The Twisting, Turning Tale of the Invention of Dr Pepper
When the sun scorches the earth, when incandescent air burns your lungs, and especially when that glucose curve dips at 10, 2 and 4 in the afternoon … well, there is nothing better than grabbing an ice cold bottle of a very special soft drink- its purple-ish label covered in beads of cooling moisture. I am, of course, talking about the first major soft drink to be invented in America: Dr Pepper, beating Coca Cola by one year and Pepsi by eight, all the way back in 1885! Coincidence that this was the same year Doctor Emmet Brown and Marty McFly were having their little adventure? We’ll leave it to you to decide.
Non-Americans may have only a very vague idea of what Dr Pepper is, considering that it is not as ubiquitous as Coke or Pepsi. And we can even exclusively say that our glorious and unheralded third partner in our endeavors here on TodayIFoundOut in a phenomenal human by the name of Dhruv Sapra only recently tried Dr. Pepper for the first time on August 3 of 2023. But our viewers in the US are surely very familiar with its distinctive packaging and taste. Our friends in Texas in particular share a special bond with Dr Pepper, as they can revel in pride knowing that the drink was invented in their very own Waco.
Or can they? The fact is that the origin story of Dr Pepper is steeped in lore and legend, marked by contradicting versions and no conclusively confirmed facts, and may not have been invented in Texas at all. What follows is going to be us attempting to sort out that mess, while also in the process, for reasons that will soon make sense, diving into the fascinating reasons why 18 is considered the age we become adults, whether two people really are the only individuals who know the full recipe for Coca-Cola, and much, much more! So let’s dive into it, shall we?
The most widely accepted origin story for Dr Pepper takes us back to Waco, Texas in 1885, and more precisely to the Old Corner Drug Store, owned by pharmacist Wade Morrison, originally from Christianburg, Virginia. That very year, a young pharmacist called Charles Alderton moved into town with his wife Lillie Walker. Alderton originally hailed from Brooklyn, but had conducted his pharmaceutical and medicinal studies in England and Texas. Charles and Lillie married in October 1884 in Galveston, Texas, where he ran a small flavour extract business called ‘Alderton & Co.’
In early 1885 a fire destroyed the business premises, which may have led to the Aldertons’ decision to move to Waco. Charles soon found employment under Wade Morrison, and perhaps due to his experience with flavour extracts, he found a keen interest in the shop’s ‘soda fountain’.
On this, like many drug stores of the era, Morrison’s establishment had a soda fountain, very popular with his clientele. For the non-initiated, this was essentially a bar where patrons could mix carbonated water with various, often fruity, syrups of their choice, with generally it alleged the concoctions had health benefits, because, sure, why not?
The story goes that Charles Alderton was enamoured with the smell of different syrups, how they mixed in the air and then wafted through the store. Eventually, he decided to recreate that unique scent, and convert it into a new flavoured fizzy drink.
Alderton experimented with several different combinations of syrups, juices, herbs and other ingredients, keeping meticulous notes in his journal. He finally hit upon the right mix, the very essence of that captivating soda fountain smell, concentrated into carbonated pop.
The young pharmacist offered the new drink to his boss Wade Morrison. Apparently, he liked it so much that he asked Alderton to serve it to their customers. According to the US Patent Office, the drink later known as Dr Pepper was first served on December 1st, 1885. Patrons were delighted with the new concoction, queuing up at the soda fountain and asking Alderton to ‘shoot them a Waco’, which was the original name of the drink.
It clearly needed a new, more appealing brand, ultimately settling on, ‘Dr. Pepper’ which was initially stylised with a period, but then dropped in the 1950s.
And here lies the first mystery. How did Wade Morrison come up with this name? Not even the curators at the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco know for sure, admitting that they have ‘Collected over a dozen different stories on how the drink became known as Dr Pepper.’
If we want to stick to the most widely circulated hypothesis, the name of Dr Pepper, the drink, was inspired by an actual Dr. Pepper, or Dr. Charles T. Pepper to be precise. Charles became ‘Dr. Charles’ after earning a medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1855. When the Civil War broke out, he served as an army surgeon with the Confederacy. After the war, the doctor settled in the town of Rural Retreat, Virginia, where he opened a drugstore.
Exactly how his name was transferred to the soda, however, is disputed, and adds a further layer to the general “Ya, this was probably made up after the fact” sense of things. According to one version, Charles Pepper had once employed Charles Alderton. Years later, the young pharmacist had honored his early benefactor by naming the new drink after him. A more widespread account places Wade Morrison instead in Rural Retreat, working for Pepper. In 1885, it was him who wanted to acknowledge his old alleged employer as a way of thanking him.
But there are yet more variants of the Morrison/Pepper hypothesis. A fan favourite version claims that Wade Morrison had fallen in love with Dr. Pepper’s daughter. The pharmacist had asked his employer for permission to marry her, but the doctor had refused.
An embittered Morrison had then upped sticks and moved to Waco, where he had started his own drug store. When the occasion came, he decided to call the drink ‘Dr Pepper’ in the hopes of winning the approval of his potential father-in-law.
Actually, scratch that. Yet another version claims that Morrison had no intention to regain favour with his old employer. In fact, he had named his horse ‘Pepper’ in jest – and the drink may have been named after the horse, rather than the man.
Or forget about the horse! The name may have been picked by Alderton after all. After hearing Morrison recount his misadventures with Charles Pepper back in Virginia, the pharmacist chose the brand ‘Dr Pepper’ as a joke to tease his employer.
There is also an entirely separate subset of theories which completely ignore the good doctor Charles Pepper. The brand name may have been created from scratch by Morrison, following some sound brand naming principles. He may have chosen the word ‘Pepper’ for several reasons.
First of all, pepper is allegedly one of the ingredients of the drink, although this has never been officially confirmed by parent company Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Probably the most plausible was that at the time these soda fountain drinks were often thought to be good for your health, and the name evoked ‘peppiness’ or liveliness – a fitting concept, considering that it was common for sodas in the late 19th Century to be marketed as energising tonics as well. Or the name may have been chosen also due to the syllable ‘pep-’, a nod to the digestive enzyme pepsin a-la Pepsi. Another feature commonly attributed to sodas was that they helped digestion.
Finally, the insertion of the title ‘Dr’ was a common practice for brands of the era, and was intended to reassure customers as to their medicinal properties.
Now, all the accounts related so far are based on the solid foundation that the Dr Pepper drink was invented by a Brooklyn-born pharmacist in Waco. Dr Charles T. Pepper may have only played a tangential role as far as the name was concerned.
You may find, however, that the inhabitants of Rural Retreat, Virginia, strongly contest this version. According to them, it was the OG Dr. Pepper who invented Dr Pepper! Based on these claims, the Virginian doctor had developed a fizzy beverage of his own, made of mountain herbs and medicinal roots.
When his former employer Morrison moved out of Rural Retreat and into Waco, he brought along the recipe and initiated mass production of the popular soda from 1885 onwards. From this version of the events, it is not clear if Morrison had the Doctor’s blessing or simply stole the formula. Perhaps Morrison wanted to get back at Pepper for not allowing his daughter to marry him.
But let me throw a plot twist in the story.
What if I told you that Wade Morrison never courted Pepper’s daughter? Back in 1992 Associated Press debunked the myth of Morrison pining for Miss Pepper, yet this strangely still survives, mainly thanks to corporate communications from Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Associated Press reported that, according to a census carried out in 1880, Dr. Pepper’s daughter was born in 1874. Therefore, by the time Morrison and Alderton were experimenting with sodas in Waco, she would have been only 11 years old…
And lest you’re currently about to comment on “different times” where an 11 year old girl could be courted by an adult, or even older teen, male in a socially acceptable way, we’re going to go ahead and thoroughly debunk that in the Bonus Facts later in this video, while also dive into the fascinating reasons 18 is so often considered the age of consent. For those who don’t care to watch that far, we’ll just say for now, it has never in recorded human history been terribly socially acceptable for an adult male to court a young teen girl. Nor has it ever been common for a young teen girl, or even to an extent an older teen girl, to get married. And it was actually the Baby Boomer generation who saw one of the lowest marriage age averages in recorded history, bizarrely enough. Don’t believe us? Well watch to the end! We totally aren’t wanting you to do that for YouTube algorithmic reasons… Nope…
But for now, either Charles Pepper had some extremely good reasons to tell Morrison to get the hell out of his store, town and State, trying to court his 11 year old daughter or – more realistically – the entire story is just a wagon load of bovine gastrointestinal waste.
In fact, there is evidence that Morrison may have never even met the Peppers! Milly Walker, curator at the Dublin, Texas, Dr Pepper Bottling Co. Museum, has pored over US census records and found that, before moving to Waco, Wade Morrison lived in Christianburg, Virginia, 40 miles from Rural Retreat. Walker stated that, ‘There is not one piece of evidence that Morrison ever worked for Charles T. Pepper in Rural Retreat’.
Shocking, we know. In fact, probably shouldn’t be if you’ve ever read some of these origin tales surrounding Dr. Pepper which just scream, once again, made up after the fact and nobody seemingly able to point to any real hard evidence to support much of it.
On this note, the whole narrative behind the genesis of Dr Pepper was hit by another curveball in 2008, following a chance discovery at an antiques shop in Shamrock, Texas. Bill Waters, a manuscript collector from Oklahoma, bought a wooden crate once used to store medicines bottles. While rifling through its contents, Waters found an old sales ledger bearing the letter head ‘W B Morrison and Co. Old Corner Drug Store’. Waters couldn’t believe his eyes when, inside the ledger, he found a handwritten recipe for something called ‘D Peppers Pepsin Bitter’
Most of the recipe was illegible, but it appears that this concoction was based on large quantities of syrup and mandrake root. According to British newspaper The Independent, this ‘pepsin bitter’ had probably been devised as a ‘digestive’ to make stomach medicines easier to swallow. The presence of mandrake in fact leads towards the gastrointestinal interpretation. Medieval lore attributed magical powers to mandrake, purporting it was sufficient to carry a root on your person to increase your fertility and/or libido.
Magic aside, this herb does have medicinal properties. When used in very small doses it can be used as a mild pain killer, or to treat ailments such as stomach ulcers, colic and constipation. But in large quantities it can trigger vomiting, induce sedation or a rather annoying side effect known as death. So, yeah, steer clear of mandrake and leave it to a certified pharmacist, like the good folks working at the Morrison and Co. Old Corner Drug Store.
Speaking of which, so far I mentioned only the top man and Charles Alderton, but the shop was at one time co-run by Morrison and another chemist, John Castles. The cover of the ledger found by Waters the collector was in fact inscribed with the phrase ‘Castles Formulas’
Could this be considered evidence that the first incarnation of Dr Pepper was conceived as a medicine by the now forgotten John Castles?
The heading for the recipe ‘D Peppers Pepsin Bitter’ also potentially lends credence to the hypothesis that the drink was not based on a person, but it was a reference to the root ‘pep-’ associated with digestive enzyme pepsin and digestion in general.
Back in May 2009, Mr Waters put up the ledger and recipe for auction, attracting the attention of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. A spokesman for the firm did not challenge the authenticity of the document, but claimed that the ingredients listed in the ledger had ‘Little resemblance to the real Dr Pepper recipe’. Of course, we’re guessing even those in charge of the actual Dr Pepper formula these days probably aren’t familiar with what the original was, let alone that a random spokesman is privy to such information even on the modern formula.
On this note, folks who have never tasted a sip of this soda may be wondering what’s so special about it and its recipe. Just like for Coke, the formula for Dr Pepper is a well-guarded secret, locked in a vault inside the Dr Pepper Snapple Group headquarters in Plano, Texas. Or, allegedly. Again as we’ve covered before in great detail, the whole idea of locking the formula in a vault with Coca-Cola has always been more of a marketing stunt than anything else, similar to the idea that only two people know the recipe for Coca-Cola and they are never allowed to be on a plane together, which by the way is a notion literally started by a Coca-Cola advertisement. And we’re just going to guess Dr Pepper is doing the exact same thing here.
In truth, the exact number of people privy to the knowledge of how to make Coca-Cola isn’t public knowledge; however, it’s definitely more than two as the sheer volume of the syrup being produced every day, with slightly differing ingredients in different parts of the world, necessitate that quite a few people need to know, at the least, large portions of the ingredients (and appropriate proportions of each) in order to keep supplies flowing. This sort of volume just wouldn’t scale well to only two people knowing how to make the product, especially if the extension of this myth were true- that each person only knows one half of the ingredients. Besides not scaling well, this would be a recipe for disaster… if anything ever happened to one of them and it wasn’t written down elsewhere. This is partially why in one ad campaign Coca-Cola claimed the “two” executives are not allowed to fly on a plane together.
At the least, it’s probable the exact ingredients, though perhaps not the exact proportions, are known by numerous people working at Coca-Cola. For instance, certain of the company’s accountants, particularly the higher ups, are probably well aware of what goes into the company’s staple product. Invoices would create a very detailed paper trail with which it would be very easy to get the exact list of ingredients, even if the company had different factories making different parts of the syrup. It would also be only slightly harder to figure out the exact proportions given the relative volume of each of the ingredients being ordered going into the factories, and the exact output of syrup coming out.
Going back to the vault, while Coca-Cola does have a cartoonishly large vault in Atlanta, Georgia that allegedly holds their recipe it strains credibility to think this is the only place the recipe can be found in written form. And it wouldn’t be surprising at all if it isn’t even in there. You see, the latest vault was also all part of a publicity stunt for Coca-Cola’s 125 year anniversary in 2011. The fact that this custom vault is part of “The World of Coca-Cola” and they turned it into an interactive exhibit for the public would, once again, suggest that they, like most likely also the case with Dr Pepper, are more concerned with the publicity and enigma surrounding the formula than the actual information it contains.
But going back to Dr Pepper, all we know for sure is that the recipe, or at least the original version of it (with the modern formula very likely being quite different than its ancestor), is or was a combination of 23 different ingredients, allegedly known only by three senior company executives at any one time. Which, ya, once again, if your bullshit-o-meter is going crazy, we won’t judge.
On this formula, fans of the drink have tried to retro-engineer the recipe, and the most detailed attempt so far includes the following 23 flavours: amaretto, almond, blackberry, black licorice, caramel, carrot, clove, cherry, cola, ginger, juniper, lemon, molasses, nutmeg, orange, prune, plum, pepper, root beer, rum, raspberry, tomato, and vanilla.
Is this an accurate listing? Surely our taste buds are not refined enough to suggest an alternative formula, but we are going to challenge the presence of prune. In its initial years in business, the Dr Pepper company went to great lengths to dispel the rumour that their drink contained prune juice.
Allegedly, this rumour was circulated by rival soda companies to insinuate that Dr Pepper had laxative properties. But that’s in itself a rumour, which can be added to the pile of unsubstantiated lore which surrounds this drink.
If we were to summarise what we know, the only certain conclusions we can draw about these matters are: We will never be entirely certain of who first came up with the recipe for Dr Pepper, although Alderton, with initial inspiration from Castles seems plausible enough based on evidence at hand.
We will never know for sure who or how they came up with the name, though the ‘pepsin’ / peppy line of reasoning seems pretty reasonable as does noting how common it was to include “Dr” to the name of such supposed health tonics.
And we will never find out what is in the original recipe. And, indeed, even if Dr Pepper announced the current recipe, it likely only bears resemblance from the OG.
Now, at this point, you might be wondering how Dr Pepper grew from that little shop in Waco to be beloved by nerds the world over today. On this, we can be a lot more definitive.
After its invention in 1885, the citizens of Waco went crazy for the stuff, so much so that Morrison and Alderton sensed a business opportunity and started selling their flavoured mixture to other soda fountain operators in town.
But demand kept growing, dwarfing supply.
Morrison realised he needed a business partner to scale up production. He found one in Robert S. Lazenby, a young beverage chemist and owner of the ‘Circle A’ Ginger Ale Company in Waco. Lazenby loved Dr Pepper and was happy to give it a shot.
Charles Alderton, on the other hand, had lost interest in the sector of fizzy drinks, and was happy to sell the rights to use his recipe to his business associates.
Alderton lived in Waco most of his life, focusing on pharmaceutical work and his commitments with the local Masonic lodge, of which he became Master in June of 1911. After remarrying in 1919, Alderton joined the Waco Drug Company, overseeing the company’s research lab. He would be later recognised as one of the leading chemists in the South of the US.
But let’s return to Morrison and Lazenby. The two co-founded the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company in 1891, with the intention of scaling up the production of their successful drink.
In September 1898, the Southwestern Soda Fountain Company, based in Dallas, bought the rights to manufacture and sell Dr Pepper syrups. In other words, the folks at Southwestern would own the production of the concentrated syrup, while Morrison and Lazenby’s Artesian would take care of mixing the syrup with carbonated water, bottling the end product and distributing it.
In September 1902, the ‘Southwestern’ changed its name to Dr. Pepper Company. A logical move, but the ‘Artesian’ bottling company still called the shots when it came to distribution. It was Lazenby’s idea, in fact, to introduce Dr Pepper to its largest audience yet. This happened at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as St Louis’ World Fair, from April to December 1904.
At the Exposition, ecstatic crowds were apparently first exposed en masse to hamburgers buns, hot dogs and ice cream cones, although as we’ve covered before there is much more to those stories than the popular narrative today claims. But those are stories for another day. But for this one, the audiences did enjoy Dr Pepper there, and it was an instant hit!
In 1920, the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Works was absorbed into the ‘Circle A’, Lazenby’s original corporation. The new entity became the only authorised bottler of Dr Pepper concentrate, but they had little cause to celebrate. Rises in prices of commodities and in bottling taxes caused the company to file for bankruptcy in June of 1923.
One month later, what remained of Circle A was incorporated into the Dr. Pepper Company, finally placing production of concentrate and bottling under one roof. Under the guidance of Lazenby’s son-in-law, John O’Hara, Dr Pepper continued to grow in popularity, thanks to well-conceived marketing strategies.
O’Hara’s company employed the Tracy-Locke-Dawson advertising agency, or TLD. In 1926, TLD execs learned about an interesting study published by Dr Walter H. Eddy at Columbia University. The study found that the blood sugar levels of the average individual were at their lowest around 10:30am, 2:30pm amd 4:30pm.
Copywriter Earl Racey came up with the slogan ‘Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2 and 4’
This was an incredibly successful strapline, which earned Earl Racey a $25 bonus – $432 adjusted for inflation.
Which is kind of a stingy reward, if you ask me, as the ‘10, 2, 4’ concept was also incorporated into the logo and remained in use until the 1970s. Moreover, it laid the foundation of Dr Pepper’s image as a liquid ‘pick me up’ for busy people conducting useful work. This became very useful during WWII, when the US rationed sugar, a much needed ingredient for the explosive industry.
The Dr Pepper company responded by issuing a booklet called ‘The Liquid Bite’, explaining how their soda could act as an energy booster for soldiers and workers. Although, while sugar can indeed help provide energy for physical activities similar to any other carb, we would just like to point out here that it is a myth that sugar makes anyone, including kids, hyper or anything of the sort. That’s not a thing.
In any event, in the post-war era, the drink maintained its identity as an energising tonic, and was advertised with the slogan ‘The friendly Pepper-Upper’.
In the 1960s and 1970s it became clear to the Dr Pepper Company, later Dr Pepper Snapple Group, that they could not compete against the giants of the soft drink business, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi. In another stroke of advertising savviness, the new brand identity switched from sugary energy to originality and uniqueness.
First, Dr Pepper embraced the slogan ‘The most misunderstood soft drink’
Followed by ‘The most original soft drink even in the whole wide world’
And finally ‘Be a Pepper. Be you’
We could not agree more. Even if you have never tried Dr Pepper, or even if you find that its combination of allegedly 23 ingredients is not to your taste, it is undeniable that this drink stands aside from other products in the market. Just don’t try to drink it when it’s gone flat and warm. Goes from nectar of the gods to chemical pig swill.
Only ‘the friendly Pepper-Upper’ can boast such a complex, fascinating and contradictory foundational myth, in itself a clear sign of the special place that this soft drink holds in the heart of American pop culture and nerds the world over. Paired with Pizza or caesar salad, we’re really not sure it gets much better than that.
Going back to the whole teen girl marriage thing, as alluded to previously, this has never in recorded history been the norm outside of with the royals occasionally, which is likely where this myth came from. As for the rest of the human populace, while certainly there was a little more wiggle room than in modern times, in many places setting the line at 18+ as in very modern times was more or less the norm.
For example, a study performed by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) on marriage in North America and Western Europe found that young women from the 17th through 19th centuries were not all that young when they got married. Case in point, in Massachusetts records dating from 1652 to 1800 demonstrate that the mean age of first marriage for ladies was between 19.5 and 22.5 years, and records for other colonies reflect similar ages. In fact, the average age of first marriage for all of the colonies studied was 19.8 before 1700, 21.2 during the early 18th century, and a whopping 22.7 during the late 18th century.
This is consistent with data gathered in England, France and Germany that puts the average mean age of first marriage for women at 25.1 from 1750-1799 and 25.7 from 1800-1849. Maintaining the trend, by the end of the 19th century, the median age when women were first getting married was between 22 and 24 years old, and this tendency continued into the 1940s. In fact, the lowest median age of first marriage since the early 1700s was had by the baby boom generation, where the age dropped to 20.5 years in 1950. Unsurprisingly perhaps, this generation also saw the highest divorce rates in recorded history, with that number, contrary to popular belief, declining rapidly in recent years as the age of marriage has been increasing.
Finally, if you’re now wondering how society came to the age of 18 for adulthood. Well, pretty arbitrarily and in part just because of war. On this, in modern times, we’ve collectively decided in the ballpark of 18, depending on nation, is when people are old enough to make good choices, including when it comes to reproductive and marital activities. But, of course, for most of history, nobody thought like this. For example, at just 16 years old, Alexander the Great was busy conquering Maedi, when they dared revolt against Macedonia. Also at 16, a peasant girl by the name of Jeanne d’Arc was taking her first steps into historical prominence by having the gall to approach a garrison commander to tell him how to do his job. At 15, one Charles Algernon Parsons was busy inventing the precursor to the modern automobile. At 16, Julius Caesar was heading his family after his father’s death. History is littered with individuals accomplishing remarkable “adult” things all below the age most countries would today say that they were sufficiently mature enough to be considered an adult. Which, actually, a lot of bizarre history starts to make a lot more sense when you consider how many teenage boys were running things, even in more relatively modern times in British Parliament where that totally was a thing sometimes. But in any event, unsurprisingly, for parts of history, the issue of when someone was ready to take over various adult activities largely fell to their family, not the government, to decide. And this did include with marriages too, accounting for some of the wiggle room as previously discussed.
Nevertheless, while maturity levels vary greatly from person to person and the people who know the individual best may be better able to determine things for everyday activities, a number that generally fits everyone is often needed to set certain communal laws. Thus, the age when a person is considered sufficiently able to manage these adult activities, and answer for others, is typically set by civil policy makers within a nation, and in certain cases, sometimes by each individual state within a country. For example, in California the age of consent is set at 18, a number largely proliferated by Hollywood and thus often considered the set age of consent in the United States. However, most states actually set it lower, sometimes significantly so, and in many cases without restriction on age gap between the individuals after that cutoff; the important thing is simply consent.
Going back to why specifically 18, at least in the United States, this used to be 21, but seemingly was at least partially reduced because that’s the age when most people graduated high school, and the majority of people in the United States attended such a public institution when the switch was made. As for why the age was changed at all, the reasons behind this include massive improvements in public education since the 21 number was originally set, recognition that 18 year olds were able to enter into legally binding contracts, get married, have children, and could even be forcibly drafted. This latter point was critical to the change as 18 year old males at the time of the switch could be forced to fight in a war, but had no voting say in whether their country went to war in the first place. This was a particularly hot topic in the Vietnam War era where many youth strongly opposed the war and those politicians who felt likewise were keen on getting those young people the ability to vote.
Of course, today we know that the human brain doesn’t finish fully developing until closer to one’s mid-20s and even potentially into the 30s. (Similar to the earlier onset of puberty, the female brain typically finishes its development about two years before the male.) In fact, the frontal lobe, which is extremely important in our decision making, among other things including being critical for appreciating future consequences to current actions and inhibiting impulses, isn’t finished developing until many years after pretty much every culture in the world considers you an adult. Nevertheless, for incredibly arbitrary reasons most societies consider people adults around 18, and because of that, the age of consent and when it’s acceptable to get frisky with other adults, is also usually set around the ballpark of then. Although, if getting it on with someone of your own age as a teen, most nations, in order to avoid locking up their teens, have exemptions in the laws if the age gap isn’t too big.
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