Joe barters with some of the best places in town. Loved it.
But, I screwed up. Started getting a big head. Heard so many people tell me my stuff was their favorite part of the paper. I admit, I never minded hearing that, but I never should have bragged about it to the publisher of this rag. We were in our cups at the time, and it didn’t register on me ‘til my next piece got bumped. All of a sudden there was a “space” problem. Hmmmm.
I got a few things in after that, but not like before. Without the regular deadline, I kind of got out of the habit. The paper scared up some more talent. (Mrs. V. and I both love Shawn Murphy!)
But now they’ve gone paperless! I hate that! I liked that stupid little paper. I miss it. I’m not a “read it online guy.” I figured my days with the Joe were over and done.
But the other day I was at the store, and ran into an old dude I knew from my wilder and crazier days. We were shootin’ the breeze about nothing in particular, like folks do, when he noticed the cases of fizzy water in my cart, and started razzing me. “I ought to take a picture. Vennis A. Vennable buying fizzy water. Nobody would believe it!”
I dissuaded him from that with a threat to respond with pictures from a certain float trip and that was all it took.
But it got me thinking, “Just look what I’ve become!” I used to be a hell raising, biker S.O.B. if I do say so, myself. I partied hearty. I was no stranger to strong drink. Bill Clinton can claim what he wants, but me? I inhaled.
So, how did I get from there to here?
And today, here I am...drinking the fizzy water.
And I like it.
Realized, this is exactly the kind of thing the Joe always asked for. Stories turning people on to things they might miss otherwise.
So, Hello, digital universe! It’s your Ol’ Uncle Vennis!
I remember the first time I saw Perrier Water. Saw it on a menu on vacation in California, somewhere in the 80’s. Laughed about it with the wife and kids. They were selling water! For even more than the soft drinks! And some of these idiots were actually ordering it! We stared at them like alien species.
We were a soda family. Regular for me. Diet for the rest of the fam. (Mrs. V has had a long-time relationship with Diet Coke).
But I’ve been trying to wean myself off of soda lately. Not, completely. There are certain foods that simply go with certain beverages. But mostly. Bet I don’t consume more than three or four servings a month, anymore. Something less than one a week, probably. I’m not really keeping count.
I’ve replaced most of that with fizzy water.
I know, I know. Fizzy water! What a wuss.
Well, too damn bad! I like it, and I bet you would, too.
You just have to turn off the little voice in your head that says “here comes a soda” when you raise the can to your lips. It’s not soda.
In fact, if you grab one of the several brands I drink, it’s not much of anything to speak of. Flip around any can of any popular brand. Look at the ingredients. See any sweetener, natural or otherwise? Nope.
Look at the nutritional information. All zeros. Calories, fat, cholesterol, salt. Every category. Zero.
Just fizzy water and some very light natural flavors.
It’s delicious, but it took me a few to get used to it. I kept expecting that sugar/caffeine rush for a while. But then, something happened. Maybe my taste buds adjusted or something. All I know, is that I started finding the taste and the carbonation, satisfied my thirst better than anything else.
Most folks’ lives are lived within a complex system of long held habits. Nothing’s more comfortable than the same old thing. Like, how I always visualize the post mowing beer. All through the 17 circuits it takes on the rider, to keep Vennable Manor looking ship-shape. I could taste it in my mind. (Still can.) But then one day I went in all sweaty, opened the fridge and no beer! Just a partial case of grapefruit fizzy water. Crap!
But I had one. Then I had another. Looked around. Nobody saw me.
A week later, Mrs. V busted me.
But not too bad. She’d been encouraging me to do better after a semi-recent health scare. But it’s hard! I’ve been living my life a certain way, for a long damn time!
Bottom line is: the damn fizzy water snuck up on me. Became my default beverage. Old acquaintances may find it hard to accept, but there you go. I drink the fizzy water, and I like it!
Try it if you haven’t! A lot of the ladies figured it out early. Why there’s so many options, wherever you shop. Just don’t get fooled by the imitators with artificial sweetener. (Sneaky bastards!) Stay away from those!
But a lot of the fellas are reluctant. Don’t be! Go for it. It won’t make anything fall off, I promise. You won’t have to forfeit your “Manly Man Card”.
And you can save some calories to use on something else... like beer and tenderloins!
(Oh yeah, we recycle the cans. Bought the grandkids a crusher. Take ‘em a bag every week. Going in their college funds. At least that’s what they tell us.)
Vennis A. Vennable