I’m not talking about something us heathen Yankee folk try to force on the decent, God fearing victims of the war of Northern aggression. No sir, I’m talking about a physiological phenomenon, the kind most people learn about in college – well, everyone that pledges a fraternity anyway. Yes, that kind of tolerance. I’m talking about the kind of tolerance that makes one cup of coffee no more stimulating than the used grounds; the kind of tolerance that makes a 32oz cup of coffee at the 7-eleven seem small. Now you’re getting the picture.

Now if I can just find something socially acceptable that will put me to sleep at night. I wonder how I would tolerate that Behavioral Psychology textbook? I just knew I shouldn’t have sold that back!

Fear and loathing in suburbia

What is the worst thing that could happen at Starbucks? I found out today. I was looking to make use of my Starbucks card (a much appreciated thank you gift from one of my co-workers), so we stopped by there on our way home from Beth’s haircut. Well unless Chicago is on the way from Seattle to Los Angeles, I guess Starbucks was not exactly on the way, but what the hell. I could use a little pick me up. We got there and I ordered my usual. “What exactly is your usual?” the cafe consultant asked. I always wanted to go somewhere and ask for the usual. Giving the low wage earner behind the counter a hard time was just a bonus.

It turns out revenge is sweet, even when it’s a Grande Cafe Vanilla Frappuccino. We ordered. We drank our coffee. We went home. Before I went to Starbucks, I was tired. After we arrived home, I was still tired.

And then it hit me.

I was still tired? Sweet mother caffeinated beverages, I still hadn’t been “picked up.” Even after slamming a Grande Cafe Vanilla Frappuccino? Did they hold the caffeine? Is this what they mean by “reaping what you sow?” For the love of Pete, why did I have to give the coffee attendant a hard time? Why Starbucks, Why hast thou forsaken me?

I woke with a start. It was all a dream. A terrible, terrible dream. From this time forth, I will always treat the good folks at Starbucks right. When you hold the tiller on the good ship Starbucks, you wield a great deal of power and you deserve your patron’s respect. With my hand over my heart, I pledge to be a good boy.

Once more into the well, dear friends,

This weekend I told to someone caffeine was a recent vice. It was subsequently suggested my recent obsession with America’s Favorite Stimulant was less vice and more love at first sip.

What, doesn’t everyone plan their daily menu around each item’s relative stimulating effect?

History teachers would have you believe the pilgrims came to the new land for religious freedom, but could they be wrong? Is there margin for error in the historical consensus? Here’s my modest (and somewhat ridiculous) proposal: they came to the new land seeking something with a little more kick than tea. The Brits are famous for their drinking habits, aren’t they? Maybe the pilgrims were just tired of drinking the yard waste.

While I’m revising history, let us turn our attention to the Boston Tea Party. It has been said the Boston Tea Party was about taxes and choice, but maybe we’ve had the choice part just a little bit wrong all this time. Maybe they just didn’t want tea. We’ve been told our founding fathers were a savvy lot. I’ve also heard that, while they thought democracy was groovy, their trust in the unwashed masses to make good decisions was not terribly high. (How else do you explain the Electoral College?) Maybe they knew coffee was the superior caffeine delivery device, but they didn’t trust the public to make the right choice. Maybe, just maybe, the Boston Tea Party was a clandestine effort to manufacture a little more market for coffee. With Boston’s supply of tea flavoring the already polluted harbor (and making it worse), the people would have to look elsewhere for their fix; nudging them all in the right direction, so that we all might be as enlightened as our Founding Fathers.

“Give me coffee or give me death!”

Lure of stimulants.

Recent events have led to less than optimal sleep. In these last few, sleep deprived days, my office has had all the stimulating effect of a sharp blow to the head. In the beginning, I turned to a sugar and caffeine cocktail for relief. This magical potion can be purchased over the counter as Mountain Dew. I turned to this sugary solution only because I can’t stand the caffeinated heavy hitters: coffee and tea. These caffeinated wonders might taste good if I were a cow, accustomed to the simple culinary pleasures of the pasture, but they do nothing for my taste buds. However, since two Mountain Dews could satisfy my caloric needs for the entire day, I figured I needed something a little lighter. Diet alternatives were out. Artificial sweeteners have never quite hit the mark for me.

And then it hit me.

What does any self respecting, red blooded American do when the going gets tough? Why, the answer had been waiting for me all this time – just down the shelf at the pharmacy. At my disposal was pure, pharmaceutical grade caffeine. I didn’t even need a prescription! I could just take a pill and my sleep deprivation would be a thing of the past!

And then it hit me.

My first day on pharmaceutical caffeine was a blur, riding high on a wave of jittery energy.

And then I hit the wall.

The effects wore off and my energy level walked off a cliff. I fell hard. So what does someone do under these circumstances? Naturally, I stayed up late again last night. Why get enough sleep when you can just take a pill? Sure, the crash is something fearsome, but timed right it won’t come until after I return home. Then again, I could just try and go to bed earlier.