Friday, April 19, 2024

The daily grind

By Tony Deyal

“The wife said we needed a new coffee maker.  So, I got one. Her name is Jill.  The wife was not amused.”  I found this post by my friend Michael to be amusing, especially since Jill was a scantily clad, well-endowed, buxom blonde wench. I did not show it to my wife since I knew she would definitely not be amused and might even be boiling mad at me.  Right now, she just barely tolerates the electric kettle I use to heat the water I pour into my “drip” coffee filter, but what sends her into overdrive and percolates her patience is that I continue to buy and drink coffee.  It is definitely not her cup of tea – which, by the way, is green and she drinks it (like we used to say long ago) “as cold as dog nose.”

The fact is that I’ve been drinking coffee for so long that it does not keep me awake at nights. However, it keeps my wife up late worrying about the effects of coffee on my health. She is convinced that it is bad for me and that my arteries are as hard as rock stone and are getting as rigid as my determination to continue drinking fresh percolated coffee. When I say it “perks” me up she cites evidence from every health magazine and research study to show that coffee is bad for me. I tell her that I am so healthy that I can tackle and climb any blue mountain that is put before me.

This is why I was quite surprised when she sent me an article about how the Swiss people found their government’s plan to stop stockpiling coffee hard to swallow. In Switzerland there is a nuclear bunker for every household and the country stockpiles thousands of tonnes of goods in the event of an emergency. Coffee is one of those, not just goods but very, very goods. Then without any explanation the government proposed to stop stashing the coffee of people who are among the world’s biggest coffee drinkers consuming an average of 8kg (17.6 lbs) of coffee per person per year. It was a black day for all coffee lovers and made worse by the official and absolutely false and nonsensical view that coffee did not belong on the “essential to life” list. The country almost ground to a halt.

I can understand why the Swiss fought the attempt to deprive them of coffee. It would be stupid at any time but to face a traumatic emergency situation with nerves fraying like a Chinese T-shirt and no coffee is a double disaster. As a coffee drinker of many years, I am so steeped, I have now reached the point where I don’t sweat-I percolate. My life’s goal is to amount to a hill of beans. When people call me a “drip” I consider that a compliment. In fact, I had always wondered why just thinking of coffee made me more alert and attentive. Now I know.

The University of Toronto has discovered that looking at something that reminds us of coffee can cause our minds to become more alert and attentive. In fact, other research has found that it is a phenomenon found not just in humans but also in rats. Research on rats shows that just a slight sniff of coffee changes the way their brains function and make them so brave that they don’t give a rodent’s rectum about anything. One went into a Starbucks, asked for a double Jamaican Blue Mountain macchiato and on being told they didn’t stock any shouted “Raat it!” and went on a rampage.

My continuing to drink coffee has nothing to do with some studies that have found the beverage to be an aphrodisiac for middle-aged men. I like the taste and smell, although by the fifth or six cups, I hardly notice.

Some studies show that caffeine, the stimulant found in coffee, is addictive. After my tenth cup, that hardly matters. What matters is the headache that comes from not having my morning coffee or from my infrequent efforts to stop drinking the stuff. I boast that my love for coffee is so well known that Juan Valdez named his donkey after me. My wife once tasted a cup of my coffee, spat it out and said it tasted like mud.  However, as I tried to explain to her, it was ground only ten minutes before.

She is so concerned about my health that she tends to ignore all the good news about coffee including it reduces post-workout muscle pain by up to 48 percent, increases your fibre intake by 1.8 grams per cup, protects against cirrhosis of the liver, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s, reduces suicide risk and depression, protects against Parkinson’s, cuts down the risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis and colorectal cancer, strengthens your DNA and, believe it or not, helps you to burn off cellulite or unsightly fat deposits.

In this case, if you’re like my wife and hate even the thought of coffee, you don’t have to drink it you just have to wear it.  Several years ago, scientists at Palmer’s, an Australian lingerie manufacturer, claimed to have found an easy way to burn off cellulite or unsightly fatty deposits through the use of tights impregnated with microcapsules of caffeine.  The coffee-laced fabric is activated by body heat and the instant coffee liquid-drops boost metabolism and burn fat.  As a perk, the lingerie works for four washes.  However, if guests drop in and you are out of Nescafe it is not a good idea to drop your tights into a pot of hot water like a teabag especially if you just took them off.

As I sat thinking about Juan Valdez buying Colombian coffee tights for his donkey, I began to appreciate the global reach of coffee and the pleasure it gives to people of all races and religions. “Kung Fu”, Jackie Chan, insists, “Coffee is a language in itself.” He speaks Chinese, English and Coffee. I prefer to speak poetry and would have liked to use the language of the poet TS Eliot in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons” but I pour straight from the bag and like the substance itself, invariably end up in hot water.

*Tony Deyal was last seen saying that it is a toss-up about who is more hardened-he or his arteries.








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