Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jumping the Shark...Again

Evidently, the New York City bureaucracy and its supreme leader are really and truly concerned about our health and wellness. The city fathers and mothers are currently on an anti-sugar binge, compelling vendors in municipal courthouses—most of whom are legally blind by the way—to promote healthier bottles of water over high-calorie beverages like soda pop and energy drinks. Small business owners are crying foul, claiming that this new edict will completely ruin them, or, at the very least, cause them to layoff employees because of lost revenues. Not surprisingly, their cries have fallen on deaf ears.

The city’s health department is now mandating that “soda machines,” as they were once affectionately known, maintain a maximum of just two options containing twenty-five calories or more. The remaining offerings in the machine—the vast majority—must consist of beverages with less than twenty-five calories. In addition, no drink can surpass twelve ounces, thus putting the kibosh on the sale of popular twenty-ounce sodas and their ample-sized brethren.

I cannot help but believe the city bureaucracy has jumped the shark on this one—yet again, which, I realize, nullifies this particular analogy—by championing plastic bottles of water above all else. Yes, I know, it’s all about making us svelter in the here and now and healthier over the long haul. But yet these excessively meddling civil servants don’t seem at all exorcised at the environmental waste involved in the mounds of plastic manufactured for a product that, typically, is no better than what comes out of our faucets.

For a government entity to involve itself in the minutia of what perfectly legal products—for people of all ages—can be sold in vending machines is surreal. If, for whatever reason, somebody in a city courthouse or city hospital is feeling a bit unglued, it seems to me that a mayor and bureaucracy should not have it within their powers to deny this thirsty individual and citizen a twenty-ounce Dr. Pepper, if that is what he or she desires in this free country of ours.

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