by Gary Torres
Boy you cannot imagine the burden of guilt lifted off my shoulders recently when the official LDS Church website came out and said that caffeinated drinks did not condemn me to Outer Darkness. 
Now there are plenty of other sins that I regularly practice that will get me thrown out of the Celestial Kingdom; but drinking my 32-ounce Pepsi is not going to be on the list. 
In fact, as I write this, I have a fully caffeinated Pepsi with crushed ice, dripping with more condensation than when I watch a Carl’s Jr commercial for pulled pork on cheeseburger.
With this latest caffeine clarification, I can once again go to neighborhood parties with the invitation stamped BYOCD (bring your own caffeinated drink) stamped proudly on the bottom. 
I will not have to smuggle my drink in like a common bootlegger, looking in both directions to make sure the women and children aren’t watching as I sip my cold Pepsi and calm my frazzled nerves.
What a relief.  There are plenty of things in life that we ought to worry about besides if your rootbeer has caffeine in it.  I believe reminders of the important things from the pulpit are a good thing. 
I certainly need reminding, as apparently my memory is only good for a day or two because just like losing weight, I think am still struggling with my five favorite sins. 
I have lost at least 500 lbs, but it is the same five pounds over and over.
And as long as I am venting about soda pop, I have to spout off about the Mayor of New York, Mayor Bloomberg, who’s vision of the future is to make it a crime to order a large (larger than 16-oz) fountain drink.  Really?  New York doesn’t have any other problems that Mayor Bloomberg needs to worry about?
Apparently, Bloomberg is trying to put a dent in the obesity epidemic that is sweeping the country.  What’s next, we outlaw Mrs. Fields cookies, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, or the big cookie that my too kind and loving wife just gave to me? 
I am almost certain, that her chocolate chip cookies are a gateway drug to all kinds of life-threatening indulgences.
How many beers, candy bars, birthday cakes, or servings of fettuccine alfredo does it take to get the same calories as a 16-ounce soda pop?  Are we stopping all of those too? 
If I’m elected New York Mayor, I promise to ban all birthday parties that serve cake and ice cream.
I admit that soda pop is awful for you.  I admit that I am not much of a role model and that I drink more Pepsi than I should.  After watching the Olympics for roughly 147 hours, I probably had enough chemicals floating around in my body to stop a charging rhinoceros. 
But really, sometimes I think that politicians can’t solve any other problems, so they choose something they can really take a stand on; like 16-oz soda pops are bad for you.  That takes real out-of-the-box thinking, courage and moral fortitude.
Just to be fair, I have to tell you that seven percent of the calories Americans consume come from soda pop.  And if you believe the internet, Americans average 1.6 cans of pop a day, for a total consumption of 597 cans of pop a year. 
Which seems kind of low to me; I think I took that many on my last backpacking trip.  Sure the acid eats the enamel off your teeth, you become addicted to caffeine, it depletes your bone density, you are more likely to get diabetes, and you waste a great deal of money. 
But notwithstanding all these terrible things, it gives me comfort to know that the official LDS Church website doesn’t count it as a sin. 
It gives me less comfort to know that Mayor Bloomberg is trying to now make it against the law. Tell me that I am getting fat, my teeth are falling out, and I am addicted to caffeine; but don’t judge me if I BYOCD.

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