If the year 2020 were a gift, it would be the type of gift that was so hideous that you wouldn’t even regift it to your worst enemy.
From COVID-19 running wild across the globe like a herd of Chincoteague ponies, to toilet paper shortages, disinfectant wipe shortages, distance learning for all, social distancing, sports played in bubbles, as well as sports played outside of bubbles; 2020 has had a little of everything.
We also cannot forget the invasion of murder hornets, attacks on the United States Postal Service, masks becoming a political statement, and oh yeah, the potential of two hurricanes churning in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time for the first time since the Great Depression.
For years, the late Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters told viewers every Friday night that, “This is 20/20.” Maybe they were trying to warn us that 2020 would be something that would be studied with the hindsight of 20/20 vision once it is over.
The band Green Day famously sang, “Wake me up when September ends.” We have not even gotten to September yet, and many people are likely singing wake me up when 2020 ends.
As a side note, I was supposed to see Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy earlier this month. But thanks to COVID-19, that concert, like so many other things this year was cancelled.
On top of all of the other things that have made 2020 the type of year one would like to be done with, we can now add a Dr Pepper shortage to the list of things that could only happen in 2020.
Take away my toilet paper, fine. But take away my Dr Pepper and I will likely have serious withdrawal symptoms.
To be clear, I choose Dr Pepper over toilet paper because, one can always find alternatives to use when the toilet paper runs out, but there is only one Dr Pepper. I have tried all of the store brand colas that claim to be just as good as Dr Pepper, but none has come close to replicating that perfect blend of 23 flavors.
A few years ago, I even tried making my own Dr Pepper in an experiment that can be called a disaster at best.
So how much do I love Dr Pepper? Let me count the ways.
I have tried Dr Pepper in milkshake form.
I have tried Dr Pepper flavored Jelly Beans.
I have tried Dr Pepper flavored baked beans.
I have tried Dr Pepper flavored barbecue sauce.
I have been known to wear Dr Pepper clothing.
I have classic glass Dr Pepper bottles as my kitchen backsplash.
When I want an extra authentic feel, I drink my Dr Pepper out of an antique Dr Pepper glass.
Lastly, three years ago I dressed up as Larry Culpepper, the fictional Dr Pepper stadium worker, made famous through a series of ads shown during college football games.
So, it is fair to say that when it comes to Dr Pepper, I celebrate the entire catalog.
That is not to say that the only thing I drink is Dr Pepper. Iced tea and Dr Pepper are my go-to get the day started beverages, as well as my keep the day going refreshments.
I also drink about a gallon of water a day as well, so I do not want it to sound like I have Dr Pepper and iced tea running through my veins with an IV drip. I tried that, but my doctor said that my insurance didn’t cover it.
Despite the lack of an IV drip, go-go juice and punga punga juice, as younger me called Dr Pepper and iced tea, respectively, are never far from my grasp.
That was until 2020 when the Dr Pepper supply dried up faster than a lake bed in the desert and I suddenly found my grasp on securing the sweet nectar slipping.
According to a tweet from the powers that be at Dr Pepper, the shortage is due in part to higher than anticipated product demand in the form of cans and bottles.
As noted a few weeks ago, one of the other gifts COVID-19 gave us was a shortage of aluminum cans.
It is unclear what role, if any, the can shortage is having on the supply of Dr Pepper, since it is sold out in bottle form as well.
While I am sure that Dr Pepper will return to shelves in the not too distant future, the current disruption in the availability in stores, is yet another reminder of how fragile our supply chains are.
That is not to say that there are not hard-working men and women involved in the logistics business. But it does suggest that with supply chains spread out across the globe just one ripple can cause huge waves down the line.
I still shake my head at the fact that one of the key ingredients in disinfectant wipes manufactured in Wuhan, China, ground zero for COVID-19; leading to a scenario where certain cleaning products are expected to be in short supply until next year.
I know that companies move production overseas to keep costs down and to maximize profit, however, I think there will be a lot more legs of supply chain chicken coming back home to roost.
Of course, we need to contain the wildfires both real, and biological, that are raging within our shores before any roosting can happen.
At the end of the day, not being able to buy Dr Pepper really is as they say, “a first world problem.” Containing a global virus named COVID-19 in the world’s richest nation should not be as hard as people are making it out to be.
As a first world nation, America’s COVID-19 response should have led to a first world solution.
Instead, the United States’ COVID-19 response turned into a doctoral course in how not to run a pandemic response that was run by a man whose university was shut down.
Finding a solution to COVID-19 used to be the type of problem Americans would unite to defeat.
Then again, in the current climate where half of Americans are Coke, and the other half are Pepsi, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that six months into the pandemic there is still no national strategy to combat it.
At least the cola wars didn’t kill anybody. Contrast that to the over 170,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 while some leaders stick their head in the sand, or worse try to distract with conspiracy theories, and blaming the people who live rent free in their head.
So instead of getting a handle on the virus, the virus is handling us like a coast to coast game of Whac-A-Mole.
Before the world was shut down for COVID-19, I had planned to visit Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, TX home of the Frisco Rough Riders for the first time in years to score a Ballpark triple play of Dr Pepper, Hot Dog, and ball game. Hopefully, I can do that next year.
Of course, my trip to Frisco, TX, like many other things, is on hold until COIVD-19 is defeated. So far, COVID-19 is hitting most of the pitches thrown at it into the empty grandstands.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to slowly sip one of my rationed cans of Dr Pepper while looking at spaghetti models of the two tropical systems heading my way. Is it 2021 yet?
Copyright 2020 R. Anderson