I sat at a table in a restaurant with my cousin once removed. It was an informal restaurant and an informal group of extended family. As is usual for me, I was fidgeting after we ate. I had a Lifesavers mint. I had a cup with some pop. And so, of course I broke the mint into pieces, awkwardly, and dropped a piece into the pop.
It fizzed. A little.
I looked around the table and saw a bottle of Diet Coke. I had more pieces of Lifesaver. I poured the Diet Coke into the cup and dropped a piece of Lifesaver into the cup.
Some of you are imagining what happened next. You are picturing a huge foaming mess. That’s because you are one of the untold million people who have watched what happens when you mix Mentos and Diet Coke. You watched it on YouTube
or Letterman or the Morning news.
You imagined wrong. What happened was a little fizzing.
I looked at my cousin once removed. I suggested this as a project for her as she teaches her children. I said it was like the Mentos and Diet Coke.
She didn’t know what I was talking about.
Millions of people and she hadn’t heard of it.
It would be possible, of course, to critique this native of northern Wisconsin. After all, everyone has seen Mentos and Diet Coke. But it is possible that with her four children and her involvement with extended families and home-schooling and church and commuting husband that she doesn’t exactly find it necessary to know about Mentos and Diet Coke. It is possible that she could be thoughtful and articulate and caring and fully human and one of the best “look you in the eye and ask caring questions” people that I know and not have watched the videos.
I find this hard to believe, given how much I laugh at watching the foam come out of the bottles. But I’m guessing that she may not be alone.
There may be millions of people who have never heard of what matters to me.
So, are they out of touch?
Or am I?