Life Is a Grind Without Coffee


Quitting coffee.

How hard can this be?

Kicked smoking.

Kicked scotch.

Kicked "Baywatch."

Just a little old-fashioned willpower, that's all. Just make up the mind. Just set the resolve. Just drive right past that Dunkin' Donuts.

Going to need something to replace those eight cups in the morning, though.

Wonder what Mountain Dew tastes like perked, with, say, two sugars, light?

Bad idea. Counterproductive. Wrong message: It's the caffeine, stupid.

Herbal tea?

There you go: hot, steamy. And you can get it in a plastic foam cup. Can't stress the importance of container enough.

No need for anyone to know you're off the hard stuff. No need for anyone to see you dipping a tea bag. Something just a little too dainty about that.

Day 1:

"Got up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a. . . ."

Oops, no coffee. Maybe I'll just try this orange and spice herbal tea. Smells good. Just take a little sip here and . . . you know . . . this is going to take some getting used to.

Day 2:

Feel sluggish, spacey, more disoriented than usual. Locked self out of the house getting paper. Was nearly scalded in shower. Turned toast to briquettes. Tried to put wife on school bus.

Day 3:

Have this crew from the public works department digging up an area in the middle of my brain. Worst headache since that tequila how-to seminar in college. Nothing seems to help. Considering acupuncture with a pitchfork.

Day 4:

Had a dream last night that I was seeing Juan Valdez. I'm not sure how serious it was. I think we were more than friends. We were walking along a coffee bean-covered hillside in South America. I was playing castanets. The donkey was not involved.

Day 5:

Woke up very grumpy. Took it out on inner child. Set personal record for obscene gestures during one-way commute. Came this close to telling boss what I really thought. Set new personal record for obscene gestures during one-way commute. May be suffering from Maxwell House rage.

Day 6:

Had another dream. The donkey was involved.

Day 7:

Car turned into Dunkin' Donuts. Voice ordered large coffee, no sugar, light. Wallet paid for it. Resolve approved it. Mouth consumed it. Just a guess, here, but I may be losing control.

Day 8:

"Got up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup . . ." and then another, and another.

And life was good to the last drop.


* Shea is a columnist at the Hartford Courant. To reach him write to Jim Shea, Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115.

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