Stan’s got the formula for success

What would you do if you had a combination of the following products and chemicals in your possession?:

Citric Acid (C6H8O7), Sodium Benzoate (NaC7H5O2), Sodium Citrate (C6H7NaO7), Phenylalanine (2-Amino-3-Phenylpropanoic Acid), Malic Acid (C4H6O5), Aspartame (a methyl ester of the aspartic acid-phenylalanine dipeptide), Ester Gum (I’m not sure, but I think I went to high with school with her), Caffeine (a central nervous system stimulant of the methylxanthine class), Yellow 6, Red 4 (Crayola?), Acesulfame Potassium (C4H4KNO4S), and a few other harmless-sounding ingredients such as modified food starch and natural flavors.

All of the above go with my apologies to the late Prof. Berl Alstodt of the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy at Long Island University. And with best wishes to my dear and oldest friend, Dr. Sheldon Sparber, who borrowed my crayons in Kindergarten at PS184 — and who many, many years later tied with me in our college graduating class, June 1960.

The combination of the ingredients above sounds like something from a chemistry set that we used to buy for our teenage kids.

But let’s get back to the original question. What would you do with a product manufactured with these substances? Me? I’d drink it.

This is the formula written on the label of a bottle of Sunkist Diet Orange Soda. Before you write your letter, I purposely left out carbonated water from the list of ingredients. That would have given it away.

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Everybody knows that discipline is a major problem in our schools. Several weeks ago, in a letter to the editor, a reader mentioned the 600 schools. I remember the 600 schools, but I’m sure that there are some of you who are more familiar with them than I am. Some of you who are regular readers and are very knowledgeable about New York City write often to this newspaper. Please take the time to explain the 600 schools — why they are named that — and talk about their success rate. Many of us will be very happy to reproduce your explanation and forward it to our mayor.

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The menu on the wall at the self-service counter listed three sizes of beverages — large (which is really the small), super-duper (which is really their version of medium), and xtra-generous (which is the largest) — all at different prices and all with unlimited free refills. Why would anyone insist on ordering anything but the least expensive with free refills?

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Sid Vicious, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Frankie Lymon, Tim Buckley, Gregory Herbert, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Brent Mydland are just some of the famous entertainers who used drugs and eventually died while they were still young to middle-aged — and who still had much talent to offer to the world.

Recently we learned that Prince joined that list at age 57. Our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences go to the family of the late super-star. I am StanGershb[email protected]ellsouth.net asking, how many more have to die before the current crop of entertainers learn about drugs’ harmful effects?

Read Stan Gershbein’s column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.

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