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By: FRATER BOVIOUS
“Aren’t you sick and tired of ‘fake’?” They were walking down the aisle of the local Tom Thumb. “Look, here, Crystal Light ‘Natural Lemonade'” (he had made the bunny quotes sign, you know where you put up both hands with your first two fingers extended and then you crook them as you say “natural lemonade”.)
“What’s wrong with that?” she asked and immediately regretted.
“What, have you seen the commercial? ‘Just like Grandpa used to make.’ Yep, that’s what I want, chemicals just like grandpa used to mix up in the basement. Blechh.”
She was silent. As I walked by she glanced at me with a sort of pleading look in her eyes. I gave a mini-half-shrug/eyebrow raise as if to say, “Now you’ve done it!” And then out of morbid curiosity I stopped about a shelf length away and acted interested in the doo-dads hanging from the clip-strip attached on the shelf.
He had stopped and was reading the label of the offending Crystal Light. “Natural Lemonade.” He said it with an emphasis on ‘Natural’ that bespoke a deep disgust with this topic, and I sensed I was in for an epic rant.
“It’s all a damn lie! Look, should anyone eat this crap?” He shoved the box in her face:
“How can something 98% fake be ‘Natural'”? He didn’t wait for an answer–it was a rhetorical question. “And look at this package! So bright and pleasing and promising what it cannot deliver. We can go to the produce aisle, buy some REAL lemons, squeeze them up in a jug, add some REAL water and REAL sugar, and have REAL LEMONADE like Grandpa ACTUALLY made! But, no. Here is the lie, if you drink this, you will look like Cindy Crawford. And so easy. It’s ‘Light’ so have that bacon cheeseburger. After all, you are dieting with Crystal Light!! Hell, you’d expend more calories making REAL lemonade than tearing this little box open and stirring in chemicals that we have no idea what our body is doing with them!”
He was rolling now.
“If I were king of the world, I don’t know what I’d do first. Un-invent artificial sweeteners, or un-invent marketing. This is a lie. ‘Natural’, pfft. Whatever dude. Here’s what it’s really saying: ‘You say you want to lose weight, but you really don’t. If you did, you’d do something real. Like exercise and eat less. God Forbid. But why should you deny yourself, and why feel guilty about anything. Here, we’ll help. You can lie to yourself, with hardly any impact on your conscience, because we take care of the lying for you!'”
He paused to catch his breath.
“My God, this is the hand of Satan! The sin of willful ignorance! Thomas Aquinas–this is exactly what he was talking about. We deliberately swallow this BS so that we can do what we want and pretend it’s somebody else’s fault. Holy Cow.” He stopped, and stood with that thousand mile stare. “Holy Cow indeed.”
They had worked their way back up toward me, and I was frozen in fascination. As they reached me, he realized he was still holding the box of sin in his hand and went back to put it on the shelf. She muttered to me, “And I’m the one that encouraged him to get that degree in theology.”