Black Gold

This weekend I was a sun child.

On Saturday I spent the day at Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, and the sun was beating down. All across the country, we were experiencing unprecedented weather, and I don’t think there was any place in the world that I would have rather spent my time.

The ocean was fairly calm, the beach was packed, and the sun was relentless.

Cooper’s Beach, in many ways, feels like a private beach club. There is a gorgeous pavilion where you can buy drinks and snacks, there are outdoor showers where you can cool off, and the beach itself is incredibly large. There is so much sand available at this beach from parking lot to shore that you can get tired by walking from your chair by the water up to the pavilion area.

I generally come to the beach unprepared, which is always a mistake. I almost always forget to bring something to eat and drink; I always forget a beach chair and I NEVER bring an umbrella.

After just half an hour in the sun I was sweating and needed to get something to drink. In my head, I planned on getting something refreshing, like a Gatorade or an iced tea.

I headed back up the beach and passed by the standard group of beach people. There was the group of teenaged boys who looked like they were no more than 100 pounds soaking wet. Then there was the muscle guy in his late 40s who was wearing a Speedo. Then there was the hot moms, the sexy twenty-somethings all pretending they don’t know that every guy at the beach is gawking at them, the big fat hairy guy from Brooklyn rubbing oil on his belly while standing and looking down at the water. When I finally got to the pavilion, my feet were burning so badly from the hot sand that I ran over to the outdoor shower and cooled them off.

Inside the pavilion, I scanned the drinks. There was Gatorade. Then there was some new drink I never had heard of called “Body Armor” which apparently has loads of vitamins in it. Then there was the coconut water drinks, which taste weird, but for some reason you drink it anyway and now that you’re used to it, you like it.

And then there were the standard soda drinks, Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Cherry Coke…

OH. MY. GOD.

I stared in amazement. It was glorious. A beautiful bottle of Cherry Coke, and the memories of how good this drink tastes all started coming back to me. Finding Cherry Coke, anywhere, is like finding black gold. It’s like this secret, amazing, incredible drink. I stared at it in wonder. I stared at the Snapple Iced Tea, God that looks refreshing, and Cherry Coke won’t be as thirst quenching because it is so sweet.

And then, I realized that this decision was not going to be easy.

On the one hand, Cherry Coke is glorious. It’s like magic and happiness and childhood in your mouth. Warren Buffet drinks Cherry Coke every day. It’s a gift from God. It’s so damn good, that Coca Cola doesn’t even market it that much or have it placed in every store, because they are aware that if they do, it will put every other one of their soda brands out of business (at least that’s my guess as to why I don’t see it everywhere).

Then on the other hand, I was drenched in sweat, and something with no caffeine and loaded with electrolytes (whatever the hell those are) would probably be better.

I stood in front of the drink cooler; I kid you not, for 15 minutes, debating what to do.

Finally, I made the decision and, my friends; I can tell you that I made the right one. I bought the Cherry Coke, and when I tasted it, when it hit my lips and soared through my taste buds, I thought one word. FREEDOM.

I headed back down to my towel and my buddy Paul Bozgo saw me drinking a Cherry Coke. “I respect that decision,” he said.

I nodded, and we went back to catching some rays.

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