THERE'S JUST SOMETHING
Another one bites the dust. My 27 year old son just informed me
that he has started to drink coffee for the first time in his life.
"I'm selling out," he told me. "I always thought
it was cheating to get that jolt in the morning. But now that I know it's
good for you, I'm going for it."
He was referring to recent studies that show drinking coffee
may have an 11% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and can also reduce
the risk of stroke by keeping blood vessels flexible and healthy.
I couldn't be more upset. Not about my son, who can do whatever
he wants, but about me. I've held out for 63 years, thinking I was the
picture of health, and now I find out drinking coffee is GOOD for you?
Something is seriously messed up here.
I was always so proud of my abstinence. I would watch all the
coffee addicts scramble to find their cup of Joe in the morning, unable to
function until they slurped that swill into their throats. I was the healthy
one, happily telling them that I don't drink coffee. Then I'd glow in their
unspoken praise for my willpower.
It was supposed to increase the risk of heart disease, studies
always showed, and stunt growth. I figured the only reason I grew to 6 feet
tall was because I didn't drink coffee. I was going to happily outlive all
those shrimpy coffee addicts who were also suffering from stomach ulcers,
heartburn and other ailments experts associated with drinking coffee.
It turns out those studies didn't account for other factors
such as smoking, alcohol and lack of physical activity. Coffee was taking
all the blame, and that suited me just fine. Now everyone is going to toast
my demise with a double cappuccino.
"I'm depressed," I said to my wife across the
breakfast table as I watched her sip her morning lifesaver. "I've
probably taken five years off my life by not drinking coffee."
She was looking smug, as all coffee drinkers do these days.
"If it makes you feel any better, think of all the money you
I took a sip of my Crystal Geyser low-cal fruit drink, which
was full of chemicals that would surely kill me long before my
coffee-drinking wife. I quickly did some calculations and indeed felt a
"You're right," I replied. "At an average of
five dollars a day or $150 a month or $1800 a year, multiplied by all the
years I didn't drink coffee…..Let's put it this way, you're sitting in the
house that abstinence built."
Nevertheless, I still felt crummy. Saving money is nice, but
not dying is even nicer. Like my son, I started to consider whether I should
take the plunge and join all those health nuts who are prolonging their
lives by drinking the black swill.
That's when I saw the article in the morning Chronicle last
week with the headline "7-Elevens must post warnings about cancer in
"Wahoo!" I exulted to my wife as I read through the
article. "It says here that coffee contains acrylamide which is a
carcinogen that can cause cancer. I'M SAVED!"
She ripped the paper out of my hands (must have had a caffeine
rush) and scanned it quickly, reading outloud the part I ignored. "The
National Coffee Association denies that coffee contains acrylamide or any
other ingredient at carcinogenic levels. Drinking coffee does not
increase---and may decrease---the risk of cancer."
"Of course they're going to say that," I countered.
"They're lobbyists! I'd rather believe the attorneys who made a nice
profit from suing 7-Eleven."
She gulped down the last of her cancer concoction. "I
think you're grasping at anything that will rationalize your failure to
drink something that is not only healthy for you but is enjoyed by everyone
around the world."
Maybe. At least I had something to counter all the positive
news about coffee. I couldn't wait to tell my son.
Unfortunately, I was too late. When I went by his office later
that morning, he was buzzing around getting things done.
"I've never had so much energy in the morning," he
chirped. "I can't believe I waited so long to start drinking coffee.
This is going to make me incredibly productive."
I thought about telling him about acrylamide in coffee, but
then I remembered I was an investor in his business. No need to alarm him.