Letter written to the Pepsi Cola Company by a friend of mine immediately upon the completion of his dissertation and the awarding of his PhD:

Dear good folks at the Pepsi Cola Company:

I am writing to inform you that I have just this very day received my doctorate in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, and that I could not have performed the labors required without your assistance. I am of course referring to the aid provided by that wonderful beverage Mountain Dew.

It is essential that all students, but especially graduate students, work late into the night where the distractions of daily life will not impede them. Seeking to emulate my peers and mentors, I tried many methods by which to remain conscious during the wee hours of the morning, but to no avail. I drank coffee, tea, and chili oil; I drove toothpicks beneath my fingernails; I hammered my head against my computer terminal until it was nothing more than a pile of glass shards, wires, and bits of skull. None of these measures were of any help; many nights I sat down at my desk with the best of intentions, only to wake late the next morning, my head on my desk, and my cheek lying in a puddle of cold drool.

Desperate for wakefulness, I did some research, and I read in an ancient manuscript that Prometheus had inadvertently given us the gift of alertness and consciousness in the form of a beverage now bottled and marketed as "Mountain Dew." Seizing upon this fluid as a last recourse, I purchased a bottle, and, late one night, as Morpheus prepared to drag me off to his cavern in order to torture me with unconsciousness and sleep, I hopefully partook of that strangely colored drink. I felt instantly as if I were afire, and slept not for three days or three nights: I experienced total brain activity.

It was during such nights as these that I finished my dissertation. Though I now have only gaping black holes where once I had teeth, my eyes are crusted over with a thin greenish glaze, and my skeleton glows visibly on dark moonless nights, it gave me the gift of fire and power. In short, your beverage converted me from a drab brain-dead mollusk into an intellectual Ubermensch. For this, I am grateful.

I must tell you, however, that a shaman who I have consulted informed me that unless I cease drinking your product immediately, I will absorb enough dark matter into my system to open up a rift into the time/space continuum, and allow entities such as Mothman or the Blair Witch to once again move into our world. I feel that it is my duty to inform you that I will herewith reduce the amount of your beverage I drink on a daily basis; I will cease drinking it completely within a month, which is the estimated time for detoxification. It might be wise to advise your shareholders to move their money from stock in your company to stocks in dental suplies. Thank you for all the support you have provided during these many years, and when I begin my next dissertation, on the biogeography of protozoa, I will inform you of my return to the yellowish-green embrace of that beverage beloved of graduate students, alchemists, and Jerusalem crickets everywhere.

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