The art of suicide

As a teenager, I spent a week at Boy Scout Camp and it left quite an impression on me. There were silly campfire songs and boating and fire-making. None of which I practice today. But I did learn the art of suicide which I still

The canteen on the grounds was a classic convenience store done in timber. It carried the usual suspects in Twinkie genre crap. But along the back wall there was a self serve fountain pop machine. It carried a respectable number of syrupy concoctions. No more than 6, I believe.  Each had a different flavor profile. I don’t remember the exact makeup, but it was typical for the late 1970s.

Boy Scouts aren’t well known for their feats of derring-do. Oh there is excitement but it’s tempered with wise planning and no spontaneity.  But the Canteen was different. There, a Boy Scout could interact with urban scouts and learn about checkers. It was there I was taught the art of suicide.

Suicide is a mixing of all the fountain drinks into one cup. I don’t know why it was called suicide because no one I know died from drinking it. It was sort of daring. I mean gastronomically speaking. If done correctly, a suicide is a mishmash of flavors swirling the tongue and prompting a adverse reaction followed shortly by a , “Bluck.”

Sure swimming in a germ-infested lake, jumping off cliffs, or peeing on a rock were all available danger dots, but we chose mixing together carbonated drinks as the most dangerous thing we did.

To this day, if given the chance, I will always mix together a couple — sometimes four — carbonated beverages. I’m looking more for a unique taste than attempting a suicide. Here are some general guidelines for those who want to live on the wild side of the soda fountain.

  1. Root Beer can completely overshadow any other flavors. It must be used sparingly.
  2. Non-carbonated drinks are verboten, especially raspberry flavored tea.
  3. The new lineup of Mountain Dew drinks are pretty awful and can ruin the taste of any beverage.
  4. Orange Soda is one of my favorites. Mixed with Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke, it is heavenly.
  5. People get mad at you for mixing drinks. It’s a sort of discrimination against mixing sodas. Like I’m inviting illegal aliens into the country for turning my drink cup into a melting pot. Sometimes I get self conscious and skip the mixing if there are several people around.

Perhaps in this era of political correctness and increased awareness of bombers and terrorists, suicide is a classless term, but it’s how I remember it. In fact, I remember it fondly. Maybe that’s why I do it some 35 years later.


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