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My hunger strike for … Crystal Pepsi

Bill Rinner | Thursday, April 22, 2004

Those few lovable members of PSA can rest assured that word of their courageous hunger strike has spread overseas and has inspired someone 3,000 miles away to follow their lead. Yes, I, William Joseph Ulysses Rinner, have decided to go on my own hunger strike…for Crystal Pepsi.

We all remember that tasty treat which only lives on as a hallmark reminder of our youthful days of innocence. The ad wizards had struck gold: take the name and general flavor of Pepsi and mix it with the decaffeinated goodness of 7-Up! Sadly, consumer demand struck a heavy blow against one of the few true loves of my youth, and its production was discontinued. Only when the heartless executives in charge find it in their hearts to provide this sad, lonely soul the simple request of one tasty sip of Crystal Pepsi shall my hunger strike end.

Call it the plight of an upper-middle class white male; in fact, one of my friends informs me that this hunger strike might be construed as insincere and offensive. After all, should not legitimate hunger strikes be reserved for massive social injustices matching the likes of the American civil rights movement or Gandhi’s nonviolent protests against the repressive British Empire? No longer, as my dear friends in PSA have already proved with a noble display of solidarity with a few tomato pickers who are paid the market value of their labors. But, at the risk of being deemed short-sighted about injustices in our world, I shall add a few more points to fuel my hunger.

First, I hate the Yankees. Yes, I know they’re good, they’ve made wise management and scouting decisions, and no salary cap exists in Major League Baseball. All the while, my beloved Colorado Rockies exist as baseball’s small market bottom-feeders with only one wild card berth as the pinnacle of their ten year existence. Thus, I shall not have another bite of food until the dastardly Yankees willfully send Alex Rodriguez to Colorado to play for free. Steinbrenner can foot the bill, and the Rockies will be one step closer to playoff success.

Next, I demand a two-fold concession from the federal government. We need a fair living wage, so every American worker can comfortably provide for his or her family, depending on its size. As a footnote to this demand, I shall also hunger strike in solidarity with any worker who feels outrage at this American Living Wage Act because his coworker, married with two small children, earns twice the salary for the same production output. If John Kerry can speak on all sides of an issue, then so can my one-man hunger strike.

Though I am bracing for a long wait before I can taste the sweet juices of a T-bone steak once more, I must add more demands. Too many individuals and groups have suffered from the poor policy decisions of our government. In fact, several American corporations are so opressed by the American tax structure that they would rather send jobs overseas than employ hard-working, God-fearing, flag-waving patriots. That’s right, I shall hunger strike for increased corporate tax breaks so more jobs will stay in America, and I hope to dine at the celebration feast of the Ralph Nader Muzzle Act.

Now that I’m riled up about international issues, my list must grow longer. After several conversations with my friends from the European Union, many are amazed by tales of America’s amazingly prompt medical coverage that results from our free market system. When I say that two month waiting lines do not exist for major surgical procedures, and we’re still perfecting the system, they cannot contain their envy for our country’s efficiency and compassion. So stand back, Europe, I’ll starve before your socialist, post-modern dystopia allows more to suffer! Only when medical privatization sweeps across the continent shall my stomach be filled!

One more, just one more request shall inspire me to persevere through this hunger strike: all nations must come together and create a massive fund devoted entirely to providing economics classes for anti-globalization protestors, the Earth Liberation Front, Greenpeace and the Notre Dame Progressive Student Alliance. Even academic intellectuals who oppose globalization, from Joseph Stiglitz to Richard Sennett, can be placed in charge of educating these masses with sound principles of supply and demand and comparative advantage. If they persist in their protests, then I will rest assured knowing my ideological opponents have a better semblance of reason.

As I mentally prepare myself for the upcoming weeks and months of hunger, I ask that someone please contact the proper authorities at CNN, the New York Times, Le Monde and Notre Dame’s social action e-mail list to spread the word of my noble self-sacrifice. While I am far more likely to headline next year’s Darwin Awards, I take comfort in knowing that my campaign for a sip from the elusive cup of Crystal Pepsi shall inspire more to pursue quixotic self-delusion.

Bill Rinner is a junior economics major studying at the London School of Economics. His column appears every other Friday. He can be contacted at wrinner@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.