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Coffee And Caffeine: A Duel To The Death
by Marjorie Dorfman

What would happen if there was no coffee to wake us in the morning? As a caffeine addict myself, I would not be a very happy camper. How about you?

I once heard it said that we can thank the Arab culture for the invention of coffee. I did and I do almost every day. Apparently, it was invented long ago so that they could stay awake for their late night and early morning prayer sessions. I don’t know about late nights, but early mornings have always been a significant part of my world and I don’t know if that would be the case without coffee. How DO people wake up without it? (I need two big cups; one for each eye and then another for my mind’s eye, wherever that is.) I only drink it in the morning, but my guess is that my daily caffeine consumption is pretty high. Still, I love it and refuse to contemplate life and its trials without it.

I feel entitled. I’ve given up most of the dangerous and unhealthy things in my life; my ex-husband and cigarettes, just to mention a few. Why should I give up coffee? Truth be told, there are probably a hundred reasons, but they all fall on deaf, caffeine-sodden ears. I’m an addict and I’m proud. Caffeine makes me more fun to be around (not like most of those other addictions that slur your words or make you think you can fly across tall buildings in a single bound).

Last year I read about a study conducted by NASA involving spiders and the affects of marijuana, Benzedrine (speed) and caffeine on their web-making capabilities. It seems the webs they generally weave whether or not practicing to deceive were erratic under the influence of marijuana, incomplete with Benzedrine and could not be woven AT ALL when caffeine was introduced into their systems. This probably should scare me as much as anybody. If I were a spider, I’m sure it would.

So what can we non-arachnids do to keep caffeine in our lives? It’s simple. Keep drinking coffee, tea, hot cocoa, Coca-Cola, instant coffee and expresso and don’t read any of these reports I’m telling you about. If you must be in the know, then take the following steps to insure your mental peace:

1. If you wear glasses, don’t wear them while reading the reports.
2. If you don’t wear glasses, borrow someone else’s and then read about the latest developments.
3. If you are a scientist, vow to never participate in any of these studies and try to find a life instead. Help humanity!
4. If you are not a scientist, volunteer and participate. Your non-knowledge can only help to postpone significant research on the topic.
5. Do not visit the library or listen to the news. Ever! You can watch television, but limit yourself to Nick At Night and the History Channel. The radio is out. Period.
6. Stay away from well-informed and well-meaning people. They can only cause you pain.

Truth be told once again, I really don’t know any answers. I do know that I don’t like the questions and that’s as good an ending point as any. According to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter of January, 1999, one cup of drip or brewed coffee is equal to 80 to 175 milligrams of caffeine. My daily dose is at least 240mgs. What does this mean in terms of my cosmic place in the universe? I have no idea. I still have to pay my taxes and I can’t avoid dying some day. When I go, please prepare me for the after-life the way the Egyptians fortified their mighty pharaohs. Bury me with all my worldly goods and don’t forget the coffee maker, milk and sugar and a few pounds of Italian Roast (whole bean, if you please!)

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Copyright 2004