Ah, coffeemy old friend.

Ah, coffeemy old friend. Weve been through a lot together. You kept me up through many an all night cram session in college. Warmed me on many a cold morning outdoors. I don't claim to know you as well as the aficionados. I've never smelled your floral or musky notes. But I do like you strong, like a punch in the face with brass knuckles.

Nevertheless, I've been thinking lately about the time you almost killed me. It still hurts my feelings, you know. Do'nt remember? Well, let me refresh your memory.

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Dad was having hip surgery in Arkansas and I was working late the night before in Texas. Being the good son that I am, I determined to be there for him when they sawed out his bone and replaced it with metal. It was the least I could do. But almost before I got in the car with my wife and infant son, I was droopy-eyed tired. So, naturally, I turned to you. Brewed a whole pot full and poured you into a thermos for the road. Your reviving properties we're to keep me alert all the way to Arkansas. The plan was simple.

Until I saw the caffeine pills.

They were at the gas station counter, promising in bold, florescent packaging to keep me laser focused behind the wheel. I thought, why not , and purchased the little package, taking a dose as soon as I got back in the car.

This was not your fault, I know. But you should have warned me that drinking a whole pot of coffee along with a full dose of concentrated caffeine was not altogether wise.

By Mount Vernon I started to hallucinate. By Texarkana my heart was pounding against my ribcage. I was too tired to drive, but too wired to sleep. We pulled over at a Shell station at dawn as the sun broke the eastern horizon. I tried to take a power nap but kept on having spasms where I'd almost kick a hole in the floorboard.

I decided to call my Mom, tell her I wasnt feeling well.

Whats wrong? she asked.

I explained about the coffee and about the pills as I trudged onto a barren field behind the gas station.

You did WHAT??? she bellowed hysterical into the phone. You know you can overdose on caffeine, don't you? What's your pulse?

I don't know, I felt my wrist. Fast.

You don't think you're having a heart attack, do you? Her voice rose to a panic. You're not young anymore. Oh, Lord please don't die!

I didn't think I was having a heart attack, but Mom's hysteria sent me over the edge. My face went white, my head grew dim, I dropped to my knees, leaned over, and promptly upchucked.

The next few hours are still a hallucinogenic blur. My poor pregnant wife took over the driving as I moaned, sick as an acid-tripping dog, in the passengers seat. We checked into a hotel in Hope (birthplace of Bill Clinton), to see if I could sleep it off. But even there, laying in bed, my heart seemed only to beat faster and faster, my head spinning as if in a centrifuge. I was trapped inside a whirling caffeine prison with no way out.

I think we need to go to the emergency room, I mumbled to Heather, who cradled our baby and stared at me with a mixture of fear and frustration.

I really wish you hadn't taken those pills, she said.

Half an hour later I laid in a hospital bed with an EKG machine attached to my chest by a dozen wires. The doctor came in, studied the numbers, and looked up at me with a smirk.

Well that was pretty stupid, he said.

I know.

You're not having a heart attack, though. You just overdosed a little. I'll give you a shot to help you sleep. Just make sure you never mix coffee with caffeine pills ever again.

I won't. Don't worry.

Whatever they gave me knocked me out cold and I slept like a baby all the way to Little Rock. We got there in time for Dads recovery, though it seemed the whole family was more concerned for me and my overdose than dad and his new bionic hip.

I didn't drink you for a while after that. Even the tell-tale waft of your smell sent shivers down my spine for weeks. But eventually I came to terms with the fact that what happened on the midnight road to Arkansas was my doing, not yours. Youre just an innocent combination of roasted beans and hot water. I'm the one who reached for the pills. I was the junky.

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Posted in Personal Development Post Date 04/26/2019


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