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I have always been on the frugal side.  OK, let’s just get it out in the open and say “cheap”.  I realized yesterday I have become even more so than I used to be and, being a true “Generation X’er”, I look outside myself to place blame.

Yesterday’s revelation was brought to me—and, by extension, to those of you who are reading this—by a desire for a softdrink.  It was about eleven o’clock and I suddenly had a craving for a soft drink (Dr Pepper was my preferred drink, though I wouldn’t have turned down a Sprite).  I didn’t get one, though.

Do I have incredible will-power?  No.  In case you forgot: I’m cheap.  The problem was not the calorie count but the time of day.  See, if I had had the craving just one hour and one minute earlier, I could have slaked my thirst—or craving—at Sonic, where all large drinks are cheap before 10 a.m.  If I had had my craving just three hours later, I could have gone to “Happy Hour” at any one of a number of establishments and gotten a drink large enough to do bladder damage with a single serving for as little as 79 cents.

Speaking of “Happy Hour”, back when I was in high school in Abilene, Texas, they opened up a new Mall (called, wittily enough, “The Mall of Abilene”).  One of the businesses that opened up in the brand new mall was a semi-upscale restaurant—for Abilene, anyway—which had applied for a liquor license.  There was much debate about whether a business located in a mall, where children might walk by, should be allowed to sell the Devil’s brew.  Eventually, the business got the license because it had a door with which, used judiciously, they could keep children out.  The unforeseen consequence, though, was that it left the local liquor board unable to turn down license requests from other merchants in the mall, which led to daily “happy” hours at Famous Amos’s Hot Dog Stand.  Up until that time, “happy” hours had been held behind closed doors so, if you didn’t go out of your way to participate, you never knew what they were really like.  Now, just walking through the mall like any innocent kid, I was brought face to face with the fact that people who drink alcohol at three o’clock in the afternoon—at a hot dog stand, anyway—look anything but happy.  I guess “Famous Amos’s Morose Hour” just didn’t have the right ring to it.

So anyway, for those of you still following me who haven’t recently attended a happy hour and can remember clear back to two paragraphs ago, I was able to quell my desire for a Dr Pepper not with will-power but with parsimony because the drinks weren’t on for cheap anywhere.  By the time two o’clock rolled around, the craving had gone.  Personally, I count that day as a victory in my personal diet wars.

Still, I can’t take the credit.  I give the credit for my lack of sugary drink yesterday—credit or blame, either word works—to those fast food places who host happy hours.  If not for them, I would have sucked down a large Dr Pepper (or Sprite!) between the hours of 11 and twelve yesterday.  It’s not my fault.

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About Sam White

Samuel Ben White (“Sam” to his friends) is the author of the national newspaper comic strip “Tuttle’s” (found at www.tuttles.net) and the on-line comic book “Burt & the I.L.S.” (found at www.destinyhelix.com). He is married and has two sons. He serves his community as both a minister at a small church and a chaplain with hospice. In addition to his time travel stories, Sam has also written and published detective novels, a western, three fantasy novels and four works of Christian fiction.

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