Before the Fall

Some things are worth being proud of. It’s noteworthy to graduate from college, to get a big promotion, to be a really great parent, to lose weight and keep it off, to set a serious goal and then meet it, or to execute a fabulous event.

Even small things can be worthy of some major pride – mopping the kitchen floor, making dinner every night for three whole days in a row, working out consistently, making a phone call you’ve been putting off or finishing a book that you’ve been meaning to for ages.

But other things are not really worth being proud of at all.

And yet, I’ve realized that I am ridiculously pleased at myself for the stupidest things.

For instance, at my office, we go through a tremendous amount of soda. When I started working there, the office provided free sodas for everyone. And then people started going mad; they were drinking four or five sodas a day each and we were running through cases like it was . . .um, water. And finally, the boss said the free sodas had to go because it was just getting so out of hand.

This pronouncement didn’t bother me in the slightest because I don’t drink soda. I prefer water (I know water doesn’t have a taste, but oh it tastes so sweet to me) and I drink a lot of it. Soda, on the other hand, burns my throat going down and then makes my stomach feel unpleasantly full of air for hours afterward. So, no, I don’t drink soda, not because I have such great will-power or because I read a study about how the body of a rat will disintegrate in five minutes of soaking in Coke or whatever, but because it makes me slightly ill.

And yet, for some ludicrous reason, I am preposterously pleased with myself for not drinking soda. I fight the urge when someone tells me what a Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke or Mountain Dew addict they are to reply with a “oh, I don’t really drink soda.” What is that all about? You’d think I’d single-handedly cured cancer.

The same thing happens with gum chewing. Neither of my parents are gum chewers and one of them (I can’t think which) doesn’t because it hurts their jaws. And it hurts mine too. Even the thought of chewing gum makes my whole face just ache (it is right now simply from typing this sentence – the sacrifices I make for blogging). And gum loses its flavor so fast, that after a few minutes, you’re just gnawing on a piece of plastic-y nothing. Then, inevitably, there is NOWHERE to throw it away.

Also, well, let’s be honest here – gum chewing is about the least attractive thing there ever was.

But do I avoid gum because I’m morally opposed to it? No. I avoid gum because I like to avoid pain. And yet when I see someone smacking away on their hideous lump of gum, oh, do I glow to myself about how completely awesome I am for not being a gum chewer.

I know this is the most ridiculous thing ever, this unfounded pride in something I don’t do simply because it’s easier not to, but I can’t really be alone in this, can I?

Tell me I’m not the only one.

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  1. Janssen,
    I rarely drink soda, and am also pleased with myself about it, if you must know. I wouldn’t say preposterously pleased, but yes, I am pleased. Gum chewing doesn’t really bother me unless it’s done with an open mouth, or at a completely inappropriate time, like while giving a talk at church.

  2. I’m a picky soda drinker and will only drink one kind and tend to prefer it in a glass with ice. Water is well, glorious. I LOVE IT. I just took a drink in your honor, in fact! And I love gum but I’m a highly skilled chewer…most people never even know it’s in my mouth. One Sunday our Primary music leader chomped on her gum for two solid hours while teaching songs. UGLY! I wanted to walk up and hold the garbage can up to her so she could spit it out!

  3. I totally get what you are saying about the soda, though I do quite enjoy Dr. Pepper. If I go for a while without drinking it and then drink it it totally kills my throat and hurts my stomach and makes me wonder why I like it. But somewhere halfway through the second glass that all fades away into happiness.

    We don’t eat ground beef. Well, we eat it, we don’t buy it. We buy ground turkey instead. I am not really proud of us for doing it, but I think people think that I am making some huge sacrifice, but really I am just saving money and calories and anything we have ground beef in is usually drowned in sauce anyway so it doesn’t really matter to me. Really we hardly ate any red meat for a long ol’ time. Then we got a grill. Whoops.

  4. you seriously crack me up! i quit soda for about 3 years and was just fine. (i am now drinking it every so often!) but i crave the carbonation! i love the feel of it 🙂 as for gum…i hate the smackers! i try not to do it…if i do, smack me!

  5. Gum makes my stomach hurt, I thought I was alone in this but I guess not. I am not a big soda drinker either but for some reason it is one of those things, like eggnog around Christmas time, that I think to myself “maybe I will like it this time.”

  6. So funny! You are not alone. Commenter number seven is also not a fan of soda (thank you, by the way, for calling it soda and not pop). And I am proud of it when I shouldn’t really be–like you it makes me feel quite ill for hours. I do, however, think it is bad for you (in fact, I won’t let my students drink anything but water in my classroom…)

    I am also proud of not being a fast-food eater. I never have. On the rare occasion growing up when my parents would do fast food for dinner, I would have toast instead. I just am not a fan and don’t ever plan on being one.

  7. I gave up soda for 2008, except for a reward root beer at the end of each month, and it has been hard for me. I’ve noticed, though, that I have the hankering for a soda much less frequently.

    For my part, I don’t drink coffee, and that pronouncement always makes me come off as some self-restrained saint. But, really, caffeine makes my heart race, and I’d prefer it to actually work if I need it to (like on a long car ride). And, uh, my vice is sugar, not caffeine. If you put two pounds of Swedish fish in front of me, I promise that they will be gone by the end of the day, sad though it is. Pick your poison, right?

  8. The usual response when I tell people I don’t drink soda is, “Oh…so you think you’re better than me?”

    I’m always like, “…what??”

  9. Janssen, once again you are too funny, but definitely not alone. I do drink pop (here, soda is baking soda) and occasionally chew gum. But, I do have to be careful not to make fun of or secretly put down people who use mixes and prepackaged foods. I have to be careful not to get irritated at those who can’t make bread, don’t preserve (can and freeze), don’t garden, or don’t sew and/or mend. (My daughter just saw this and said, “Gee, thanks a lot, Mom.” She was the one that wouldn’t learn!) Before the fall, I mended, sewed, gardened, canned, froze, made my own mixes – before the fall… Oh well, things change and life goes on. 🙂

  10. Hmmm, I do both and never really thought about it much. I enjoy a good soda from time to time, not addicted but not against it, as with gum…I chew it when necessary, like after sacrament or something when your trap has been closed for a while. I’m not gonna lie though, there are times I WISH some people would just stick a piece of gum in there…YIKES! Not you, don’t worry, I would tell you…then give you a mint 🙂 I like both…

  11. Loved this post. So funny. I think everyone has those weird things they are proud of themselves for. I am part of the “proud-non-gum-chewers” club.
    My mom always said it was like a cow chewing its cud. And I also have a popping jaw.

  12. I do love me some Diet Coke and I can go through liters in a day when I drink it. I almost never drink pop, though. Water is just the best. I can’t enjoy a meal unless I have a couple of glasses of water to go with it, and I drink at least ten glasses while I’m at work every day.

    Amen on the gum. It tastes good for about, oh, five seconds. I prefer to chew pens.

  13. I really enjoyed this post. 🙂 I am also part of the “non-soda drinkers club” but I will give into a little carbonation on New Years Eve with the Martinelli’s. 🙂 Heather said it all with the “gum is like cows chewing cud” comment. I was raised with that mentality and will never be able to let it go.

  14. It’s funny to me because I don’t really drink soda or chew gum, but not for any “medical” reason. (Well, does carbonated water count as soda? I do love me some sparkling water lately… but that’s a very recent development.) So even though I eschew these things more by choice than by discomfort, I’m not particularly proud of it. Gum chewing? Tacky. Soda? Unhealthy. But I do enjoy them when I indulge, I admit. Yet I feel no rewarding pride for my usual forbearance. I’d never really thought about that before. Those are things that I think you deserve to be pleased with yourself about. I’m prideful about plenty of things, but not really about those. Hmmm.

  15. haha, you’re not the only one. 🙂 I don’t drink soda (and also feel pride) and I rarely chew gum. Other things that make me proud even though they’re dumb: I don’t eat a lot of meat (not to save the environment or as a slash against animal killers, but just ’cause), I color coordinate my closet, I do my hair/makeup every day so that I never turn into frump-wife, etc. Yay for things to be proud of that are less important than a diploma.

  16. I don’t think you’re alone. You have good reason to be proud because I know I’d last about 9 seconds without soda.

    Believe it or not, my dentist recommended that I begin chewing Orbit gum. Nearly insisted.

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