Soda Pop – Western Disease or Beautiful Work?

Obsessives: Soda Pop from on Vimeo.

I used to drink soda. Then I discovered that drinking it was making me hyper-active and not very happy, so I quit. And I turned it into a symbol. For the Western Disease. Then I came across this video. About John Nese, owner of Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles. I’ve probably watched it fifty times now. Because he’s a funny, heart-warming hero. But also because he’s one of the first who truly made me understand the inherent beauty of work. Any kind of work.

When you do what you love, really love, that love comes back in your work. It attains a kind of indescribable quality, a reflection of the joy you have in doing or making it. And your work becomes valuable, sustainable, a gift, almost by definition. You just can’t help it.

Well, John certainly can’t: he doesn’t sell diet soda (“Diet?! Yeugh!! How about this: just drink less!”), he knows why cane sugar is better than corn syrup, he’ll tell you a personal story about every of the 500+ small soda-makers whom he gets his products from, he helps them stay afloat – and he’s changing the market – by spreading the gospel of soda made with love, he’s very precise about recycling – and why re-using is much better, he gets kids to drink – and love – cucumber soda (“Cucumber?! Kids drinking vegetables?!”) and he’s never going to sell you something that you can get for a better price elsewhere.

John doesn’t work. He just plays. All day long. This video beautifully captures that energy. To me, it became a symbol of beautiful, game-changing work. No rocket-science or management wisdom, just love. And it planted one of the seeds that was to sprout into the Heartworkers project. So here’s to soda pop, cheers!

Ontdekker, filmaker, schrijver. Free hugs gever.

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