On the final day of my 27th year on this planet I did one of the stupidest
things I have done in my entire life: I drank a Moxie soda. To be fair, Larry
was the one dumb enough to buy it, but then he had the good sense to
stop after the first swallow. But let me back up a moment.
We were up in Stowe, Vermont, for my birthday weekend. Stowe is one of those charming little artsy towns full of quirky shops. It was in just such a shop that Larry spotted the Moxie in the soda fridge. He’d never heard of Moxie, though I had a faint notion that it was some kind of cola, and the boy’s
a daredevil so he bought one. We stepped out of the store into the sweltering
heat as Larry took his first swig. It was like one of those cartoons where a
character accidentally drinks a bottle of Tabasco sauce. I’ve never seen
him react to anything in quite this way. There was swearing, and blustering,
and a look of absolute violation. It’s entirely possible that steam came
out of his ears. He declared it to be the foulest thing he’d ever tasted,
so, being the person I am, I demanded a taste.
There are no adequate words to describe the putrescence that is Moxie soda.
But I’ll try. First off, it tastes a bit like black licorice and gym socks
marinated in cough syrup. The minute it hits your taste buds you can feel the
bile rising in your throat and your whole nervous system gives a little shudder of revoltion. And just as you’re starting to recover, the aftertaste hits you. And if such a thing is possible, it’s actually worse. The
bottle proudly states the year 1884 and I couldn’t help but wonder if
this was a bottle of the original batch. But at least the name finally made
sense because you’d need a hell of a lot of moxie to make it
through one of these bottles.
But as I said, it was the day before my birthday. My 28th birthday. And so, in a fit of insanity, with a touch of near-suicidal birthday bravado, I declared that I would drink the entire Moxie. Even if it took me all day. One of us was coming out of this alive and it wasn’t gonna’ be the soda!
Larry, usually the thrill seeker, was looking at me like I was nuts. But I
stuck firm to my decision. And the day got hotter. And the Moxie got more and more revolting. Now flat and warm, hours later I was still at it, plugging away diligently, stopping for long periods to recover. Determined not to let this one thing beat me. There may be a lot of things bringing me down, I said to myself, but this soda isn’t gonna’ be one of them. No, sir! Nuh-uh. Noooooo way.
Eventually the weather got so unbearable we decided to scrap the cute shops
and see a movie. Sitting in the parking lot of the triplex waiting to buy tickets
for Wedding Crashers I realized it was now or never.
So I chugged the Moxie.
Then I cried.
Then I chugged some more Moxie.
And in the end I was declared victorious, though one has to wonder if anyone was really a winner in this contest. Maybe it was a metaphor for life a la The Seventh Seal. You can fight kicking and screaming and maybe you’ll
feel like you can win if you can just hold off Death, outsmart him somehow,
but in the end we all end up the same, drinking really crappy soda. No wait,
that doesn’t sound right. Oh well.
So I drank the Moxie. I should get a T-shirt, like when you run a marathon:
“I Drank a Moxie and Lived to Tell the Tale.” To be honest I did feel a certain degree of pride as I sat there gagging, my tongue lolling and my eyes watering with the empty bottle on my lap. I hate birthdays, but in my
soda-induced misery I was reminded that I was alive—like a near-death
experience. So what lessons have I learned? Well first, there’s a reason there
aren’t a lot of sodas still kicking around from the 1880s. And two, there’s
no obstacle you can’t overcome if you put your mind to it, but maybe there
are a few that are better left unchallenged.]
See the big finish slide show! 100 percent authentic action photos! (Currently only works on PCs)