Why is it that when I travel out of the area and ask for “pop,” I always get the same response:
“You mean soda?”
“Um, no. Pop.”
“It’s called soda.”
“Pop sounds stupid.”
Okay, I really don’t mean to call people names, but don’t mess with me on the pop vs soda debate. I’m a fanatic. To understand why saying “pop” is correct and everyone else is wrong, we need to go back to the very beginning.
Joseph Priestly has been called the “Father of Soda Pop.” Notice that soda is an adjective, describing pop. Pop is a noun. It is important. Soda is just a descriptive word. Not as important. So, that should be the end of it. But, let me give Joe some print time, since he was the first to invent the delicious drink we partake each day.
According to Wikipedia, “ In 1767, Englishman Joseph Priestley first discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide to make carbonated water when he suspended a bowl of distilled water above a beer vat at a local brewery in Leeds, England. His invention of carbonated water, (also known as soda water), is the major and defining component of most soft drinks.
Priestley found that water treated in this manner had a pleasant taste, and he offered it to friends as a refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air.”
Interesting, but let’s look back, shall we? Carbonated water is also known as soda water. Notice “soda” is once again an adjective. I mean, if you want to color and ask your friend if they have a crayon, you don’t say “Can I have a blue?” A blue what, stupid? Dog? See where I am going with this? Other than I’m 54 years old and really wouldn’t ask a friend for a crayon. But, this just makes so much sense.
In the end, it depends on where you are from. Several people have made maps to show the pop/soda debate. And then just to mess with me, there are many people who just say “Coke” to mean pop or soda. I would not do well in the south. I lOVE Coke, but despise Pepsi. If I order a Coke, I want a damn Coke. I love it when I go on vacation and notice it is a “Coke” town. Thank God Cancun was a Coke place. I would have been going through withdrawl on vacation. It makes a difference. I can do a blind-fold test a million times and always be able to pick out my beloved Coke.
Another map was constructed from people voting on what the say. There are statistics for each county in every state. Pretty impressive.
It has gotten to the point that when a waitress asks me what I would like to drink, I always ask, “Do you have Coke or Pepsi?” because if I ask for a Coke and they bring me a Pepsi, I will not be a happy camper. And you can’t fool me, remember? If I ask if you have pop, don’t correct me or say, “No, but we have soda.” with a smile like one waiter did in New York. I’ll just give it back to you. “You mean like baking soda?” Nah, I’ll have a Coke, though, if you have it.” In the end, they want a tip, so they should know not to mess with pop people.
I guess a lot of people who are weak and don’t want to defend their pop or soda choice, ask for ”soft” drinks. That phrase is used to distinguish between pop or say, a Bloody Mary, which is a hard drink. Why McDonald’s would advertise “soft drinks” on their menu makes no sense. They don’t sell whiskey, which is obviously a “hard drink.” Maybe they should though. Adults would play in the play area and hide in the balls. Drunks love that stuff.
So, yeah. I’m from West Virginia and we say “pop.”
Because, after all, “soda” is just an adjective that describes that great thing that is pop.