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It’s not often that I am stopped in my tracks. So when we were trying a new sandwich shop in Athens, I wasn’t expecting any big surprises. I have stopped seeking the sub of my youth – the sub from Pennsylvania with its stringy onions, Italian oil and seasonings, provolone cheese, thinly and freshly sliced meats and that special roll that only sells in that state. And don’t even get me started on finding a Philadelphia cheese steak.  You can find both in Delaware also.
My aha moment was when I went to get my soda – or more directly, my Coke. Having been raised on Cokes, it’s my number one comfort drink. No diet – just the buy-the-world-a-Coke goodness. I know all the arguments against it – but comfort is comfort for a reason.
There stood before me a Coke machine able to present me with 120+ drink choices. One hundred and twenty-plus – I ogled the selections regular and diet, Coke, Sprite, Barq’s, Dr. Pepper, Minute Maid lemonade, Orange Hi-C, Fanta, Dansani (yes, flavored water), Mello Yello, Cherry Limeaid (ugh) and Seagrams sparking seltzer water. All of these had as much as seven further choices – as to Cherry, Grape, Peach, Raspberry, Strawberry and Vanilla.
Suddenly, my plain Coke had choices, Cherry Vanilla, Lime, Orange, Raspberry and Vanilla – whoa. But was it still my comfort food? Cherry coke was one of my favorites – as kids, we had access to a soda fountain in a friend’s house. This was a real stainless steel fountain, where you made your own sodas – and of course, ice cream for those times when you just needed vanilla ice cream in your root beer or coke. I played with menu a bit – realizing I could add a spritz of everything together to make one giant sugar rush mind-blowing experience. But I might have to take a nap after I came down.
Ok, for my coice to go with my (yet another disappointment) sub, I added Vanilla to my Coke and felt quite festive.  I took a giant step.
I guess the point was, do I need all those selections? Is the industry keeping up its “progress” by offering us MORE all the time? Where does it end?
Come to think of it, I didn’t see water listed.