We tend to take everything for granted. Living our lives and rarely noticing the trickle of loss until something smacks us in the face and shouts, “Pay attention!”

For example, this writer loves her coffee — strong, black and, lots of it.

She discovered the joys of black coffee while acting in Community Theater. We ordered coffee or brought our own. But by the time the director called for a break, the coffee was cold.

Back then, this lady liked her coffee with cream. However, when the doctored beverage became cold, her tastebuds balked. It was then she discovered cold black coffee. Before long, iced coffee became her cold beverage choice instead of iced tea. Interestingly enough, iced coffee brings out the flavor of coffee.

The summer after graduating from college, the holder of the diploma wanted to do something different before graduate school. A job as a drama coach at a girls and boys summer camp in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico fit the bill.

The kids were in varying stages of high school, and, for the most part, working with them was fun. Was there a downside? When the staff members were not teaching a class, they sat around drinking coffee, gallons of coffee. By the time the summer ended, this writer was up to 30 cups of coffee per day. (With that record, she could have joined the Navy and fit right in.)

At times, her need for coffee reached the point that if it had done any good, she would have considered dunking her contacts in the rejuvenating brew. But fortunately, she never resorted to following through on that urge. For one thing, the contacts may not have survived such a bath.

Over the years, this writer’s daily coffee intake dwindled as other activities such as work took precedence. There was little time to leave her desk to refill her coffee cup. Besides, coffee provided at work was little more than black sludge. And heaven only knew how frequently that giant thermal container received a good cleaning.

Since starting the day without coffee was out of the question and coffee IVs do not exist, she made an executive decision.

Two large mugs of coffee in the morning revved her motor to consciousness. After that, water, and lots of it became her beverage of choice during the workday. Of course, her two cups of the dark brew equaled the same amount as four eight or ten-ounce cups downed by the average coffee drinker.

Then, without warning, the day arrived when two cups of coffee made her jittery. Suddenly, she got a taste of what a snake experiences while shedding its skin. The event is not a pretty sight when a reptile does it, and she believed it would be an even uglier occurrence for a human.

What to do?

The prospect of going cold turkey on a permanent basis was not an option. After all, life without coffee is like a day without sunshine or books.

As an experiment, this writer decided to abstain from drinking the sustaining beverage for several days. The result was a gloomy and listless world. Her attitude during this time of withdrawal was, “Stay away from me. Talk to me at your peril.”

It did not help that her gloomy and miserable condition happened to match the endless monsoons and dreary weather which covered the North Texas area for weeks. Her whole existence became a dark, endless tunnel.


The starved-for-coffee lady reinstated the dark brew into her daily routine. First, she tried one mug each morning. After a few days, she was back to two large mugs per day with no ill effects.

What happens if she reaches the jittery, ready to shed her skin stage? The answer is simple; she will put on lively music and dance around the house until the jitters pass.

Is she a masochist? No. The woman would rather endure caffeine jitters for a short time rather than go without smelling the aroma, enjoying the taste, and benefitting from the energy boost of the dark ambrosia from the gods, coffee.

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