Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pop or Soda?

Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was raised on using the word "pop" when I was talking about soft drinks in general. That is just what people in Pittsburgh call it, and it was great not feeling like an outcast.

My cousin from Milwaukee would occasionally visit and try and make me feel stupid for my use of "pop."

"You say pahp? It's so-dah," she said. Please excuse my attempt to try and show her Wisconsin accent. They are Americans up there, yet they try to speak like Canadians. Weird.

"Why can't we agree to disagree," I tried to explain. But she still laughed every time I said "pop."

This did not bother me too much because I stilled lived in Pittsburgh, where I fit in and was accepted for my vocabulary.

Then came college in North Carolina. No longer was I in the majority. Now it seemed like the whole campus was against me. I could not say "pop" without at least one person laughing, or making fun of me.

I stopped going to dining halls, or out in public really. I was sick of being a joke, but I could not bring myself to say soda. It did not feel right.

OK, so I did not stop going to the dining halls or anything like that, but it was getting really annoying. The worst thing was they acted surprised every time I said "pop." Maybe they had terrible memories and forgot, but I doubt it.

Guam was not as bad as college. While soda was the common term there, the people I worked with only questioned my use of "pop" once and then moved on.

The experience leads me to ask why we soft drink consumers can't just compromise and let each other use the terms we know? Both terms are just shortened versions of soda pop. So really, we are like brothers and sisters that are squabbling over nothing. We need to unite against those that use really stupid words for pop/soda.

We need to destroy "cola." it had it's time and that was 50 years ago. Fortunately, I have not heard anyone in my generation use it. Hopefully it stays that way.

Our biggest adversaries are the people who call every kind of soft drink "Coke."

These folks are usually from Atlanta or nearby areas because the Coke Factory is in Atlanta. I recommend going and sampling every kind of pop they have. Your stomach will protest, but your taste buds will love you. Just stay away from Beverley.

Imagine my surprise when someone offered me a Coke, and then handed me a Sprite as if nothing strange had just happened. They're not even the same color!

We can't let this spread. If I get another Dr. Pepper when I asked for a Coke, I'm going to headbutt the person.

Fields of Fire - Big Country


  1. sorry man, i call it coke. and i'm from atlanta. and im first -- totally ruining it for you. great blog though.

  2. As long as I don't ask for a Coke and get something else, we're good. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. My Dad was born and raised in Pittsburgh, but "pop" never rubbed off on him and I've never been one to use it either. Going to PSU and discovering this battle for the first time, I quickly sided with my Pittsburgh comrades and acted like "pop" was the correct usage, rather than "soda." Secretly, I was one of those you speak of that call every soft drink "Coke." I don't call Sprite "Coke" though. I call the drink by it's actual name if it's a different color than Coke. I'm just amazed because until reading this, I didn't realize that I was part of a group that says "Coke" to describe all soft drinks.

  4. How does it feel to be out of the soda pop closet?

  5. Hahaha it feels good Jeff. I never "fake used" the term "pop" but it always ate away at me that I was not like all my other Pittsburgh friends. I now understand my culture a little more thanks to "Sports, dogs and everything else."