Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tea Monkey

Since I have recently foresworn alcohol (causes heartburn), caffeine (upsets my calm), and carbonated beverages (upsets my stomach), I have found myself skipping past juice (too caloric) and water (way too dull) and am now captive to a $3.75-a-day Diet Snapple Iced Tea habit. It happened so fast I didn't even realize it until I noticed how heavy the recycling bin was getting. In a time of rising food prices and other environmental peril--and a day after Earth Day, which is when this started bothering me--it strikes me that this is one hell of a one-man carbon footprint to be toting around, even if it does get recycled. So I need new options.

What I'd like, I guess, is flavored water--something sweet but without actual sugar: a member of the Sucralose family. But it occurs to me that even those drinks (Nestle's H2O Splash and others) also come in bottles that I'd also tend to go through swiftly. Clearly the best thing to do would be to find some way to fill used bottles at home and still make them sweet.

Today I was reminded of something I saw at Hallmark many years ago. My friend and co-worker, Steve, had been commanded by his doctor to give up coffee (too acidic or something), and so he switched to taking caffeine pills with water in the morning. A co-worker expressed concern, and he shrugged and said, "It's the same drug I've always been taking. I'm just changing the intake mechanism."

So I'm tempted now to just buy a bunch of packets of Sucralose (which, per Snopes, has never been reliably linked to any health problems, panicked email forwards notwithstanding) and add them to my tap-filled water bottles. On the one hand, it feels creepy and unnatural. But logically, it's like with Steve: I'm just changing the intake mechanism of something millions of people ingest, and turning it into something that's better for the planet.

But it strikes me that even this option has a flaw: I like my water to be flavored with actual flavor: strawberry, kiwi, and the like. A raw, plain sugary taste is apt to be a little much even for me. So I ask the populace at large: is it possible to get fruit-flavored packets of Sucralose/Nutrasweet anywhere? Or maybe with vitamin supplements added? There's a lot of glass and plastic at stake in your answer.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Chad E Burns said...

One of the water filter companies has something you attach to your faucet and it has a refillable piece that actually flavors the water after it has been filtered. It also has the option to turn it off if you want non-flavored water. Not sure what is all in the flavor--but it is a place to start.

4/24/2008 3:26 PM  
OpenID toonhead-npl said...

This may be obvious, but have you tried just walking down the drink aisle where they keep stuff like Country Time and Kool-Aid just to scan all the boxes for Sucralose or Splenda logos?

4/24/2008 3:42 PM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

It IS obvious, and it's therefore exactly the sort of thing I would have missed all the time. Now I feel both ridiculous and enlightened. Thanks for the tip!

The filter sounds brilliant too.

4/24/2008 3:45 PM  
Blogger Do Tell! said...

It's called Crystal Light. It comes in little tiny packet/tubes. They've got lots of flavors and they don't have any calories. Enjoy:

http://www.kraftfoods.com/crystallight/cl_products.htm

4/24/2008 4:04 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Doesn't Snapple Diet Iced Tea have caffeine?

I only drink diet, noncaffeine beverages, and my favorite is Minute Maid Diet Raspberry Passion, which is not easy to find. Runner-up is Crystal Lite Strawberry-Kiwi(powdered mix).

4/24/2008 5:34 PM  
Blogger SAK said...

That caffeine pill and water thing lasted about four days.

4/24/2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

The Crystal Lite (or however it's spelled) in the tiny, add-to-your-water packets is good. They have a rather nice Raspberry Lemonade and a Green Tea Lemonade. Of course, you'll now have a ton of little wrappers to contend with, but it's less of a carbon footprint (more like a carbon thumbprint).

4/25/2008 5:53 AM  
Blogger Chad E Burns said...

Crystal Lite has a "wang" that I personally find unpalpable. Not that you can't drink it; and you may just LOVE the stuff. I just wanted to make sure you knew what you were getting into. :)

4/25/2008 8:59 AM  

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