Lean, Mean Caffeine

February 1, 2024
3 mins read


Inflatable snowmen and wise men lie sprawled across a yard, flat plastic casualties still awaiting the coroner. To tackle the cold, soggy cleanup, do the owners need more caffeine? Or less? Maybe the deflated carnage signals “We’re busy, dammit, pray for snow!” People are such weirdos… oh wait, I’m still driving around with rear window decor of a skull in a Santa hat.
Several people wrote me about a man in Walmart who set down his 32 oz. coffee mug to pay for a Valentine card and Earl Grey tea, along with a small ceramic pot. He complained it didn’t look like an American teapot, must be foreign crap with its goofy name: Neti Pot. Coffee-high or not, he deserves a roaring “GOOD JOB!!” for resisting the display of shriveling roses paired with a red windshield scraper. Full disclosure: Turns out, those “several people” were just my whiplashed thoughts during caffeine’s “crack the whip.” Mea culpa.
Long ago I sent a Valentine plant to my “beau” at IBM with a note, “Roses are red, daisies are amber. Will you still love me? I’m due in September.” We both knew it wasn’t true but in hindsight the joke was a “Hail Mary” bid for attention in a doomed relationship. Pots of demon coffee fueled me in endless laps of denial bordered by warning flags I mistook for balloons. Although drinking less now, I remain wildly grateful I can always blame coffee for myopic judgment and, well, pretty much anything.
Mental health AI is called “Woebot,” which ironically smacks of a poor outcome, with biases baked in. Rest easy, kids, I guarantee the content here is always half-baked. Welcome to DILLIGS, aka “Does It Look Like I Give a Sh*t!?”

QUESTION: How different are coffee and tea?
DILLIGS: Per serving, coffee usually packs a “git ‘er done” punch that’s willing to jump the curb and do its own stunts. Coffee and smokes are soulmates personified by the Marlboro Man. Hello, stereotypes! This dessicated PR cowboy cleans his own tobacco-grimed teeth with the razor-edge lid of a metal coffee can. No decaf, bucko, that’s for eunuchs. Black tea, however, calls to mind prissy Brits with tiny cups and raised pinkies. They rarely blurt “You idiot!” Instead, through pursed lips they’ll chirp, “I daresay a rather more thoughtful examination might avert the inevitable irksome sequellae.” And green tea? Save your money and suck grass. Oddly, the tea is a long-running hit with essential workers, such as cake decorators and 16th century German executioners.

QUESTION: How much coffee is too much?
DILLIGS: Watch for: 1) Stabbing the ATM slot with a gift card; 2) No dogs, yet car windows smeared with fresh slobber; and 3) Unhinged babble about I dunno advances in brain circuitry maps and shenanigans in the hippocampus that ain’t right could be amygdala why do movie actors stare at a mirror while brushing their teeth no one does that and a recipe using anemone larva…. thanks, hon, I’d love another cup.

QUESTION: Are there other uses for tea?
DILLIGS: I can’t vouch for any of the online suggestions. But, golly! It’s fabulous for goosing the shine on lobotomy needles. Don’t ask me how I know.

QUESTION: Are the herbal teas really tea?
DILLIGS: Absolutely! And Big Foot lives in Utah with eight wives and their brood of fuzzy footlings. Herbal tea is like a middle school substitute teacher, well- meaning but declawed and missing teeth. I do keep a couple of herbals on hand to stoke my self-delusion about healthy choices, and to tap the brakes on inhaling more coffee. Obviously, many coffee lovers also adore sleep, making this whole situation a seriously tangled up, high-maintenance love triangle. Bless me, Father, I have sinned. Coffee is my last drug and I won’t quit! What would I blame for everyday drama? Myself?? Heck! Double heck!! Without a scapegoat my self-esteem can only take so many hits in a day.
Still, there may come a time when geezers like me are banned from all senior Bingo games due to caffeine overdose and tourniquet-level brawls. Because protest marches take energy, we’ll simply rustle up our best whiny pout. And when withdrawal is over, I say we grease our walker wheels before each game, then sneak like li’l mousies into the church kitchen. And snort a line of Postum.

Since 1995 have written for numerous publications. Two previous humor columns: POSING AS NORMAL, and THE VILLAGE IDIOM. Won a few contests. No fame, no big money, but having a blast.

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