Theoden Janes

This is what we like to call a Coke problem

A man leaves a 7-Eleven store in New York City with a Double Gulp drink from 7-Eleven.
A man leaves a 7-Eleven store in New York City with a Double Gulp drink from 7-Eleven. Associated Press

A co-worker is talking to me about something important, but I’m not really listening. I’m focusing on her deep, dark pupils, and all I can see in them is suspicion.

Chemicals course through my body. I’m fighting the urge to bite my nails and keep my leg from bouncing up and down, trying to sound coherent when I open my mouth to respond.

Plus, I really, really have to go to the bathroom.

What my co-worker doesn’t know is that it’s been just 20 minutes since I slurped up the remains of Coca-Cola Classic from a 64-ounce “Double Gulp” cup I’d filled at a nearby 7-Eleven.

It started innocently enough, an idea borne from seeing this week’s viral infographic about what happens in the hour after you drink a can of Coke. To summarize: The combination of phosphoric acid, sugar and caffeine will leave you looking and feeling like Uma Thurman in the moments after she got stabbed with that adrenaline shot in “Pulp Fiction.” (Just do a Google news search for “can of Coke” to get the full story.)

Except, who drinks just a can of Coke?

I mean, we’re Americans, and as such, we’ll storm the multiplexes this weekend on a mission to inhale impossibly large Cokes while we watch Tom Cruise complete impossible missions.

No, to make this chart relatable, it should be realistic. With that said, here – officially – is what happens in the hour after buying a “Double Gulp” of Coke:

First 60 seconds: As I exit the store onto Martin Luther King Boulevard, I realize: I’m 5-7 and 145 pounds, and this soda nearly matches those dimensions. It’s as unwieldy as one of those prizes you win at Carowinds for tossing a softball into a metal milk can, but I’d be way less embarrassed to be holding a giant stuffed unicorn right now.

Two minutes: Everyone I pass on the sidewalk is silently judging me. I might as well be smoking a cigarette while carrying a baby and not picking up after my dog.

20 minutes: Back at my desk, I’m re-reading what the infographic says will happen 20 minutes after drinking a can of Coke. “Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands onto into fat.” A minute later, I start drafting an email to a friend to see if he wants to go for a run after work. I figure it’ll only take about 20 miles to burn off these calories.

30 minutes: I start drafting an email to 7-Eleven in which I refer to the creator of the “Double Gulp” as being more despicable than the dentist who shot and killed Cecil the Lion.

40 minutes: I did it! I drank the whole thing! I feel like a frat boy again, full of that sense of accomplishment I got from guzzling a pitcher of beer all by myself. And full of... ohhh... my bladder... be right back.

50 minutes: I’m amped up now, so I start drafting an email to the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion.

60 minutes: A co-worker is talking to me, but I’m not really listening. I’m focusing on her deep, dark pupils, and all I can see in them is suspicion. It’s been decided, though: I’m going to come clean. I’m going to pull the evidence out of the trashcan it barely fit into, admit to my sin, explain how I almost never drink soda but that this experiment – this 64-ounce Coke – was for the greater good.

I will do all of that, I tell myself, after I make another trip to the restroom.

Janes: 704-358-5897;

Twitter: @theodenjanes

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