Out of Left Field: The Power of Coffee

Some people wake in the morning immediately ready to confront any obstacle they encounter. They spring out of bed, take a deep breath and grin as if they can foretell the day is going to be special. They seemingly siphon energy and positive vibes from the morning sun itself, regardless if the sun is shining bright or hidden from view from gloomy cloud cover. If there is anything I’ve learned from these fascinating individuals it’s that...they simply cannot be trusted. Something’s not right. Where did that enthusiasm come from? For the rest of us, nothing can be accomplished without the proper daily instigator:


If you had any form of success yesterday, it was likely driven by coffee. Surgeons, computer programmers, engineers, morning talk show hosts -- all are sufficiently fueled with a joltin’ cup of joe before starting their day. Business leaders closing billion-dollar deals wouldn’t have so much as tied their shoes without the power of coffee. In fact, most dress shoes don’t even have laces because people head to work before the caffeine kicks in (and work typically requires shoes).

Have you ever tried to push open a door that’s supposed to be pulled? Even though there is a sign in bold letters instructing you to “PULL”? Then when you do finally pull in frustration, the door bangs against your outstretched foot, slams shut again and causes you to say words that aren’t allowed on network television? Of course you have. But has this common scenario ever occurred after adequately caffeinating for the day? Of course not. The sign should read, “DRINK COFFEE, THEN ATTEMPT TO OPEN DOOR.”

American productivity has been fueled by Java since The Boston Tea Party. When tea was king, our floundering nation didn’t have enough energy to produce or create anything useful whatsoever. We hadn’t even invented the cracker yet (1792). But after this historic event, consuming coffee (instead of tea) was considered a patriotic gesture. This new caffeine catalyst propelled an onslaught of national productivity. Shortly thereafter, our freshly stimulated minds conceived the threshing machine, telegraph and cotton gin. Still buzzed today, we’ve moved on to curved TVs, robot vacuums and Bluetooth waterproof speakers shaped like cats. We’re exhibiting an embarrassment of vitality, blessed by the magical influence of coffee.

The average American spends about $1,100 per year on coffee. You’re probably thinking, no fair - did they have coupons or something? It seems like a reasonable price to pay for the energy to do things. Coffee is accessible to everyone - even the health-conscious. In its natural state, our morning hug in a mug has only one calorie per serving. Take that, rice cake! Even smelling bacon costs 7 calories. No need to fact-check that. I’m pretty sure it’s accurate.

Of course, coffee was available well before America adopted it as its favorite beverage. Legend has it that coffee was discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder in the ninth century. He noticed his herd nibbling berries from an unfamiliar plant, then started acting strange and extra-energized. (Although, how can one really tell if your goats are acting weird? They always seem a bit bizarre -- crawling all over, eating everything in sight, doing yoga, etc.). The herder collaborated with a local monk who made a liquid concoction from the suspicious berries. They consumed the drink then stayed up all night studying for their Psychology 101 semester final and were still able to drive their kids to soccer practice the next morning.

Without coffee, productivity wanes. The saddest sound in the world is the harsh, dry gasp of an empty pump-action coffee carafe. Whenever that sound is heard, the Dow Jones Industrial Average loses a point. Yes, there are the baffling few who can function at acceptable levels of competency without coffee. I’m not sure how...or why they do it. I’m not suggesting those folks are WEIRD for not drinking coffee. (Although, I do believe they are more likely to own a unicycle than the rest of humanity.) But imagine what that anomalous minority would be capable of properly caffeinated! There are a myriad of unresolved problems waiting to be conquered - world hunger... climate change... figuring out how the heck you’re supposed to de-seed a pomegranate. The enlightened know that coffee is the energizing force necessary to solve the world’s complex problems. Coffee is good. Coffee is life. We wouldn’t trade our coffee for all the tea in China. We’d probably just dump it in the harbor anyway.




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