Coffee, like written language, is a vital and definitive element of human civilization. From the foxholes of Bastogne during WWII to the Starbucks that stood for seven years in China's 587-year-old imperial palace, wherever there are people, there is coffee nearby.
According to legend, 9th Century Ethiopian shepherds were the first to observe coffee's benevolent power. When their goats happened upon some wild coffee berries, they ate them and began to dance. No myth has ever resonated with me as powerfully as this one. Coffee makes my brain dance just like it did those Ethiopian goats. I drink a cup and my brain becomes a pulsating discotheque with millions of little neurons holding synapses and twirling around my cerebral cortex.
If you're still reading, you're probably wondering why I'm extolling coffee's virtues. You may be thinking it's because I've had too much today. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I dragged myself out of bed at five this morning to drive to Miami. On my way to 275-S, I swung by Dunkin' Donuts for, of course, a cup of coffee. By the time I was over the Skyway, it was cool enough to sip. By the time I got to Naples, I'd killed it. Half-way across Alligator Alley, I felt like I needed to die. My skin was clammy, my back, head and hair ached and I could hardly keep my eyes open. That's when it hit me: Decaf.