As many of you know, I love drinking coffee. Earlier this year, I visited a coffee beanery in Hawaii and felt like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams… “Is this Heaven?” Not quite Heaven, but I don’t think it’s purely coincidence that after someone is cremated, the ashes are placed in the same thing coffee is put in…an urn. So if you think about it, coffee breaks are only pit stops on our journey to the big coffee feast waiting for us in the Paradise that is the after life. Nice and inspiring, huh?

I have written about this coffee adoration before (“Hot Cup of American Icon” in my column archives). But I was forced to revisit the issue after another comic and coffee fan in New York City challenged me to a head-to-head joke off, with all the jokes being about coffee. I accepted, which led me to contemplate even more why I cherish the java. Furthermore, thanks to the challenge, all of my coffee over the next few weeks can be considered a tax write-off in the name of research. Pretty sweet, huh? Now I just hope someone challenges me to write jokes about strippers.

First, let me remind you that this has been one really hot summer. Even ants are deliberately running under kids’ magnifying glasses just to get it over with. But I still drink my coffee hot. Just to see what it was like, I tried drinking a glass of iced coffee in July, and I hated it. I honestly felt like with every sip, I was punching Jesus in the face. It’s just a horrific thing to do to something so loving and giving. Coffee deserves to be hot when it’s consumed. At all times. Okay, with one exception. The only time that iced coffee would be acceptable would be if it came in little paper Dixie cups that I could grab while running a marathon. That’s it. And even then, I wouldn’t be completely comfortable with the idea.

Not only does it taste better when it’s hot, but you can enjoy it longer. Furthermore, when it’s piping hot, you can sip on it in public and make that slurping sound. That’s the caffeinated equivalent of second-hand smoke. A bit annoying to non-coffee drinkers, but to us in the coffee know, it’s like flashing a gang sign. It’s an audible street sign that tells people you’re serious about the coffee business, and it warns iced coffee drinkers that they’re treading on the wrong turf.

Some people think it’s an unsafe obsession. Doctors claim that too much coffee can lead to things like osteoporosis and other serious medical myths. To those MDs, I simply have this rebuttal…shut up.

Okay, fine…I’ll admit that too much coffee could be bad in the long run, but doctors who preach this are nothing but hypocrites. Have you ever seen the workload that’s required to get through med school? They have to cram, study, intern, and cram some more. If they accomplished all that without lots of coffee, then I don’t trust them as competent, knowledgeable doctors. If a doctor claims to have gone through the rigors of med school without coffee, he better be half cyborg or have a second, generator brain in a hand basket, because I don’t think it’s humanly possible or entirely safe for patients.

Is coffee addictive? Absolutely. If I try to go without it, I get headaches that feel like irritable hobbits are inside my skull poking the back of my eyeballs with hot irons. If I choose to quell the pain without giving in to the coffee urge, I have to try and fool my brain. But it never works. My brain is smart. Giving my brain Advil for caffeine withdrawal pain is like giving a dog a heartworm pill…I have to disguise it by wrapping it in a piece of coffee cake. Then I have to get someone to rub my throat to make sure I swallow it. Never works. The headache will persist. You may be asking, “What about decaf?”, and again, I would draw the analogy of punching God in the face. Some things just shouldn’t be done. Besides, I’ve tried but it’s impossible to fool my brain into thinking decaf is real. It’s like giving Lindsay Lohan an O’Douls. She’ll know you’re tricking her, and then she’ll get angry and try to poke out your eyeballs with hot irons. She’s crazy.

I think I did fool my brain, however. I fooled it into thinking that coffee couldn’t get better. Then, I had to make a long road trip, and a very good friend suggested I try coffee with a shot of espresso added to it. I did try it, and sweet land of liberty, it was amazing! Espresso shots simply illustrate the wonder and awe-inspiring power coffee wields. If we can find a way to condense coffee into tiny shots, I truly believe that we can also use it to power cars and small villages. Can you imagine how much production and good will would increase around the globe? Third-world countries would praise us. We would have an alternative fuel source. And world peace would abound!! But most importantly, everyone would be wide awake for days to enjoy it.

I have to go now. Some people just slurped the coffee drinker gang sign, so I feel compelled to go bond with them. I bet they’re really smart doctors.

Categories: Columns