Dear Matt:

In my college days it was "common knowledge" that a sharp rap on a cold beer would "reinfuse" the carbonation and prevent the foam and spray when the can was opened. Any truth to this? Will the rap somehow return that can toward the condition of a similar but unagitated can?

Dennis, Ocean Beach

Here's another public service announcement in my continuing campaign to wipe out common knowledge, proven to be the cause of 40 percent of today's mayhem and gum disease. Nothing you can do will moosh carbonation back into a brew. Bubbly beverages are very unstable, and carbonation wants only one thing: freedom. Any jostle, tap, thump, rattle, tip, spill, or shake gives it the excuse it needs. Unopened, the can contains enough pressure to keep the carbon dioxide trapped in suspension. Pop the top and it's all liberated. That rap with the class ring soothed only the rapper, not the rappee.

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