The late cult leader, Reverend Jim Jones, can be partially blamed for all of the bad publicity regarding Kool-Aid. Head of his own created church, Peoples Temple, the egotistical, charismatic maniac, convinced a good number of followers on November 18, 1978, to drink cyanide laced grape beverage as an accelerated means to get to Heaven.
In Jonestown, Guyana, where he had established a huge cult compound, over 900 of his congregation committed suicide that muggy day by consuming several gallons from a huge vat, with 304 of them being children. I remember things well, because it was front and center in newspapers and on television for what seemed like months. Photos showed bodies lying on the ground unlike anything I’d ever seen.
A misnomer was created by the press during these reports, because it wasn’t Kool-Aid that these folks drank, but something called Flavor Aid instead. The damage was significant to Kraft Foods, owner of Kool-Aid, because they lost a tremendous amount of business from bumbling of the facts. There was little effort to correct things, and to this day “drinking the Kool-Aid” refers to unwisely following a person or belief, metaphorically speaking, over a cliff.
My brother, Jim, and I grew up drinking Kool-Aid, with mom finding it an inexpensive beverage for us to consume. She even froze the stuff in special plastic popsicle molds, and on scorching days either in Alabama or Texas, the frozen treats were a Godsend.
For over sixty years now, I still enjoy a cold glass of this beverage at lunch or dinner, especially cherry flavor. Why don’t restaurants serve it is beyond me? I’m tired of the same old selection of drinks that most of them offer. The profit for a glass of Kool-Aid over that of all the others would make it a sensible thing to do. Flavors could be changed on a daily basis unlike carbonated beverages.
The next time someone sarcastically says to me, “You must be drinking the Kool-Aid!,” with this generally happening during an argument over presidential candidates, I’ll know immediately they’re not up to speed where facts are concerned.
If I’m feeling my Wheaties, I’ll bluntly reply back knowing this person won’t have a clue. “Yes, I am, but at least I’m not drinking the Flavor Aid like you!”