Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade carbonated beverage is the soft drink equivalent of getting thrown head first into an electric fence. One sip and your teeth will vibrate like pencils in an earthquake.

I recently came upon this product on a trip to the grocery store with my mother.

“We need cola in case company comes over,” my mother said as we made our way down the drinks aisle. My mother is always gearing up for company. “Go grab a case,” she told me.

I didn’t grow up drinking cola, or any kind of soda. I was born in Poland during Communism; cola wasn’t something we had. After my family and I immigrated to America, we drank it on occasion, but mostly we just kept it around in case guests came over. My grandmother used to call it, “black water,” like it was some mysterious dark arts elixir.

Back at the grocery store, I scanned the shelves. I looked past the few versions of Coke and focused on a yellow and green case of Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade. The word NEW! was written across it. I enjoy ginger ale. I enjoy lemonade. The combination suggested a pleasant summer day.

“Let’s try something new,” I announced to my mother with the boldness of a prince (or at least someone who had brought her wallet to the store).

I placed one heavy 24-pack case into the shopping cart and wheeled it to the register. My mother paid. I wheeled it out to the car. When we arrived home, I lugged the case into the kitchen and set it on the counter. I pulled out a can, cracked it open, and took a sip. My upper body convulsed. Sometimes a drink invokes a feeling. This mixture induced psychedelic snapshots of billowing factory chimney stacks. I could taste the individual dyes and artificial flavors packed into the can as I was transported to a laboratory filled with beakers, lab coats, droppers, syringes, and cartoonish, crossed-eyed scientists.

“How does it taste?” my mother asked.

I pushed the can across the counter. She lifted it and took a sip.

“Disgusting,” she concluded.

It’s the kind of drink that could make a person miss Communism. I lugged the case out of the kitchen and set it on the floor in the garage, where it remains collecting dust. I expect it will sit there for the next five years, at which point some curious kid in our extended family will pull a can from the case, open it, and a radioactive, lemony, ginger ale ghost will fly out. That, or the kid will take a sip and really like the taste.