Soda, Pop and Coke

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For the first 16 years of my life, I thought the world was normal, and then I came to Indiana. I used to live in Saudi Arabia, and I used to go to an Arabic speaking school. I now live in Culver, Indiana, and I go to Culver Military Academy. For the first 16 years of my life, I only heard and used the word Soda.

The first day I arrived in Indiana my Mom and I went out for lunch. We went to a local sandwich shop and took a seat by the window. The waitress came to our table, and then before I could do anything she asked “Do you want a pop?” “Excuse me?” I replied. “Do you want a pop?” she repeated. I had no clue what she was saying, but I didn’t want to look like an idiot by asking her what she meant, so I just nodded my head and said “sure.” Then, as if the first question wasn’t enough, she asked me another one, “what type do you want?” Thoughts started racing through my head “What type do I want? What does she mean by what type?” I asked her what types I could choose from. She replied “We have Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sierra Mist, Root Beer and Mountain Dew.” After I heard this, I was able to work out that a pop was the same thing as a soda. This was my first experience with the word “pop”.

My second experience with the word “pop” came during math class last year. We were learning about matrices and how they worked. My teacher, Mr. Counts told us to assume 80 people in a town drank pop. As soon as he mentioned the word pop, I asked playfully “Don’t you mean Soda?” Mr. Counts replied “No, I meant Pop”. His retort started an all-class discussion on whether it was called Soda or Pop. After arguing for at least 20 minutes, Mr. Counts ended the discussion and resumed our work on matrices. But my mind was still on the discussion, the only reason the people that called it pop could give me was that when you open a can, it makes a “pop” sound. To me, this is not a valid reason. Calling it Soda makes so much more sense. First of all, Soda was originally made with “Soda” water. This is what gives it the “fizzy” feeling. So the word Soda came from one of its main ingredients. To me, calling it Soda is the most correct thing to call it.

One night, my roommate asked me what my favorite type of Coke was. I told him Vanilla Coke. When I asked him what his was he answered “Mountain Dew”. I started laughing and said “No really, what’s your favorite type of Coke?” He answered me with a straight face “I just told you, Mountain Dew”. Now I was starting to get agitated “You said what type of Coke not Soda, stop messing with me”. “Dude, Coke is the same thing as Soda” He replied. “What do you mean it’s the same thing as Soda?” I said. “Exactly what I just said, Soda is Coke, Coke is Soda” He answered. “So you mean Mountain Dew is a Coke?” I asked. “Yes, so is a Pepsi, a 7up, a Root Beer and a Dr. Pepper. They’re Cokes, they’re all Cokes” he answered. “So what do you call just a regular Coke?” “Coke”. I rolled my eyes and went back to studying, this was ridiculous.

In a little over a year, I had learned three different ways to say the same thing. Soda, Pop and Coke. They all refer to the same thing. After learning these three names, I did some research on them. I found a map that detailed what every part of the United States referred to them as. I also found other names for them. Soft Drink, Fountain Drink, Fizzy Drink and Mineral all mean the same thing.

You might be wondering now why I wrote a whole page about what people call a certain type of drink. The point of this essay isn’t about soda or pop or whatever you want to call it. It’s about different names meaning the same thing. It’s about human beings, no matter how different we are, we are still human beings. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or any other race. In the end we are all the same thing, human beings. So stop the violence, stop the hatred, stop the hate crimes and stop the wars. I’m not preaching for peace and love, I am preaching to come together as one world, respect everyone around you, and live your life by the golden rule – treat others as you would like them to treat you. I have dared to take on this challenge. Do you dare?





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