The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Time for a cuppa?

I drink coffee on a daily basis. Most Americans do. In fact, most who drink coffee do so on a daily basis and to excess. My usual daily intake is 1 to 2 cups in the morning. That's it. I will occasionally have coffee after dinner when we eat out but, more often than not, don't.

I was not always this way. I used to drink it by the gallon.

I had my first cup of coffee, that I recall, when I was about 8. I am sure my mother let me taste it from time to time much earlier than that. My mother drank it with milk and sugar, as she drank her tea. So that is how I thought it was supposed to be. Enough milk to make it blonde and two teaspoons of sugar. I would have said "cream and sugar" but we never had cream in our house. The only time it was with cream and sugar was at restaurants. But even though I first drank coffee at 8 years old, I didn't drink it a lot until I was in my early to mid-teens. That was when I began "hanging out" at the bowling alley and the Mr. Donut.

Mr. Donut was a lot like the early Dunkin' Donuts. It was primarily a bakery that had a few cramped booths and a lot of counter space. Not so strangely, a lot of cops also dropped into Mr. Donut's. They watched us, we watched them, humorous insults were traded, but it was mostly a "neutral zone" where both sides could relax. Yeah, we each viewed the other as "the enemy".

It wasn't until I was in the Navy and living aboard ship that I began to drop the extras from my coffee. After a ship has been to sea for about 3 days, the fresh milk is used up. I could put in the powdered milk concoction that followed but I hated that stuff. I also had been using less and less sugar. For some reason, I was getting tired of the sweet taste of things. (As a child, I would have put sugar on my Frosted Flakes if no one was watching.) By the time we headed out for my first WesPac (trip to the lovely waters off Vietnam and other points of interest), I was drinking my coffee "naked"; no milk/cream and no sugar. But I was drinking more of it.

A lot more. It was a constant, as it seemed to be for most sailors. There was always coffee available on the mess deck. And there were few places you couldn't bring a cup of it with you. I learned to climb ladders, up or down, with a full cup of coffee. Since I was drinking so much coffee, the caffeine no longer had any real effect on me. I could wake up, go on watch and drink 5 or six cups in 4 hours and then go right back to sleep after being relieved. And we made our coffee strong in the Navy.

I kept up that habit after leaving the Navy. 12 or more cups a day, easily. When I began working night shift, I drank it all night long.

And then a strange thing happened. I would sleep in on my days off and wake up with a massive headache. The headache would disappear about the middle of my second cup of coffee. Being a clever and observant person, I caught on to the pattern after several weeks. Right after I read an article somewhere about something called "caffeine withdrawal."

I began to cut back. First, I stopped drinking coffee after 4 AM while at work. Then I cut that back to 2 cups all before 2 AM.

Now? Now, as I said, I drink one to two cups a day. But I love the smell of coffee brewing, I love the first sip. There is nothing else short of sex that is better.

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