My Love Affair With Joe
Guys, I ask you . . .
The IMPORTANCE of Coffee
DO NOT BE ALARMED
this hub is NOT about legendary boxer, "The Brown Bomber," Joe Louis. "The Yankee Clipper," Joe DiMagio. 70's Pop singer, Joe "Games People Play" South. Singer Joe Williams. Actress Jo Beth Williams. But "Joe." Java. The love of my life. Coffee. That's right, ladies and gentleman of this United States and Canada. Coffee. Step right up. Coffee's only a dime. Now it's five bucks a pop at your nearest Starbucks. But we coffee sluggers still love it. No, we have this ever-burning passion for coffee.
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH "JOE"
started at age six. That's right, folks. Six. I had watched my dad drink coffee every morning at breakfast. And when he returned home from work. He loved it. I remember how my mouth watered for just a sip of this "black nectar" coffee, but he denied me the pleasure. Then I began begging for a sip. Daddy was not a hard-hearted man. He agreed to let me have a half-cup of Luzianne coffee but only if I put sugar in it. At the time this was a good thing. But soon I grew sick of sugar. I longed for the real coffee taste I had been craving. One Sunday morning at breakfast when he wasn't looking, I pretended to put sugar in my coffee and with the first sip, it was "passion at fist sip," for "Joe" and me. I've never been the same.
THROUGHOUT MY SCHOOL YEARS
from grade school through high school, my morning ritual included coffee. Two cups. Black. No puny, spineless Sugar Pops or Raisin Bran with sweet milk. It was coffee for me. Nothing but coffee. And at school from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon, I was in pure torture wanting my "coffee fix." Teachers words sounded like vintage tube radio static to my ears. I saw their lips move, but their words were so distorted that I couldn't capture what they were talking about. All I wanted was coffee. Instead of writing some pretty girl classmate's name on my notebook, I was drawing the Folger's coffee logo. Or a man drinking a huge, steaming cup of black coffee. I soon learned that simulated coffee drinking in artwork didn't work for me like the real thing. I soon gave up. I started thinking-up ways for me to bootleg coffee into school. But I was too nervous. Scared. I could get expelled for a sin like this. So I chose to endure and suffer.
AND EVEN WHEN I GRADUATED
from high school and went to work in a factory in my hometown, it was coffee for me in the mornings before I left for work. And man oh man, this place I worked had a break room with a coffee machine. What a blessing. I would literally dream of break time from the time I cranked my car to leave for work. Even while driving with a Styrofoam cup of coffee to drink on the way to work. And from seven a.m. until ten a.m., break time. I would streak to the break room like a scared squirrel running across a highway. Just to insert my quarter into the lovely imitation aluminum machine and watch my black coffee stream into those small disposable paper cups. What a treat. Black coffee. Telling lies with my work friends. And going back to work for more dreaming of more coffee at lunch. But after a while, I noticed that no one in my department loved coffee as much as I did. I thought that maybe these guys didn't realize how good coffee really was.
I would sneak by the break room and grab a cup of coffee for drinking on the way home. Then before supper, I would down at least three cups of coffee. Another cup or two with my meal and a few more cups before I hit the sack. And yes, if you are wondering, I slept like a log. And no, I did not dream of lovely Colombian girls with low-cut blouses bringing me cups of coffee. They wore summer dresses and pretty hats for fashion effect, thank you very much.
When I left the world of factories and went into the newspaper industry where I spent 23 years, I found out quick, according to my first publisher, a mister Roger Quinn, a Gadsden, Alabama native and now publisher of the Gadsden Times, a huge, powerful daily newspaper, "people in this business live on coffee." That was the first words he said to me in my interview with him in September, 1975. It was the proverbial "music to my ears." My coworkers and I would drink at least three pots of coffee a day. Five days a week. More if we were working on a special section for the paper. And when I got home from work, I had more coffee. Okay. I was addicted. But in the early 70's, "coffee addiction" was a non-event. Never breathed in public. Nor broadcast on any national news show on any television network. Those were the days, my friends.
HERE ARE SOME OLD COFFEE MYTHS THAT
I WOULD LOVE TO DEBUNK FOR YOU:
- Coffee is not the cause of crime. This was told to me by someone who thought that coffee-drinking was a sin. I never got his name. Or his "righteous" black and white religious brochure he was trying to hand to me.
- Coffee will not stunt your growth. Hey, I weighed 165 pounds in sixth grade. I had the body of a Green Bay Packers defensive end. And still drank coffee at home. Stunt my growth? Seriously?
- Coffee will wreck your nerves. Stress, alcohol and drug abuse, and losing sleep will wreck your nerves, not coffee. I know. I used to drink coffee and drive my car in down pours and lightning storms. Without as much as a bobble on the road.
- Coffee will stain your teeth. That's why God created Colgate toothpaste. But if you really want something that will stain your pretty white teeth, try smoking cigarettes. But I DO NOT recommend doing this for smoking cigarettes will either kill you or give you a terrible disease.
- Coffee will "wire you." Meaning give you that extra-boost of energy. Again, I do not know what this means. Yes, I've heard people say this on television and in Anti-Coffee Protests, but not in my personal life. I was always a slow, methodical worker. Not a speeding bullet. I am still a slow, methodical worker. And still drinking coffee.
WHAT COFFEE DRINKING
CAN DO FOR YOU:
- Break the Ice. When you are introduced to a new person at work. Offer them a cup of coffee. Although they are a sworn water drinker, the gesture of offering them a cup of coffee is a recognized, world-wide sign of friendliness.
- Calm you down. This is true. It has calmed me down a lot over the years when I was meeting new ad clients or important politicians for a story. It helped both the new people and myself to calm our nerves and just enjoy a talk together.
- Open doors for you. Now sometimes in the course of work or social interaction, we can be on the outside of a circle of friends just by not participating in a certain action such as having coffee with those who invite us to their house for a get-together. Sure, I say. Have that cup of coffee and watch the look of acceptance form on your hostess' face. Now if you are not a coffee drinker, do not be sanctimonious and bellow, "Noooo, you barbarian! I only drink water! I am a health nut!" Talk about a turn-off. And getting to go home early. This behavior will surely do it for you.
- Let you appreciate. The super-peaceful feeling of being sober. You can observe people at this same get-together slugging down beer, vodka twists, whiskey straight and soon, they will be drunk. You will not. You will make points with people by being a "designated driver," and possibly save lives. All because you chose to love coffee.
WHAT COFFEE DRINKING
WON'T DO FOR YOU:
- Make you handsome. Sorry, guys and gals. This is one thing coffee cannot do.
- Make you wealthy. Unless you buy stock in a major coffee company, just loving to drink coffee will not put money in your pockets.
- Make you attractive to the opposite sex. Get real, people. Even alcohol cannot do that unless the person of the opposite sex loves the effects of booze.
- Friendly to vicious dogs. No, vicious dogs are not a respecter of people. They can bite coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers as well as "booze hounds" and lay down and sleep like a baby.
- Get you a promotion. Just because your boss offers you a cup of coffee in his office in the middle of the workday, do not read anything into this move. It may just be a friendly way of testing you to see if you are a dedicated company person. But by all means, do take your boss up on that cup of fresh coffee. My rule of thumb is: NEVER TURN DOWN A KISS FROM A PRETTY LADY OR A CUP OF FRESH COFFEE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Now that I have educated you on coffee, and my love for this perfect drink, you will look at companies like Starbucks, Maxwell House, Folger's and Colombian coffee differently. That was my goal. To get people, even veteran coffee drinkers to take a more sensitive and deeper look at that cup of coffee in their hands. And appreciate the hard work (of Juan Valdez and his trusty donkey) and others just to provide you and with our "drink of choice": Coffee.
And all during the time of reading this hub you thought it was merely a comedy story. You must have read this story without a cup of coffee in your hand.
See how much pleasure you have missed?