THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY:

Lest you think my happiness is schadenfreude, let me clarify: I’m not delighted that Joe Biden gaffed again. That’s a tired storyline. So, the guy regularly has slips of the tongue. I’m really not so inclined to take him to task for that anymore.

No, I’m genuinely thrilled that Joe Biden thanked Dr. Pepper. I, too, am grateful for all that Dr. Pepper has brought to my life. For as long as I can remember, it’s been my mom’s soft drink of choice. I assume that’s why it has such a reassuring resonance for me, why I actually feel sophisticated — that’s right, sophisticated! — when I drink it. At various points in my life, it has meant breakfast, lunch and dinner — yes, all three — to me.

Growing up in Oklahoma and Arkansas, Dr. Pepper was superabundant. (Dr. Pepper plant was first concocted in nearby Texas.) When I moved to D.C. and found Dr. Pepper suddenly scarce, I immediately concluded a lack of it in vending machines explained the high stress level of D.C. dwellers. Order Dr. Pepper in a D.C. restaurant and the waitress will likely say, “We don’t have Dr. Pepper. Would you like root beer instead?” I like root beer, but let’s be clear: Root beer is not Dr. Pepper.

But the lack of DP in D.C. eventually turned out to be a positive. While I was at Heritage, I ventured to the Capitol with my then-boss, Rob Bluey, and colleague Brandon Stewart to shoot a quick video of select freshmen congressmen talking about spending cuts. We interviewed my hometown congressman, Oklahoma Republican Rep. James Lankford. Turns out, he was as blindsided by the scarcity of Dr. Pepper in the capital city as I was and kept the refrigerator in his office stocked full of the stuff. He offered me a freebie. Needless to say, I’m a fan of Rep. Lankford. See? People bond over Dr. Pepper.

Is this a joke? It’s really, really not. Thank you, Dr. Pepper — and thank you, Joe Biden, for thanking Dr. Pepper.

P.S. If you love Sonic happy hour half as much as I do, never check the direction they send their political donations. Happy hour will never be as happy again.