Crystal Light liquid: very tasty, but you might as well drink something from a beaker in a chemistry lab.

by Debra Malinics

In a world filled with natural products, natural juices, natural this and natural that, there is also a world filled with the refreshing goodness of 100% pure chemicals. A perfect example is Crystal Light. One taste, and you’re hooked. The tartness, the freshness, the zip and zing of chemicals and additives as they touch your taste buds.

Ahhh….Take a good look at this product, read the ingredients, dazzle your eyes and whet your whistle with freshness and goodness that is completely artificial. No natural flavorings, no natural fruit juice, no natural anything but lots and lots of pure chemicals that are fresh, delicious and unnaturally appealing.

I’ve been a fan of Crystal Light for years. My taste buds were weaned on unnatural drinks like Fresca and Tab during the emerging diet soda years. I buzzed through a variety of artificial drinks, artificial flavors and chemical sweeteners, but they never satisfied my thirst until I discovered Crystal Light.

I don’t know if I found it or it found me, but we met in the aisle of a grocery store whose name I can’t remember. As soon as I read the label, I knew we were made for each other. There was nothing real about this product, or me. Artificial hair, artificial nails, artificial color. Crystal Light and I immediately hit it off. I educated my palate with Crystal Light’s early product line, lemonade and pink lemonade, which prepared my palate for more.

The lemonade, oh, the lemonade; it’s purely artificial yellow color, not the yellow found in nature. This is the yellow one finds in neon. A soft glowing yellow with a slight greenish tint that looks radioactive and very well may be. The lemonade color is heavenly, but pink lemonade is also divine. What a color; how do they do it? Is it the phenylketonuria/phenylalanine combination, or the red dye 40, polypropylene duet that gives this flavor its pink appeal?

Not that intense pink-pink reminiscent of Barbie Dolls and hair ribbons but soft and smooth pink, tarty yet sweet pink, soft yet strong enough to stand on its own without feeling washed out pink. Just a tinge of pink like a young, barely ripe grapefruit. A pink chemical bath that teases you to taste it, beckoning you to carry its chemical cargo to your tongue, and when you do, your are totally beguiled by the acetone interactions. Go ahead, indulge your chemical passion, and rest assured that you are doing your part to build your immune system for a chemical filled world.

These classics, lemonade and pink lemonade, are just two of the tasty flavors available in the Crystal Light product line. Once you’ve tasted these, you can work your way through the whole family of chemical delights. Here’s a look at other flavors in the delightful artificial line.

THE TEAS: A full line of tea flavors, all artificially flavored and oh so good. There’s raspberry, berry and peach. The peach tea is a favorite — soft and subtle, but with a powerful, tart, chemical punch. A divine afternoon drink with hints of artificial peach flavoring that mixes perfectly with the artificial tea taste to create one big artificial taste burst that quenches thirst like nothing natural can. The color is in line with real tea, but of course nothing in any of the Crystal Light tea is close to real. Because the tea flavors have the color that looks natural, not like radiated waste, you can be completely comfortable serving it to first time tasters who might be put off by some of the neon colors in other flavors.

THE TROPICAL FRUITS: There is a full line of mixed fruit flavors, or what I call the tropical line. These flavors combine artificial berry, mango, pineapple, banana and such to get a tangy fruit mixed flavor that stands up and dances the hula right in your mouth. These flavors make you feel like a kid again — bouncy, light-headed and sassy.

THE CLASSIC ADES: These are the classic flavors, the first flavors of the family. Lemonade, limeade, (a beautiful shade of transparent, jello-like green), pink lemonade, pink grapefruit and ruby red grapefruit. One never tires of classics like these.

Crystal Light could be illegal, but it’s not. It’s all artificial and naturally legal. Buy it over the counter in stores across America. Zero calories. No fat or carbohydrates to clog the heart or clump up arteries, and it’s sugar-free, fat-free, nutrient-free, vitamin-free and everything else free, except it is expensive. But what chemical compound isn’t? Look at the cost of prescription drugs.

Once you’ve tasted Crystal Light, you’re hooked. Nothing natural matters any more. You hate to be away from the chemical compounds that taste so good. And you no longer have to be separated from Crystal Light for long because it now comes in delightful, individual packets that can go everywhere you do. And along with its pure chemical appeal, Crystal Light is versatile. It’s a great mixer for other drinks. Ordered a martini but just a tad too bland? Zip it up artificially with Crystal Light.

No matter how you package it, how you look at it, how you drink it and regardless of what color stares back, Crystal Light is a delight that refreshes your taste, keeps us thin, colors our world and prepares us for the future… with a body that’s been fortified with chemicals. “Better living through chemicals” is my motto. Make it yours, too, with Crystal Light tonight!

Debra Malinics is a long-time Chestnut Hill resident who owns and operates an advertising agency.