The power of data is the power of suggestion. Our power is to arrange data and see what it suggests. I’ve arranged some data for you.
These are the drinks on inventory at the Subway in Collegetown: Fanta (270 calories, 74 grams sugar), Sprite (240, 64), Cherry Coke (260, 70) —
“Do you ever feel, like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?”
(Katy Perry’s Firework [3 minutes 54 seconds] tenses from the root [D major] into the minor second [E minor], draws up into the minor sixth [B minor], then sits into the major fourth [G major]. The song never deviates, though when it rises into climax Katy Perry’s voice shifts up an octave and she belts in a range easy for almost all females ages 12-30 to reproduce at a high volume, as said females ages 12-30 might do on a dance floor should their senses and sense be dulled, or even if not. The final chord change of the progression, which comes in at such times as when Katy Perry chants “sky-y-y” and “down-own-own,” is the same that accompanies worshipers at mass when they chant “amen.”)
It is 7:46 on a Sunday night. What do you normally drink here, I ask. He is dark and on the club lacrosse team. He is a nice guy.
“Today, I got diet coke. Uh, normally I get Powerade.” And why Powerade? “Just taste. Not a big soda drinker.” And why’s that? “Upbringing, I guess.” Didn’t grow up with a lot of soda? No, he didn’t. His parents never had soda around the house.
How does he feel when he drinks soda? “I get a sick stomach.” What kind of sandwich did he get? “Spicy Italian.” I remember he’s told me he’s from Central Jersey, an area similar to mine. Is that regional fare — something he’s accustomed to from his upbringing? “Definitely, definitely.” His friend comes up, ignoring me because he doesn’t know me, feigns a high-five at the lacrosse player, shows him his two middle fingers, and walks away. The lacrosse player excuses himself politely.
— Minute Maid (270, 54), Nestea Red Tea (130, 36) —
“I’m addicted and I just can’t get enough, just can’t get enough.”
This guy has an orange cap on, backwards. He is also a nice guy. It is 7:54. He has a cup of water, although he tells me he grew up drinking a lot of soda. He thinks people drink soda because it tastes better than water.
(In order to get water at the soda fountain, you must press down on a small handle underneath the button for Powerade.)
Was it hard to quit drinking soda? Not really, except for the first few days. Why’d he do it? He’s on sprint football, and he had to cut below 172 lbs. And how does he feel now when he drinks soda?
(The Proto-Indo-European word for water is wodr. Keeping with the linguistic principle that the words used most change the least, it has many not-too-different cognates in the languages that descend from Proto-Indo European: hydor in ancient Greek [with the more recognizable genitive hydros], wasser in German, etc.)
(The circulatory system in Homo sapiens sapiens serves the ancient need to bathe all cells in an aqueous solution so that metabolism can occur.)
(A 1994 study at Harvard found that 14-year-old female Homo sapiens sapiens who regularly ingested, digested and egested soda were five times more likely to suffer damage to their skeletons.)
For once I see someone noticing the music. Briefly, he sings along:
“My homies dead and gone, dead and gone …”
The bottled soft drinks cost $1.69 and they are 20 oz. This is 8.5 cents per ounce.
The fountain drinks cost $1.49 for 21 oz., $1.69 for 30 oz., and 1.89 for 40 oz. This is 7.1 cents per ounce for the first 21 ounces and 2 cents per ounce after that. 40 oz. of Fanta is 540 calories and 148 grams of sugar.
(No one, not even the staff making the sandwiches, can tell me why they sell the same drinks in bottles as they do at the fountain.)
All these drinks are produced and distributed by the Coca-Cola Company.
C Am G F E
Bm 9 A D G
“All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.”
On the wall near the window, there are two posters, with careful orchestrations of vegetables: one shows tomatoes, the other cucumbers and lettuce. Basically, the tomato poster is monochromatically red, the cucumber and lettuce poster just as persuasively green.
The cucumbers aren’t settled on the lettuce, like they’re in healthy motion, sort of tossed or rolling, and the dimensions are confused; the arrangement seems impossible in an Escherian way. Their vertical axes share an orientation parallel to the z-axis, though their placements along that axis vary, as do the slopes of their horizontal axes with respect to the x-y plane. The situation of the lettuce bed is less clear.
In the blurry background of the tomato poster is a cluster of tomatoes, auxiliary to a single foremost tomato, most of whose body occupies the less blurry middleground. The clear focus of the picture, secured by surface tension above a broad upward-bowed polish on the top convex of its body, is a droplet of water.
The data suggest.
Elias Wynshaw is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Imperfect, Tense appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.