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Some people start their day with a cup of coffee. Others need a nice cup of tea to jumpstart their morning. Forget coffee or tea. Give me a fountain soda! Nothing starts my day like a big old, 44 ounce fountain soda with lots of ice.

I probably sound crazy. Who ever thought of drinking soda at eight in the morning? I did. Why not? There's nothing inherently nocturnal about soda. It has just as much caffeine as coffee or tea, but it actually tastes good. It's cold and refreshing, two things that coffee and tea are not. Some people say "Don't talk to me until I've had at least two cups of coffee." I say, "I've got my fountain soda, let's talk."

It's not just drinking fountain soda that makes your day start out great. It's the act of buying the fountain soda. First, you grab the size cup that fits your schedule. If you have a long day ahead of you, go for the 44 ouncer, or the Big Gulp as it is so eloquently called at the good old 7-Eleven. If your day is short, start out smalll, with a 20 ounce soda. Remember, the bigger the cup, the more ice you'll need to keep that refreshing beverage cold all day long. I've developed my own method. If I'm buying a small fountain soda (which I rarely do, because even a short day involves a long ride home), I start filling the cup with ice and start counting. When I hit three seconds (using the one Mississippi method), I stop. If I'm filling a large cup, I'll usually go for five or six seconds. Remember, using the right amount of ice is crucial--if you use too much, the soda will taste watered down; if you use too little, the soda will be warm in no time.

After I have filled the cup with ice, I select my soda. Personally, I always choose either Coke of Pepsi. Diet soda tastes nasty in the fountain version. Stick to the reliable caffeine and sugar burst found in your favorite, calorie laden colas. Since you can never fill a fountain soda on the first try (due to the fuzz), I fill my cup all the way and wait for about five seconds. Then, I fill it to the top again. (Only do this refill once, or you'll end up with too much soda and the lid won't fit on the cup without the soda spilling over.) Once filled, I put the lid on the fountain cup.

One important step that I must mention is the straw. All the time, I see people using a standard size straw for their fountain soda. This is a big mistake. What happens when the soda is almost gone, and that short straw you've drawn doesn't reach to the bottom? Yup. You're wasting precious soda. Go for the long straw--most convenience stores carry them now. This way, not only is the straw easier to reach (from a desk or table), but you can drink every last drop of the sweet sticky stuff.

Okay, so maybe I've gotten carried away with the process of buying a fountain soda. But, it's important stuff. Getting the soda just right is imperative if the soda is to serve it's purpose all day.

So, now you're in your car driving to work, and that nice, ice cold soda is sitting in your cup holder. What now? Do you slurp it up and gulp it down before you hit the interstate? Heck no! This drink is to be savored. Take small sips. This way, the drink will last all day. And, don't be afraid to carry your fountain soda around with you all day. People may look at you like you're nuts, but who cares--You've got a fountain soda and they don't. Who's laughing now?

exactly how long will this soda last you? All day. I promise. At five-thirty, when you're getting ready to leave your office, you will notice that there is still a small amount of soda left in your cup. Is it too warm to drink? Probably, yes. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Think of what this means. You did not drink all 44 ounces of soda --that is, unless all that remains is the melting ice cubes. Even then, because of the ice, you never really h ad 44 ounces of soda to begin with. So don't feel bad if the cup is empty. Just by having that monstrosity of a drink sitting on your desk all day, forming a little ring around the bottom edge, you were disinclined to buy another soda. Rather than drinking three or four cans of soda (which is really too sweet and sugary for me anyway) you only drank one soda, albeit a huge one.

So, the final question is, do you drink that little bit of soda left or do you throw it away? My theory is, throw it away. It's too warm to drink now anyway. You can always buy another one tomorrow. And, just think--the cleaning crew will find a nice, messy, surprise in your trash can tonight!