Recently, while browsing at the grocery store, I found something surprising: Old-school Tab soda. I figured Coca-Cola had dropped the brand after that disastrous attempt to turn it into an energy drink, but there it was in its garish pink can and groovy ’70s logo. So I bought a pack of it.
This was not borne of any particular taste for the beverage—I actually couldn’t remember how it tasted—but rather because Tab reminds me of my grandmother. She always had a can of Tab handy; it was the only diet drink that didn’t switch from saccharine to Nutra-Sweet after that ridiculous lab rat cancer scare in the ’70s or ’80s, and for some reason Nutra-Sweet didn’t agree with her. So Tab remained her go-to soft drink.
Seeing that case of soda on the shelves gave me that little pang of wistfulness I always experience whenever I see something that reminds me of her, which is why decided to give it a try in the year of our lord 2015. As it turns out, Tab is pretty gross! I don’t really drink soda much these days anyway, but man. This is a pretty rough way to get your caffeine. Really makes me appreciate what a strong woman my grandmother was. Well, that and the fact that she powered through debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and god knows how many joint replacements with good humor and grace. I suppose there’s a certain threshold at which slightly bitter soda seems pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things.
That being said, I miss my grandmother dearly, but I don’t think she’d have been offended if she knew I’d rather cherish her memory in ways that don’t involve archaic diet drinks.