Monday, March 20, 2006

Tab Hunter

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the outlook's always sunny for the downsized and ostracized gods and goddesses of yesteryear. If you've been drinking the same old soda for forty years, maybe it's time to try a whole new taste sensation!

And then again, maybe not.

I am outraged by the wanton destruction of my only incurable addiction!

I was a skinny young 4-H goat exhibitor in the late 1960s when Coca-Cola introduced its brand new diet soft drink, Tab.

One day, being particularly thirsty at the home of a friend with a rotund mama, I popped open a can of this new stuff and guzzled it.

What can I say? Tab grabbed. It held me with an iron grip.

I swilled the stuff right through the era when they said it would give you cancer. Since the beginning of the 21st century, I've haunted grocery stores, pleading with the managers to stock more Tab! When I see the rare shipment, I buy as many 12-packs as I can carry.

Never mind that it tastes like Coke that spent 40 days on Noah's Ark. It's a cola, it's sugar-free, and it's so loaded with caffeine that you can wrestle a ram to the ground when it's poppin in your brain.

Yesterday I sent my daughters, The Heir and The Spare, into the pharmacy to get some soft drinks for themselves. I was completely joking when I told them to bring me a Tab, because they stopped selling Tab in pharmacies the year Nixon resigned.

Out they come, grinning ear to ear with a little old secret between themselves. The Heir pulls from behind her back this cute little can, proper shade of pink, called "Tab Energy."

Whoa! Hold the phone! It's like Rush Limbaugh walking into Walgreens and pulling Oxy off the shelf! My eyes glazed over. My breathing grew ragged.

And that name: Tab Energy. Kind of hints that it's extra-caffeinated Tab, probably the equivalent of drinking 24 cans of Classic Tab.

Both daughters watched expectantly as I popped the prize open. Then they wanted to have a first taste. The Heir tasted it and pronounced it horrible. The Spare tasted it and hacked like she had a hairball.

So far, so good. It must be Tab.

I put the pink present to my lips and swallowed.

Betrayal. Total and complete betrayal!

Tab Energy is not Tab. It tastes like Mr. Clean. Judging by how it went down my throat, I would recommend it for those tough clogs that don't respond to Drano.

The final dazzling disappointment occurred when I opened my Econo-Car's window and poured the stuff onto the parking lot. The liquid was pink! Pink! Everyone knows that Tab is a cola. It's supposed to be brown, and it's supposed to taste like Coke that's been used in chemistry lab and returned to its can.

The daughters and I regarded this alien pink liquid with disgust and alarm. As we left the pharmacy, the Tab Energy was busy dissolving the asphalt.

There are so many levels of concern here I hardly know where to begin.

1. Since real Tab has already become difficult to obtain, will Coca-Cola stop making real Tab in favor of this undrinkable impostor?

2. Will the inevitable public rejection of Tab Energy be the final, fatal blow to real Tab?

3. Will I have to start drinking coffee? I hate coffee. I made it through four years of college on Tab and Tab alone.

4. If I can't find real Tab, and I have to start drinking healthy mineral water, like that stuff that pours out of the taps in Berkeley Springs State Park, will I be able to keep my eyes open at R-rated action flicks? I seriously doubt it.

Oh, the perils of being a Tab Hunter!



GOD said...

Shall I smite Coca Cola for you?

GOD ALMIGHTY enjoys the idea of women playing with goats... and bunnies.

Sunny Simmons Steincamp said...

We shouldn't be surprised at this travesty. I felt betrayed the day Tab began containing aspartame, which might not "cause cancer in laboratory animals" like The Pink Stuff, but makes me horrifyingly ill (and tastes disgusting, to boot.) I'm hoping they'll wise up and put The Pink Stuff back in there, so that it goes back to tasting like the failed NASA experiment it is supposed to... and so I can drink it again. I know we'll never go back to being able to buy it in thick, etched, 1-liter bottles that come in cardboard six-pack containers again, but I miss it, still.

I happened to see this Tab travesty last night, myself... in a CVS. I guess after reading your description of it, I should be thankful a) it still has aspartame in it and b) I didn't realize it was pink (since I might have thought it had The Pink Stuff in it) so I missed the horror.

One last thought. You want some bang for your caffeine buck, get your hands on some Indian Kalami tea. I once drank a coffee pot full, in iced form. I scared my friends & family... and I'm certifiably hyper even without caffeine. (One doesn't raise five children, all born singly within a span of 6 years, without being so.) This tea comes, appropriately enough, in a pink box (well, kind of dusty rose, maybe) and can be found in groceries that carry lots of imported and international foods.

Anne Johnson said...

Wow! Two new readers, and one of them a Classic Tab fan! Yes, alas, Tab has been altered to fit better into those NASA flights. Good point, busy mom!

To God Almighty: If you're gonna smite, just be sure you do it out of range of my goats. Then, let 'er rip!

Sunny Simmons Steincamp said...

I found a link to your blog from a friend on LiveJournal, and voila... here I am. :)

Anne Johnson said...

Welcome, welcome! We at "The Gods Are Bored" love all the company we can get! What a nice name, Sunny. I'll bet you are.

Athana said...

Now I see what it takes to lure god almighty to one's blog -- a tad of info on pink Tab! (I'll file that tidbit away for future reference.)

GOD said...

GOD ALMIGHTY would never smite a goat.
Goats are cute, even when they nibble Godly robes.

Morgaine said...

Ah, Tab - I got through many a final exam fueled on nothing but Tab and M&Ms. I loved it.

Saccharine only caused cancer in animals fed the eqivalent of a human consuming 17 pounds of it a day. That's too much Tab for even the most avid drinker.

Aspartame, on the other hand, is a poison. Yep - a poison. It also increases the likelihood of seizures.

My vote is Splenda, which so far shows no negative effects. Saccharine is number 2. Aspartame is off my list entirely.

I was dismayed when I read about the new Tab Energy. It's supposedly full of herbs and such to give you a rush, but that stuff has been known tokeep me awake for a week at a time.

If you want a healthy source of caffeine, try white tea. It tastes pretty good, and has even more benefits than it's older cousin, green tea.