The sip of coffee a postmodern rant

November 19, 1998|By KEVIN COWHERD

I SAW the best minds of my generation

Addled by the hype, sucked into the white-hot vortex of twisted modern thought that says each cup of java we drink must be this Great Experience.

This flowering of the senses, this imperceptible awakening of the taste buds and

Blah, Blah, Blah.

But not me, brother.

I don't want your cappuccino, or your frappuccino, either.

Don't want your mocha or espresso.

Don't want your latte or Guatemala Antigua.

Ain't interested in no House Blend.

I just want a cup of coffee.

This is where I'm coming from: A cup of joe is a cup of joe.


End of discussion, baby.

So away with your monster out-of-town chains and their 80 varieties of fancy-schmancy gourmet brews and

Your trendy strip-mall boutiques with their cutesy names (Coffee, Coffee Everywhere -- gag me!) and

Barrels of Jamaican Blue Mountain and Kenya AA Plantation beans spilling across the faux hardwood floors

While hollow-eyed sales clerks chirp insanely: "What can we get for you today?"

Fie, too, on your Dunkin Donuts Hazelnut Coolata (free with the purchase of six jelly doughnuts?) and

Your 7-Eleven Select Blends, amaretto, Swiss chocolate and the rest, all conveniently located

Near the cans of Hormel heat n' eat chili and Dinty Moore stew.

The point is, Folger's is fine with me, Maxwell House, too, or

Whatever Safeway has on sale.

As long as it's not Sanka.

I just want a cup of coffee.

Call me shallow, call me low-brow, but I just don't "get" people who

Become misty-eyed over, say, Sumatra Mandheling Decaf

Or gape and genuflect at the words: Kona Extra Fancy.

Look, this is not a religious experience

For me.

I am not trying to elevate my spiritual being here.

Nor am I embarking on a profound sensory journey via

Six ounces of joe, a splash of 2 percent milk and a packet of Equal.

I just want a cup of coffee.

Then there is this: Money is important to me. Cash, scratch, coin, moolah, iron, call it what you will.

I need more of it.

I have a killer mortgage and a kid ready for college, not to mention

A Jeep with 114,000 miles on the odometer that seems badly

In need of a new tailpipe assembly.

I'm sorry, I'm sure you have your own problems, but

I am morally opposed to paying two bucks for a cup of coffee.

Or even $1.35, buddy boy.

Mr. Starbucks, Mr. Pusher Man from the Great Northwest, how can you live with yourself?

Charging those prices, you might as well be

Wearing a stocking mask and waving a switchblade

In my face.

I just want a cup of coffee.

Another thing: I will no longer frequent those oh-so-hip coffee kiosks at the mall manned by 22-year-old theater majors.

You know the type.

Dressed all in black, with thin, dark slits for eyebrows and a slash of purple where her lips should be.

Rolling her eyes when I mispronounce "machiatto."

The little tart.

Why, I should take her over my knee and ... never mind.

No, let my joe be served by a fat, perspiring guy of hazy Southern European origin

With a bad hair weave and thick gold chain around his neck

Furiously chewing a toothpick and brooding over cash register receipts in a noisy diner that squats by the side of the road like a giant silver toad.

Or if not by him, let me be served by a rouged, buxom woman in her mid-50s, with a sculpted helmet of frosted hair

Like the great Leslie Stahl's

And an apron stained by oatmeal and ketchup and the particle remains of a Western omelet.

Who barks wearily (but not unkindly) when you sit at the greasy counter:

"What'll it be, hon?"

I just want a cup of coffee, ma'am.

Pub Date: 11/19/98

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