I may have lost my mind, or part of it. But I recently bought a 12-pack of Diet Moxie.
If you’re from New England or Pennsylvania, you might know it, or even tasted it. I was a young boy of nine, somewhere in Massachusetts at a relative’s house. 1968 rings a bell. In those days, soda came in bottles, some very fancy, almost works of art. I opened the refrigerator door, and there was one bottle of Moxie.
Hmm, I thought. Same color as Coca-Cola. It looked good standing there. The day was warm and I was thirsty. I asked if I could have it.
I’m not sure if I was warned, but permission was granted. I opened the bottle with one of those wall mounted openers (do they still exist?) And then I took a sip.
It was sweet – at first. Then within seconds came the aftertaste, the mother of all aftertastes. Even now, it’s hard to describe. It’s like suddenly your tongue is coated in a dreadful, sulfurous, chemical bath of awfulness.
What the hell, my nine-year old brain thought. What the hell?
I can’t remember if anyone was laughing or even if anyone was watching. But no one blamed me for setting the bottle on a counter and walking away.
Over the years I saw the odd Moxie sign and other paraphernalia. The memory of that sip always came back to me. Each time I shuddered anew.
So last week, I was in the soda aisle of Market Basket (my girlfriend calls it Basket Market), thinking I needed a change. I was tired of Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, and Diet Dr. Pepper. And what should present itself but a shelf full of my old friend, Moxie.
Moxie comes in cans now. On the side of the box and on each can, the old Moxie lettering is still there, as well as Moxie Man. He’s a good looking dude, a contemporary of Babe Ruth with a white suit and glossy, movie star hair. Moxie Man glares out at you, pointing. “Drink Moxie” is the caption underneath. I obeyed and grabbed a good supply of the stuff.
I planned to drink my first Moxie at work, with my lunchtime sandwich. I figured food might kill the taste if I really hated it. Came the day, I was ready. I cracked the seal, and after giving Moxie Man a thumb up, took a sip.
It wasn’t bad. Then it was. But not that bad. Or maybe pretty bad. I don’t know!
I managed to finish the can, and I’ve had two more since. Hey, I wasn’t crazy about my first sip of beer, either, but then I got wise. It might be the same with Moxie. I love acquiring a taste for things that most people don’t like. Progressive Rock, anyone? So, it’s Moxie for me, for nine more cans at least.
Moxie Man, I shall do it.