It’s the week after St. Patty’s Day, which means I’m drinking loads of coffee. I wish I could say it’s because of a massive hangover, but it’s actually my official time to work on my tax return, and even Turbo Tax needs extra turbo in my life. In fact, I don’t think I can possibly drink enough coffee this week. Worksheets, publications, decimals…it’s all so incredibly boring. This is why accountants are often called bean counters, because they probably munch on coffee beans all day just to stay awake, God love ’em.

I admit though, it’s not just this week when coffee becomes a food group for me. But it is definitely the time when it’s consumed the most, as if it were a holiday. Now that I think of it, Columbia should have a patron saint and we should celebrate him on a special day, similar to St. Patrick’s Day only people would drink coffee all day and wear black and cream clothing. There could be a parade featuring donkeys, inflatable thermoses, alert truckers, maybe some of those ornery Starbucks baristas who yell your name when your order’s ready even though you’re standing two feet away and nobody else is in the store.

My love for coffee may be another sign of aging. That revelation occurred to me a few months ago when I was in Indianapolis. I was at the apartment where the comics stay, and before going to bed one night, I set the timer on the coffee maker so it would brew automatically in the morning. Normal enough, but then I realized that I was genuinely excited about it. The anticipation of having coffee in the morning was as exhilarating as actually drinking it. When I was in college, I would get excited at the thought of drinking twenty beers at happy hour. Now I’m pumped at the thought of sipping hot joe while reading the morning Times. When the hell was that switch flipped in my system? Is that natural like when balls drop? Or is it a conditioned response that occurs after looking at past receipts of gigantic bar tabs? Whatever the reason, I now officially consume more caffeine than alcohol. That’s not an apology of guilt either. It’s a statement of pride.

Yes, yes, yes…I know about the health concerns, and truthfully, if you pay attention you’ll see that “experts” tend to go back and forth on that stuff. Some doctors say one bad thing, then some other guys come back with something positive, like “coffee helps office productivity” or “chicks dig guys with osteoporosis”. I really don’t care about the warnings of caffeine consumption. I love coffee and I’m going to keep drinking it. And until they come up with a study that finds second hand coffee fumes are harmful to fetuses and bystander restaurant patrons, I’m going to continue downing it.

Recently, I heard Peyton Manning promote the new Gatorade A.M., which is a performance-boosting, fruit-flavored beverage that apparently serves as a good source of “pep” in the morning. In his ad, he says that coffee is the worst thing to drink in the morning because it isn’t a natural way to wake up your brain. Okay, fine. I’ll remember that the next time I play in the Super Bowl. Until that day comes, I’ll be a part of the comic community. You know, comics…those people in the entertainment industry who, after a show, have never asked each other, “Hey, you guys want to go hang out at the diner and grab some Gatorade?”

Furthermore, anything with the name “Gatorade” in it conjures up images of exercise. And “A.M.” of course implies morning time. Morning exercise isn’t a Reese’s peanut butter/chocolate combination that makes sense. Rather, it’s more along the lines of acids and bases to most people including myself. Morning time is sweet delicious coffee time. Sipping hot joe in the morning and reading the paper is much more enjoyable than running laps for thirty minutes only to reward yourself with a mango smoothie. Why not just wake up at 6 o’clock, have somebody punch you in the face a few times, then go pick some daisies before heading to the office?

Let me clarify. I work out fairly often, so I’m not opposed to it, but it’s something that’s done later in the day. Starting my day with exercise would be like answering my phone with “Sure, that’s a great story. Please tell me more.” Hearing the caller’s reaction would remind me of what I would say when offered the chance to work out after just waking up…which would be, “What the hell are you talking about?”

Sure, Peyton is a great athlete, but so was Joe DiMaggio. Joltin’ Joe hit safely in 56 straight games, married Marilyn Monroe, became a Simon and Garfunkel song lyric, and most importantly, never played for the University of the Suck-it Vols. Oh yeah, and he promoted Mr. Coffee. His entire bio is a colossal truckload of Americana. So I’m going to side with his product endorsement.

Peyton truly thinks we shouldn’t drink coffee in the morning. So basically he’s saying that everything Joe DiMaggio stood for is wrong. Is that what we want? If this new ad campaign succeeds in changing minds, it will disrupt the cosmos and universal peace. And then what? Christmas in July? Celery for dessert? Palestinian/Israel peace? Okay, that last one would be nice. Maybe we should get them to negotiate over coffee. After all, if it can get me through tax season, anything is possible.

Categories: Columns