While eating lunch today I was reading National Geographic (I'd already read Teen People cover to cover and NG was all I had left) trying to decide if this latest monthly issue came last week or the week before. Checking the mail later on, however, there was the yellow border of the January 2009 edition staring up at me from beneath a couple of red Netflix envelopes. The point here is two-fold: First, I'm losing time. Months are clicking by like blurry high-speed trains, with the difference being that trains are usually going somewhere whereas my months are not, their passage apparently marked only by the stacks of outdated National Geographic magazines. Second... 2009, yo! It may yet only be 2009 in the pre-dated world of monthly publications, but they are almost always right in their prognostications as to the passage of time. Last month's boldly stated "December 2008" on the cover, and look what happened. If the course holds true, by the time my next issue of NG arrives, it will in fact be two-thousand and mother-truckin' nine. Time will tell.
Weird how that happens.
You guys remember Crystal Pepsi, right? You know, that groundbreaking early-nineties product entirely designed around the principle that people will buy anything, as long as it's clear? And they did, too, at least once or twice out of curiosity. Crystal Pepsi was really just the pack leader during "The Year of the Clear," aka 1992. Strangely, 1992 was also the year of grunge, and for reasons unknown, American marketers decided that all those people laboring to slit their wrists through the sleeves of their flannel shirts on a chilly, wet Seattle evening really just wanted some refreshment they could see through.
I was reminded about Crystal Pepsi and all the other crap that suddenly came out in transparent versions around that time (Tab Clear was another one, along with those goopy clear gel deodorants, which coincidentally tasted a lot like Tab) while reading a Slate article about the death of Zima. I know you remember Zima, because it existed until just two months ago. I never realized that it too was a product of the anti-opacity revolution, originally a misguided attempt to create clear beer. Apparently all Zima was was beer with all the color and offending flavors filtered out and some citrus flavorings thrown in for drinkability. Yes, I just used drinkability in a sentence.
I'll be honest: nobody's going to miss Zima. Smirnoff Ice replaced it in the hearts of sorority girls a decade ago, which pretty much leaves 15-year-old me as the potential market, and 15-year-old me wasn't paying for it then, either. It may be true that Zima was the first drink I ever consumed in sufficient quantity (two, maybe) to feel the effects, but when your best friend's part-time male-model half-brother takes you out on the lake with all his cool grown-up friends and they let you drink their Zima, you take what you can get.
I won't be missing Zima, though, even if I may be a little nostalgic. That pontoon boat on Chickamauga Lake in 1994 was probably the last time I had the stuff, but I'll have to find some other shitty malt beverage to laugh at every time I take a trip down the beer aisle in the grocery store. Southpaw Light, perhaps?
The weird thing is, couldn't they have found a way to keep Zima going? There has to be a market for that crap in Mexico, at least. Mexico is always down for zomething different. They do still drink Pepsi Clear there after all...
(As an aside, let's take a look at a Zima ad from 1994 and compare it to another ad for a similar product from just a few years before. First, the Zima ad:
Second, tell it like it is, Cube:
Which leads me to the following question: Does your TV know if you're black? I've never seen a St. Ides commercial.)
(Wait a sec- I didn't hear it the first few times, but doesn't Cube claim St. Ides will make "your jimmy thicker"? That's how you sell beer.)
(Also, isn't he the star of the fine family comedy "Are We There Yet"?)