Life is a circle.

I started to come to that conclusion earlier this week when I read in U.S. News & World Report and then some other publications that diet soda may lead to diabetes. Yeah. Interesting. The study doesn't talk about sugary sodas, but diet. So it was then that I had a serious discussion with myself and I realized something.

I need to stop reading the news.

OK, and maybe I also need to stop drinking diet sodas, and so I started raiding my wife's stash of non-diet soda. She hates diet drinks and has never bought into the argument that she should drink it. OK, so I started drinking more regular soda, knowing full well it's not good for me, but really, really wanting it, anyway, especially because of the caffeine. I need caffeine. Anyone who shows me a study that caffeine leads to a disease is not going to be my friend.

But I digress.

So I'm drinking soda, and I'm thinking how expensive all of this soda is, and then what do I see in the news, since I haven't yet given up newspapers? That Coca-Cola just recorded a very profitable fourth quarter. In fact, their net income rose 79 percent to $1.21 billion.

OK, so I see that, and I think, "Man, we really should give up soda pop at the Williams' household. I could use my share of that $1.21 billion back." Besides, we'd improve our health if my wife and I gave it up.

But then I realize: The caffeine. What will I do? I don't drink coffee. I've always had soda, because Mr. Coffee is just not who I am. I can't make it without caffeine. If it wouldn't be so inconvenient to take in the car and elevators, I'd probably be walking around with an IV machine, injecting caffeine into me at every waking moment.

And then what do I read in the paper, since again, I haven't managed to give that up? The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) just had a fascinating story about the rise of caffeinated candy. Yeah. Candy that has caffeine in it. What a find, and I'm torn between nominating whoever came up with this idea with an award and deciding it's a sign of apocalypse. Mars. Inc. has introduced Snickers Charged, which has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, and a smattering of vitamins and amino acids. There are jelly beans called Extreme Sport Beans, filled to the brim with caffeine and electrolytes. Hershey, of course, is in the act with caffeine-enhanced Ice Breakers Energy mints.

So there -- I've decided. I'm giving up caffeinated sugary soda and switching to caffeinated, sugary candy, which on the whole will be cheaper, and better for me, since I surely won't consume as much candy as I will soda.

But, still, candy every day? And I'll want more than one piece, right? I'll want several. I know me. I'll want that caffeine coursing through me at all points during the day. And so I envision myself adopting this diet and how things will be in a few months, when I'm 30 pounds heavier and realizing what I now have to do.

Drink diet soda.

Life's a circle.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist, primarily for Entrepreneur magazine, and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America.


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