My Un-Black Friday

(In case you missed it, this blog was originally posted at on March 19.)

As a mother of two small children, I am grateful not to be living in Prussia in the year 1777. That was when Frederic II banned coffee. Who was Frederic II and why did he ban that sweet, sweet nectar of the hyperactive gods? Doesn’t matter. With a name like Frederic, who wouldn’t be prone to lapses in judgment and surges of vengeance?

At any rate, I’m glad caffeine is still a legal stimulant in the Year of Our Lord, 2012. You probably are, too, because chances are you belong to the 90% of adults in North America who consume it daily. I shudder to think what would happen to our productivity and bank accounts if coffee were banned. If you think gas prices are high, just imagine the black market price of your daily vente-nonfat-vanilla-wheatgerm-golddust-mocha. And, if you are already intimidated by your neighborhood hipster barista, just try NOT to imagine what kind of ear spacers a “coffee dealer” would possess. Circus bears could perform within the ear lobes of such a specimen. A coffee-less world would be a scary — and sluggish — world indeed.

The other day I wondered what it would be like to go without coffee for a day. Several of my friends are giving up coffee for Lent, which seems rather reckless and holier-than-thou if you ask me. My piddly fast of chocolate looks precious compared to that. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to caffeine — what an unpleasant thing to say! — it’s just that I require it to speak coherently and behave morally. But I did want to try to see if I could do it.

Here are the results of my Un-Black Friday:

1. Morning: half a cup. Admittedly, the day did not begin well. My four-year-old jumped on my head, and all we had to eat were eggs, which require more brainpower than respiration to prepare. Before I knew it, the mug was in my hands, the lip was to my lips, and the warmth was down my throat. Zing. But I’ll have you know I refrained from drinking down to the gritty dregs, which is where the real burst of crystalline xanthine alkaloid occurs. (That’s right, folks, I can Wikipedia, too.)

2. Mid-Morning: Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte. It was Friday, and that’s when I drop Drew off at preschool. On my way home, I pass that beacon of light, that green logo with the Lady wearing the crown. She points at her crown with both of her hands as if to say, “You see this? I’m the queen of you. You must enter and spend money.” I dare not resist; she could grind my soul to make Irish Blend.

3. Lunch: Diet Cherry Limeade. It’s caffeine and calorie-free — two birds, one stone! I know it seems like I am compelled to pull into any drive-thru I happen to pass, but the reality is I was shopping for spring kid clothes at the mall with my 19-month-old, and we had to grab lunch. My choices were Manchu Wok, Chick-Fil-A, and Sonic, and because none of those places have creative non-caffeinated solutions besides Sprite and lemonade (gag!), and because I recoil both from cows shilling other animals for consumption and from overheated buffet tables, it was off to the Food Court’s non-drive-thru drive thru. (Side note on lemonade: I am diametrically opposed because for 9 months of my pregnancy it was the only thing that kept me from vomiting. I don’t want to revisit that acidic, acerbic time. Drew, of course, loves it.)

4. Afternoon: Glass of water. Sigh.

5. Dinner: Glass of water. Sniff. Sniff.

6. After dinner: Vanilla ice cream without chocolate sauce, which equals no chocolate (Lent: win!), and therefore no caffeine. Two birds, one stone… zero Zing.

All in all, I think I earned an “A” for effort and an “F” for, well, failing. My afternoons and evenings are generally caffeine-free as a rule, dare or no dare. My day begins with a caffeine fiesta or lollapalooza or whatever other kind of frivolity you could insert, and then I coast along the lightning bolt until about 4 p.m. when I hit the gym. Exercise propels me through dinner, bath time, and on into cleanup, so I am able coast into the TV-watching position at around 9 p.m. with little-to-no permanent bruising. What all this amounts to is that my Friday looked identical to my Thursday. (Big. Fat. F.)

Like I said, good thing I’m not Prussian.

Julie Rhodes blogs for (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), has been a guest blogger for Stuff Christians Like, and is editor of Chatter magazine. Read more at (Facebook: Wet Behind the Ears; Twitter: @BehindTheEars.)

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