Tuesday, February 9, 2016


How coffee became a big deal... to me

    When I was a kid, I occasionally did stuff to try to stand out. When you’re the fifth of seven kids, it’s not easy to stand out… in a positive way. It was a cinch I would get noticed in a bad way.

There were at least 100 reasons for getting a spanking at our house. There would’ve been a lot more than that, but we weren’t that creative. I completed 98 of the 100. I got way more than 98 spankings, though, because I duplicated many of the bad things.. The only two I missed were “knocking the bathroom sink off the wall” and “knocking the TV over.”

It would’ve been a lot better to stand out for excelling in some area, but I never managed. I was an athlete, but not nearly as good as my big brother Dennis. I wasn’t dumb, but no one ever had reason to call me smart. I couldn’t draw; I was lousy at making things; I was horrible at marbles; and I never could look good, even when I really tried. 

The point I’ve made here is that I never received any worthwhile praise, nor did anyone in the family expect me to. Then it hit me. Bonk! There was one thing I could do that none of the kids but Larry ever did. Larry was about 19 at the time. So it was no big deal that he drank coffee. But, if one of the younger kids liked coffee he or she was bound to be noticed.

So when Mom made a cup of Maxwell House instant coffee, I started asking her to make me a cup.  It tasted absolutely horrible, but I never let on. Mom knew I hated the stuff. She was just playing along. When I walked through the kitchen Mom would occasionally say in front of the rest of the family, “Mark, would you like a cup of coffee?” It’s stupid as all get out, but when she did that I always felt special.

I gave up coffee at a young age, but I picked it up again when I was working my way through college. Every morning at the factory where I worked, everybody would get some coffee, and sit in a circle until the foreman stood up. This was percolated coffee and I acquired a taste.

Today, I’m somewhat of a coffee aficionado. With wine, I couldn’t tell you anything. Couldn’t tell you the bouquet or the year or which side of the hill the grapes were grown on. With coffee I can’t tell you that stuff either, but I can tell you what’s bitter, what’s weak, what’s smooth, what’s decaffeinated and what’s got a nutty taste. I am so proud of that last one.

I have used practically every brewing method known to mankind. As mentioned, I started with instant; graduated to percolated; then onto drip; experimented with an espresso machine; then discovered a French press; and recently moved on to a Keurig.

I’ve invested some serious coin on coffee over the years. Right now, I’m here to tell you there is no better coffee than what you get from a Dunkin Donut K-cup. It’s the best, Jerry. In fact, it’s the thing that has put me into a very unpleasant situation. And it’s the reason I led you down this historical coffee trail.

What I’m going to tell you would make 95 percent of the people on this planet want to slap me. You see, I’ve been buying Dunkin Donut K-cups in bulk at Sams. I can get 54 cups for 65 cents each. That’s so much more expensive than just buying the equivalent of 54 cups worth of coffee in a coffee bag. 

But, here’s the rest of the story. I had a cup of a well known brand over at Tracy’s house and I thought it was as good as Dunkin’s.  On my next Sam’s trip I bought 100 K-cups of the stuff at 50 cents a cup. That’s, like cheaper than Dunkin. Maybe Tracy has better water, or maybe it was his milk-frothing machine, but when I made it at home, it was way more bitter. I made a cup for Jill and she called it “vile.” Acted as if it was my fault.

I’ve been nursing on that bad coffee for weeks. I’m only half way through the stuff. Kay says I have to finish it all before I can buy a case of Dunkin. Says I spend too much on coffee products. Don’t get me wrong, she wouldn’t kill me… I don’t think, But wives have over 4568 things they can do to make a husband’s life miserable. Kay has used eight of them with great success.

So, anyone visiting my house is going to have to drink a cup or two of coffee. I don’t care if you hate coffee. Hey, I’m not too fond of what I’ve been drinking of late. This coffee has got to get consumed. – See what I mean about 95 percent of the world’s population wanting to slap me? The world keeps turning. The wars on hunger, drugs and terrorism continue. And Mark is upset that he has 50 cups of sub-par coffee to drink. I don’t really think I’d be taking it this badly if I was drinking better coffee.

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