THERE'S JUST SOMETHING 
ABOUT COFFEE

   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 saved."
   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 little better.
   "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 coffee."
   "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.
 

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