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Coffee Gone and Happily Forgotten
Lately I have come to realize I am simply not the man I used to be.
What? Excuse me? No, not like THAT. And shame on you for thinking such a thing. Sheesh. Get your mind out of the gutter, Aunt Elsie.
No, I am talking about coffee. I used to be a two- to three-pot a day man, and now I can barely stand the stuff. It still smells wonderful but the thought of drinking it makes my stomach flip. I think it’s trying to hide behind my liver.
I’ve tried to figure out what happened. I can’t recall any single day when I overdosed on coffee. At two to three pots a day, I overdosed EVERY single day.
Why was I drinking so much coffee? Well, for one thing, I really liked it. A lot. Black, no sugar. Preferably with a doughnut or 12.
For another, I come from a long line of coffee drinkers, and I am talking heavyweight class. My Mom and her sisters could drain one of those 10-gallon diner coffee urns, the kind that look like upended locomotive boilers, in a single Sunday afternoon. And then they’d have more after supper.
This wasn’t weenie coffee, either. This was Northern Indiana farm coffee, black as tar and about as thick, served at a temperature somewhere between boiling and lava. This was coffee to put hair on your chest, an unfortunate side effect for some members of the family (see above under “Mom and her sisters.”)
Coffee was a rite of passage, an entry into adulthood as significant as getting your driver’s license or smoking in front of your parents (thus making you an “official” smoker instead of an amateur trying to look cool at the Dairy Queen.)
I started drinking coffee when I entered high school, in part because (a.) I thought I was far more grown-up than I actually was, and (b.) the school bus came at 6:10 a.m. and I probably wouldn’t have gotten upright without a large blast of Bokar blend.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was foreshadowing the mornings of my adult life, when I always seemed to work the early shift. For years, I had to wake up at 3:30 every morning in order to be at work by 4:30. Coffee then was no mere a beverage. Coffee kept me employed.
But as I reached a certain age, everything went sour. Really. That is the overwhelming taste I get from coffee these days (not to mention the sensation I get in my stomach). The designer coffees and coffee shop coffees seem especially sour to me. I’m told the taste is actually “winey.” Could be, because I taste that stuff and I get awfully whiney myself.
I tried going back to the old standbys, the grocery store coffees, and that didn’t work either. They all tasted like a mouthful of wet ash. Or at least, what I have always imagined a mouthful of wet ash would taste like.
So where does this leave me? It leaves me without coffee and frankly, not all that upset about it. As I said, I’m not the man I used to be.
The man I used to be loved coffee. The man I am today prefers tea.
Two to three pots a day.
No doughnuts, though.
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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