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31

TUESDAY

I wake up every morning and pop the top of a can of Coke. In the afternoon, I change it up and crack open two Cokes, one for each of my remaining teeth. For a nightcap, I gargle with Cherry Coke—the ladies love it when I twist the aluminum tabs into knots with my caffeine-addled tongue. Why do I drink so much sweet, sweet soda? I thought it was because I’m a slave to the ad agencies. But according to author Tom Standage, I drink because I am. In A History of the World in Six Glasses, Standage stumps for the Great Beverage Theory: Beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola, he argues, have been some of civilization’s most powerful agents of change. Coffeehouses were the Internet of 17th-century Europe: “vibrant and often unreliable sources of information.” Rum is the drink that built America. And Coca Cola? It’s the No. 1 symbol of globalization. I guess my Coke addiction is patriotic. So it’s a good thing I stopped bathing in Crystal Pepsi. Standage speaks at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books and Records, 418 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 638-7610. (Josh Levin)