Too much coffee? I had only 10 cups

November 21, 1994|By KEVIN COWHERD

Recently I went for my annual physical exam, after which the doctor expressed concern over the amount of coffee I drink.

He asked me to keep a daily record of my consumption and its effects; here are the entries from Day 1:

7:00 a.m. -- It's morning in America. I pour my first cup of coffee.

As I told the doctor, coffee has little or no effect on me, which this silly log will no doubt prove.

7:30 -- Just drank my second cup. Still no noticeable effect. As I shave and shower, it occurs to me that it might be time to change doctors. This guy has "quack" written all over him.

8:00 -- I fill my plastic mug with coffee for the 20-minute ride into the office. Am experiencing a slightly euphoric feeling, but this is probably attributable to a number of different factors, among them the pastel-pink sky.

8:15 -- Hmmm, might not have enough coffee for the ride in. I pull into the 7-Eleven and get one of those 16-ounce jobs. A Honda Accord tries to pull out ahead of me, but I stomp on the accelerator and cut him off.

As for the coffee, it has produced no noticeable effect.

8:40 -- In the lobby of my office building, I push the "Up" button for the elevator. Then I push it again. And again. C'mon, c'mon.

Other than a slight restlessness, though, I feel no different than I did an hour ago.

8:41 -- Forget this stupid elevator, I'm taking the stairs. I stop at the cafeteria for another coffee. An elderly woman tries to use the machine first, but I elbow her out of the way, get my coffee, and head up to my desk.

There seems to be a newfound urgency to my demeanor. Although whether this is due to the coffee, I cannot say.

9:30 -- The word processor is smokin' now, Jack! There . . . all done with the column. My editor expresses some concern that it took only 12 minutes to complete.

"It's fine, it's fine," I tell him. "Look, they can't all be gems."

That's odd -- a sudden surliness seems to have engulfed me. The question now is: why?

10:40 -- Can't seem to sit still. What the hey, time for another coffee. In the hallway, I pass another editor and say: "Let's you and me grab a smoke."

He points out that he doesn't smoke, and that neither do I.

I start to sob quietly.

11:20 -- The crying jag passed quickly. Am feeling amazingly energetic now, for some reason. I grab a mop and some Pine Sol out of the janitor's closet and start swabbing down the halls.

Noon -- Two friends ask me to join them for lunch. For some reason, I'm not hungry. Well, maybe I'll go along for a cup of coffee.

12:15 p.m. -- Walking to a nearby restaurant, we have a lively discussion on the changing political climate. Bob feels shifting cultural values are at work here; I disagree.

Unfortunately, I also push him down a flight of stairs.

Feeling edgy now. Could it be all the coffee?

But I apologized to Bob, that's the main thing.

12:20 -- I order a coffee and spend the meal stacking the sugar packets on the table. Then I stack all the packets of Sweet n' Low. Then I re-arrange the salt and pepper shakers, as well as the mustard and ketchup dispensers. It's not t easy when your hands are shaking.

Geez, why are my hands shaking?! You don't suppose that quack doctor missed something during the physical, do you?!

1:05 -- Back at the office now. You know what just occurred to me? Coffee spelled backward is eeffoc.

Eeffoc! Isn't that funny?

Speaking of which, I could go for another cup of eeffoc.

Uh, coffee.

Whatever.

Heart seems to be racing now, which is unusual.

1:45 -- I just typed this on the word processor: "Everything is beautiful . . . in it's own way."

2:40 -- Just dropped to the floor and knocked off 20 push-ups, apparently startling the woman at the next desk.

"WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT!" I shrieked.

It . . . it might be time to knock off for the day.

Head's pounding now, stomach feels nauseous, nerves are strung tighter than piano wire.

Although attributing any of that to the coffee would be pure speculation, it seems to me.

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