Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Little Knowledge

If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, then it just may be possible that a lot of knowledge is absolutely catastrophic. I recently found out far too much about Sun Drop® Citrus Soda.

It started out, as most of my journeys of discovery do, innocently enough.

I was casually strolling toward the self-checkout lane at my local ginormous-box grocery superstore when I heard a nasally voice, emanating from somewhere around knee level, ask, “Would you like a free bottle of Sun Drop® Citrus Soda, sir?”

I looked down toward the source of the sound and saw a ginormous-box grocery superstore employee reaching his hand up to offer me a coupon.

Well, a display of the soda in question was right there, and the coupon for a free bottle was right there, and the available spot in the self-checkout lane was right there…so sure, “I would like a free bottle of Sun Drop® Citrus Soda, yes sir.”

We had pizza for dinner that night, which was an excellent opportunity to open my free bottle of Sun Drop® Citrus Soda and give it a test run. It tasted like Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc. was trying to come up with its own version of Mountain Dew®, but missed the mark because they gave Sun Drop® Citrus Soda some actual…you know…flavor.

The similarity to Mountain Dew® made me curious as to whether Sun Drop® Citrus Soda was caffeinated. It was exactly at this point that I should have beaten myself about the head and shoulders with a blunt object and gone to bed with my curiosity sternly rebuked, but nooooo, I picked up the bottle and read the list of ingredients: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup [Is that corn syrup that is high in fructose content, or fructose corn syrup that has been violating the controlled substance act?], and contains less than 2% of citric acid, orange juice concentrate, sodium benzoate (preservative), caffeine, natural flavors, acacia gum, yellow 5, ester gum [Do you remember her? Nice gal.], brominated vegetable oil.

None of these ingredients surprised me except for that last one. What the farnsworth is “brominated vegetable oil”? And to be more precise (because I have a fairly firm grasp on what vegetable oil is), what the farnsworth does it mean to brominate something?

Rather than do the sensible thing and distract myself with an episode of Alias Smith and Jones on Hulu, I attacked the slippery slope of “a little knowledge” and consulted

In its normal helpful style, told me this about what it means to brominate:

[broh-muh-neyt]–verb (used with
object), -ated, -ating. Chemistry: to treat or combine with bromine.
You would think this would satisfy me to no end…but you would be wrong. And what follows is the bit of knowledge that I really wish I would have avoided:
[broh-meen]–noun Chemistry:
an element that is a dark-reddish, fuming,
toxic liquid and a member of the
halogen family: obtained from natural
brines and ocean water, and used chiefly
in the manufacture of gasoline
antiknock compounds, pharmaceuticals, and dyes.

They’re treating or mixing vegetable oil with this stuff and putting it in my Sun Drop® Citrus Soda, which I am pouring over a pile of ice and allowing to slide down my throat.

I’ve finally gotten a grip on the True Truth the Apostle Paul recorded in Philippians 1:21: “…to die is gain.”

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