by Paul Humphreys

I n terms of shared human experience, it's impressive to realise that Coca-Cola has been enjoyed for decades by people in every country on earth.

Coca-Cola is good.

Even more remarkable comes a fresh realisation when we combine two otherwise unrelated facts: first, Coca-Cola appeared on the world's stage in May 1886, 134 years ago. Second, the oldest person alive today is under 117 years of age.

It would follow that everybody on the planet today has had at least an opportunity to sip this drink produced everywhere to precisely the same formula. So we must surely stand in awe to know that the original recipe for making Coca-Cola has remained a closely-guarded secret.

In short: it is everywhere, anyone on the globe can get it, and even when you put it under the most powerful electron microscope, it's jolly hard even for top international scientists to work out how it was produced or to determine where that particular sample may have originated.

Coca-Cola is a good friend.

This drink is universally loved. Although we do tell it off, sometimes.

We tell it off for making us burp.

Our children don't tell it off for making them burp; they think it's hilarious!

The secrets hidden in the chemistry of this dark, soft, sparkly drink will endure. We don't mind that sort of mystery. We don't need to know what its ingredients are to savour it.

It's the real thing.

Whatever else might come our way, every person will undoubtedly continue to enjoy the presence of this accessible, cherished, ubiquitous fizzy liquid, and smile that same embracing smile, albeit occasionally an embarrassed one.

Utterly unlike the other unmentionable, iniquitous thing, which happens to be initialled with the same third-letter of our alphabet. The Co-thing is distasteful, offensive, unpalatable. It differs because its code will soon be cracked to defeat it.

Maybe following the awful Co-'s hugely adverse and unwanted shared human experience, there'll be something else out there, advantageous, something additional, perhaps rediscovered, we may stumble across.

"I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony," may prove to be a prophetic co-incidence from Coca-Cola's musical hit-parade.

For all we know, the world may be within touching distance of a new and uniquely stimulating refreshment of a different kind.

Let's hope we get to taste the feeling of that.

SEE ALSO by Paul Humphreys:
Effective Notetaking
Young Saint
Why Dexter Wrote Morse

Paul Humphreys is a resident of Kidlington village, Oxfordshire.

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