I know what you’re thinking:  “How un-American of those Russians!”.

But the Russian lawmakers did it again.  They went right to the heart of what makes us Americans and ripped it out.  No more sugary caffeinated goodness can be purchased by minors in the Moscow region, as it now falls under the legal category of “energy drinks”.   

I can’t think of anything that’s more American than a 16 year old cruising up to a 7-Eleven and ordering a 128 ounce Team Gulp Cola.  But no 16 year old Americans and Russians will be buying any Coke for themselves anymore.  At least not in the Moscow region.

Normally, I like to think that I sort of have my hand on the pulse of Russian legislation, always aware of what new laws are coming out.  But I missed this one, as in typical KGB fashion, it was instituted when we least expected it, in an underhanded fashion during the May holidays.

So, I sort of stumbled across this most curious discovery quite by accident when a friend told me that the cashier had asked for an ID when they were buying a Coke.  I didn’t think about it much at the moment.

But then I went home, and as I started rolling the whole idea around in my mind a bit, I became just a bit overjoyed.  And at dinner that night I was more than just a little delighted to drop this bombshell on my children.  I happily declared, “Kids, you can’t buy a Coke on your own in Russia, until you’re 18!”.  Now to be sure, I can’t think of a single time that any of my kids bought themselves a Coke at the store, and they’re only allowed to drink it in rare situations, like when we’re hopelessly stranded on the arid steppes of the Gobi Desert and feeling like we need to get a bit more chubby around the edges.  I mean our family has been known to eat processed foods and don’t know what kale is, but not so much Coke in our home.  After delivering the news to my family,  the righteous indignation displayed by my 11 year old son did not leave me disappointed.  

Why was my son about to invoke the Boston Tea Party?  Well, I guess it goes without saying that there isn’t anything more American than the Red, White, and Bubbles.  This is an inalienable right that we find to be self-evident, all children should be allowed to poison themselves at will.  Actually, just the other night at around midnight I was on an airplane with my family eating a delicious dinner,!and my 11 year old son seeing that I was distracted across the aisle, ordered himself a Coke.  I saw what had happened too late, and the look of triumph and glee on his face in that moment has now, of course, been somewhat muted by this latest legislation.

I am patriotic myself.  Actually, I find I become a little bit patriotic for whatever nation I am visiting.  Not sure if that’s true Coca-Cola patriotism or not.  I do worry sometimes though.  Certain things feel confusing over time.  For example, whenever I go to an athletic event in America at any level we all sing the national anthem first.  It just feels a bit spooky, because you kind of get the sense that if you don’t sing the national anthem before each and every athletic event you will somehow jinx our great nation’s Manifest Destiny and democracy will cease to be on the march worldwide.  Probably I shouldn’t have said all of that out loud, because some of you now are questioning my Christianity.  And I guess just so you know that I’m not completely lost, I do believe that the Star Spangled Banner should be sung before any sports events that take place in Ohio, at any level.  But if it’s a mediocre JV volleyball team in Michigan, for instance, I think it’s okay just to get to the “game”.  Let’s be fair, a thousand years from now when that JV game is unearthed by archaeologists (the players, of course, living full and meaningful lives after the match but leaving other remnants of the experience behind for posterity), they might draw some very unfair conclusions about the meaning of the pre-game ritual and not completely understand the gravity of what exactly occurred as we observed o’er the ramparts.

Back to Coca-Cola.  I think I love this situation of not allowing kids to buy themselves a Coke so much, because whichever side you’re on, you will feel very much like you are ever so right.  So, please go ahead and comment below with your strong opinion on Coca-Cola, patriotism, children, poison, etc.  Your comments, just like nearly everything written on the internet, will do nothing to actually change reality or the Moscow authorities, but will provide cheap entertainment for those who have time to read the comments.

Personally, I don’t think we should allow our children to make the decision to poison themselves with cool, caramel-colored, caffeinated, cola goodness.  That decision should be left up to the parents.

I want to know what Moscow-region supermarkets unsuspecting American adolescents frequent and to stand by the cash register.  Then I want to see them fight for their rights as they have been taught.  


And I don’t want to give the legislative authorities in question any ideas, but based on this law it might also make sense to make an 18+ age limit for the Happy Meal.  And I also read that the law enforcement agencies will be checking on the supermarkets to make sure the law is being enforced.  I don’t want to give them any ideas either, but they might want to check out the nearby vending machines.  Also, the airports for thirsty youthful transit passengers.  Just saying.
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