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The Crisis No One Is Talking About
But I will, dammit.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but between the ongoing health crisis, the slacking economy, the national debt clock racing toward $28 trillion, and last week’s insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, I’m experiencing crisis fatigue. While I continue to believe that 2021 will be a year of revival, it sure hasn’t started off great.
I’ve been writing a lot about these and other trying national topics in my political columns over on Bernie Goldberg’s website, but since I’ve vowed to keep the politics to a minimum in the ‘Daly Grind’ newsletter, I’ve decided to talk today about a different kind of crisis. It’s one of a private nature that I’ve been battling through in recent weeks — one that has unfortunately affected me both personally and professionally.
I’m talking about… the national aluminum can shortage.
“What?” some of you are probably asking. “There’s an aluminum can shortage?”
The answer is yes, and it is kind of whooping my ass.
First, a little background…
I drink way too much Diet Dr. Pepper. It’s a sickness, really. I know it’s bad for me, I know I should be cutting back, but I can’t get enough of that zero-calorie carbonated delight. The problem is so serious that I’ve actually managed to acquire all kinds of free merchandise for me and my family through DrPepper.com (by uploading my grocery receipts).
Cracking open one of those sharp-looking white and burgundy cans is just as much a part of my daily routine as taking a shower, brushing my teeth, and feeding my dogs… if I did those things like 6 times a day.
I like the taste, and the caffeine helps keep my mind awake and sharp as I’m working on a book chapter, an online column, or this here newsletter. In fact, I’m considering doing a Diet Dr. Pepper dedication on the first page of Sean Coleman #5.
Well, not really… unless I can work some type of product-placement kickback.
Anyway, I noticed that something was amiss a couple of weeks ago, when my family’s grocery-store pickup order (a free service we’ve been using for months because of the pandemic) listed our Diet Dr. Pepper 12-packs as “out of stock.”
It was an item I hadn’t recalled ever being out of stock, at least not at that particular store. Still, I saw it as no biggie. I’d just pick some up at the gas station on my way home.
But the gas station was out of them too, not just the 12-packs but also the 2-liters. They had a few individual bottles in their fridge but that was about it. I picked up some Diet Pepsi instead, which I hope we can all agree is a far inferior product.
Things kept worsening after that. Whenever I went to a store — any store — they were not only out of cans of Diet Dr. Pepper, but also the bottles and 2-liters. The same was soon true of other diet pop brands (and a lot of regular pops). In fact, the other day, I had to settle for caffeine-free Diet Pepsi, which left me with withdrawal-headaches for about 36 hours.
It’s been affecting not only my attitude but also my writing. I’m finding myself falling asleep much earlier at night (even before 9pm a couple of times), usually in front of the television. And I’m normally up until at least 1am!
Just the other day, thanks to a convenience-store cashier who was in the know, I came to learn of the national aluminum can shortage. To be clear, there’s not an aluminum shortage; it’s an aluminum can shortage.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions that started way back in the spring, breweries across the nation have had to close down their tap rooms. They began shifting demand for their products to packaging — mostly cans — to get them on store shelves. The same has been true of the soda fountain business. In relying much more on to-go models, the demand for aluminum cans has skyrocketed, and traditional supply chains have felt the pinch.
Of course, due to the pop-can shortage, consumers are alternatively swiping up what’s left of 2-liters, bottles, and the rest. Today’s pop aisles are starting to look like toilet-paper aisles during the early months of the pandemic. Yet, I’m oddly more concerned about the pop situation than I ever was with toilet paper. (Don’t read too much into that, because you won’t like the imagery).
From what I’m reading, due to back-orders and heavy demand, the shortage may not remedy itself until — wait for it — 2022!
Okay, in the grand scheme of things I suppose it’s not that huge of a deal. A first-world problem for sure. But y’all wanted a peek inside this writer’s life, and I’m giving it to you.
My wife did just find a 24-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper (the last one they had) at Walmart today, so I’m set for a few days anyway, and I’ll do my best to carry on.
Still, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated, and if you’re in a better beverage situation than I am, make sure to savor the flavor.
Obligatory Dog Shot
Uncle Rusty came over for a visit this weekend. He brought the attitude with him.
If you’ve ever seen the television show Rescue Me (with Denis Leary), you’ve heard the Von Bondies. It’s a shortened version of their loud, energetic song, “C'mon C'mon,”
that serves as the series’ title theme.
What you probably don’t know is that the Detroit band put out lots of other great music before disbanding in 2011. Their album, Pawn Shoppe Heart (which features “C'mon C'mon”), is a very cool listen highlighting the group’s rock, punk, and blues influences.
It’s definitely one you should check out.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!