Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is This Post Shaking or Is It Just Me?

Sorry to disappoint if you were expecting a post-Valentine's Day ode to my love muscle (that would be the heart … the other is not muscle -- please repeat Biology 101, perv). I intended to write one, but I'm in the midst of some trippy caffeine-induced heebie-jeebies.

adam@home cartoon coffeeIf you do not have such a sensitivity to the world's legal drug of choice, then you are missing one heck of a cheap thrill ride.

Imagine yourself teetering at the mountainous edge of the Acapulco coast.

You gaze at the Pacific crashing below.

The wind picks up.

You lean a bit too much forward ...

Then catch yourself on the precipice of plunging to your doom.


Now repeat that feeling every few seconds.

For an hour.

Maybe three.

Normally I manage my problem like the little old lady I've become at age 40. Then, like this morning, a few too many beans fall into the grinder. I chug a little faster and then I chug a little more than normal and -- ka-POW! I'm a stand-alone 5.5 on the Richter scale.

My first bad caffeine trip came in high school when I was working the supermarket bottle return. For reasons still unclear, I decided to try a couple of pills from a box of No-Doz I found in the pharmacy aisle. I washed it down with a large cup of tea. Yes, I was a pretty hardcore then., too.

casablancaI believe I developed the same bug-eyed franticness Peter Lorre's character had in "Casablanca" when he was begging Rick to save him from the police. Paranoia set in. I began fretting about impending midterms, spring dances and whether my deftness at separating brown, green and clear glass subconsciously meant I was a racist.

I stay straight for several years -- until My Love (at the time, she was just My Lusty Squeeze) introduced me to the illicit pleasures of a white foam cup of steamin' fresh Dunkin' Donuts coffee. I started with a medium.

Then, a large.

Then, came the aptly named "Big One."

Eventually I had to get additional fixes by slurping the sludge they brewed at my office.

My problem got so bad that if someone materialized within six feet of me when I rounded a corner, I literally jumped. This was especially unfortunate if, at the time, I happened to be carrying a mug of the office sludge. On the plus side, I believe I provided needed economic stimulus to dry cleaners and carpet companies throughout the greater metropolitan area.

Given my history (and that, at the moment, my monitor appears to be wiggling like Beyonce's thighs after a McRib binge), I wasn't surprised by a recent finding by researchers at England's Durham University. They report that UK college students who get hopped up on the equivalent of seven cups of instant coffee a day are three times more likely to imagine hearing voices or seeing things than those who drank a single cup or less a day.

Of course, this scientific study -- as with most -- raises questions because of its methodology and extrapolations. First, these are college students. God knows what else they've been consuming, especially given England's proliferation of seedy takeaway curry shops.

Second, who the heck uses instant coffee as a measuring stick? Or actually measures instant coffee when they make it? Or would actually drink seven cups of the swill IN ONE DAY? I've been to London, folks, and they have as much access to overpriced corporate coffee shops as you and me.

Still, personal experience tells me they are onto something. It certainly would explain the howler monkey on my back doing an incredibly funky rendition of "Shake Your Groove Thing."

If you are dying to read tangentially about my other love muscle, go over to

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  1. Dude, you sound just like me five years ago, before I hit my caffeine wall one day, lost my mind, and was never again able to partake in the sweet black nectar of the Gods. If that day comes when you find yourself plunging off the mountainous edge, I'm here for you.

  2. i'm a tea drinker. but i don't just do caffeine, i gotta mix it with sugar. lots of it. oooh yea, that's what i'm talkin' about. until i get it in the morning, i'm complete crap. my poor kids.

  3. You would be surprised on how popular instant coffee is over here in England. I still refuse to indulge in instant coffee but I got a mean diet coke addiction.

  4. hilarious!
    only, now i have a huge craving for coffee. strong coffee.

  5. You missed the other part of the research; it not only helped them become more creative, but also helped them ace tests!
    There are huge advantages to caffeine!
    For the first few months after the surgery, I was not able to drink anything with caffeine. Not soda, not tea, not coffee, none would go down (of course I was have trouble with just plain water as well)! I endured the additional problem of headaches from the caf-feind withdrawal for a few day, but I was having those from the surgery as well, who could tell.
    Now for the reality check, I was only drinking maybe 3 to 4 small (6 ounce) cups a day. I now am able to have (drum roll please) 1 cup in the morning and this is not doctors orders, it just is what it is.
    So I am missing all the great benefits of drinking larger quantities of coffee. Besides brain power, what else you ask?
    Prostate health, Blood pressure (no skip that one, its the opposite), cholesterol health and alertness!

  6. Continued...
    So tone it down a bit, but keep drinking. My IQ in the cheesy tests they have on line dropped from a 160 to 141 on the lack!

  7. So, let me get this straight.

    If you drink enough Coffee, you get your very own Howler Monkey?


    I've always wanted one of those things.

    How many proof of purchase do you have to send in? is the Monkey housebroken and if not, will he/she wear diapers?

    Personally, I like to mix up a thick, sludge-like concoction and Mainline it. It saves time and if I'm anything, I'm time conscious.

  8. If it were easier to get a perscirption for Black Beauties you could give up coffee.

  9. Can one shake without knowing it? Am I a vibrating flesh pod so intensely shaking my groove that I appear still to myself? Am I just a retrograde planet? Dunno. I consume a LOT of coffee in the morning. My hubs knows that I don't even SPEAK until I have two cups to jump start the brain/mouth connection. I did, however, give up sugar. Does that count?

  10. Living teen and college years in Boston...I started everyday with a Big One with Sweet and Low. Oh - your not talking about the love muscle? Sorry - my baaad.

  11. While Scientists may have determined that students score better on tests when hyped up on 7 swigs of Juan Valdez's nuts, 10 out of 10 parents agree that the only way to survive the fourth grade science project is on 7 shots of JD Black.

  12. I am addicted to Diet Coke, although, as I am turning into my mother, I cannot have any caffeine after 2pm or I am up all night, wondering why the hell I can't sleep. Diet Coke at dinner, stupid.

  13. alternate coffee beer coffee beer. trust me. it works well to beat back the monkeys which i hear are a problem in your parts.

  14. So I came over here earlier and when I saw you wee talking about coffee, I went and put on my snow boots and jacket and I walked the block and a half to the newly opened Dunkin Donuts and bought myself an extra large coffee. did I mention it's below freezing with the wind chill and there's a blizzard?

    But oh sweet love of god this coffee is so delicious!! I asked for it black so I may put my hazelnut creamer in there myself.


  15. I have to say that when I was 23 and worked in a coffee shop I would scoff at the hoards of people ordering decaffeinated beverages. What kind of Nancy-pants people want coffee without the benefit of EXTRA ENERGY?!

    At 35 I was in a cardiologist's office (after a 24 hour ekg, a trip through the body scan, a stress test meant to kill off old people and me, and a sonogram...) listening to the doctor tell me that they don't know what the problem really is with my heart but just to be safe I ought to limit my caffeine intake to one cup a day.

    And I said HELL NO in my really hardcore way, and now?

    I figured out that if I mix 2/3 decaf with 1/3 caff I can drink three cups of black coffee a day.

    I'm a real Camille these days.

    But I only cut back on caffeine to hedge my bets. I'm also supposed to not drink alcohol and I'll be damned.

    Indeed, I will probably be damned.

  16. I fear I'll lose you if I admit right here that I've never drank coffee.


    I mean, who has time for that when they're taking in so much Diet Mountain Dew all day?

  17. You could come work for my company. They are eliminating the coffee. They however, in their brillance have sent us all brand new travel coffee mugs. Go figure...

  18. I loves me a good coffee buzz. My co-workers, on the other hand, not so much.

  19. I usually drink a coke zero a day. That's all. But lately, since I've been snowed in with sick kids, I've started making coffee.

    And I swear...I am hearing voices, am less productive than normal - if that's at all possible - and jump at everything. I should stick to Coke...

    ...a cola.

  20. So funny! I haven't gotten hooked on coffee and really don't like the stuff. My mom and husband are EXTREME addicts of the type that are horrible monsters in the morning if they don't have it. If I do have to have a cup to make it through the day, I am the craziest hyped up person you'll meet. I talk too fast, type too fast, can't sit still, my heart goes nuts, and like you - I get that paranoid, falling out of control feeling too. It's great entertainment for my friends. Sodas will do it too, but not like coffee or a chai tea. I feel like I failed college or something since that's when everyone else got addicted.

  21. Whatever you do, DO NOT try Fusion Coffee from 7-11. Coffee that gives you an "extra" boost is a bad idea.

  22. I did the opposite a couple weeks ago. I quit caffeine cold turkey. Day one, fine. Day two, I couldn't get out of bed for the first half of the day. Severe headaches along with a bout of nausea. Whatever you do, don't give up that liquid gold.

  23. I'd love to stay and chat, but frankly I need to go CHUG my coffee. I'm a BITCH if I don't get my FIVE cups.

    (I like mine so strong it can defend itself. The teachers at school won't let me make it anymore.....)

  24. Another reason to love your coffee, "Always Home" it protects against skin cancer!


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