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  • Walt Mussell

Java Man (Man-erism: Drinking too much coffee)


Years ago, I wrote a book (never published) about all of the habits of mine that my wife finds annoying. I contend that these are typical male habits. My wife says that they are specific to me. Love to hear your thoughts. I'm now posting these habits weekly on my blog. Please let me know if you agree with me or my wife.


The habit below is from the section Cooking Is A Contact Sport


I’m addicted to coffee.


I inherited this trait. Both my parents drink coffee like a desert absorbs rain. My dad used to have a 10-cup coffee maker that separated out the first two cups to be brewed, as those are usually bitter. It then gave you cups 3-8. After you finished that, you could flip a switch and cups 1-2 would then be mixed with cups 9-10, usually the weakest of a pot.


My doctor has recommended I cut back. My wife, who wishes I would drink Japanese tea like she does, concurs. I feel I have reduced my consumption, but it’s hard to tell. When I went into an office, I used to prep my coffee the night before so it would be ready when I woke up. I had an alarm to rouse me each day, but I never needed it. The sound of the coffee machine starting up accomplished the same thing.


Years ago, when we lived in Portland, I worked off and on in a big pink building that had a well-known coffee chain on the first floor. When we were preparing to move from Portland to Georgia, my wife asked, “Who do you think will miss you the most?”

“The crew from Starbuck’s.”

Mo laughed. “Seriously?”

“Just partially. The manager promised me free drinks and desserts every day for my last week in the building.”

“Oh, the buy a few thousand, get a few free special.”


It used to chafe my wife that I took coffee in the car whenever we would go places. She finally got used to it. She also got used to the coffee spots on the floor mats.


Even drinking decaf like I do, I know I still need to drink less coffee. I’ve read articles about studies that suggest massive amounts of coffee will ward off certain cancers, but know that acid reflux will catch up with me and no pill will help. My wife likes to remind me that decaf doesn’t mean “no caffeine,” but just that the caffeine is at a reduced level. She once told me my decaf intake reminds her of the old joke of the person who goes into a restaurant and orders two diet specials.


Recently, though, she’s been hinting at a new strategy. The other day she casually mentioned that she really hates kissing someone with coffee breath and that if I don’t cut back then she might be forced to do so.


If anything has the possibility of getting me to lower my consumption, it’s a threat like that.


Postscript: My wife hates the Java Man title of this vignette as she thinks it makes me sound like Ross from friends.