Oct. 17th, 2013

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Have you ever woken up at 4:30AM, compelled to write down better fridge magnet slogans for tea and coffee than "Do stupid things faster, with more energy!" and found that one pretty hard to top? Must've been a 3AM effort is my guess, the ideas that come from that hour of the morning are usually of better quality than ones which arise closer to the sun itself.
I'll have a go anyway, although this is more a tea analogy, have you ever noticed that cups of tea in English-speaking cultures are peculiarly British? Even the question "Cup of tea?" sounds like a train rattling its way up towards some Scottish highland, or over towards Delhi or Bombay, chic-a-choc-chic-a-choc, cup-o-tea-cup-o-tea-cup-o-tea. Are we there yet? Cup-o-tea-cup-o-tea.
This is why I gave up drinking tea. I gave up drinking coffee because it's a ridiculous habitual stimulant but tea is so mild you forget the roots the plant itself drives into your very life. As James Marsters' character Spike said to Anthony Stuart Head's character Giles in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer "Did your life flash before your eyes? Cup of tea, cup of tea, ALMOST got shagged! Cup of tea?" Think about the hours of every day you spend making and drinking cups of tea. Remember, even without the time-wasting aspect, stimulants are generally BAD for you, even if you don't sugar it up and add milk so you can feel your mouth . Stephen Fry related on QI once the concept that tea-drinking made the ancient Chinese so self-satisfied with their perfection of teapot and cup technology they failed to advance beyond porcelain for about a thousand years. Really. I have my own internally self-consistent theories about what halted further advancement in ancient China and it has more to do with one half of a society deciding to waste most of its effort and waking hours systematically oppressing the other half. Often with newly-invented traditions so insanely barbaric they can only be rationalised as forms of 'ritual' abuse.
Back to tea, in the time I've spent writing this I could probably have made two cups of tea, but I'd still be contemplating the phrasing of the first sentence over the hot fuming tannin vapours. Sure, I know how to savour the world's finest Ceylon leaves, but if you do anything 5, 10, or 30 times per day there's hardly any point in stopping the endless repetition of the activity to smell the roses. About the only people who need to drink tea as many times per day as lots of people do are tea farmers--and that is because they either need to grade their own product, or they simply need to do something to distract them from the mind-numbing repetition of tea-farming itself. Which brings me to coffee.
Although I have at various times in my life been incredibly addicted (5-10 double espresso per day) to coffee, I believe it is essentially a silly activity. As a child, my parents used to load me up with coffee for breakfast before school. This is probably as ridiculous as it gets. Obviously they had little idea (or were woefully, wilfully ignorant) of the health detractions of giving your child coffee, or not making them eat breakfast. But who cares? They wanted to go to work, and I was an accidental inconvenience to them at the age of five to twenty-five.
In conclusion, I offer these tarnished gems to the world:
"Cup of tea? Or would you prefer a Salvador Dali melted clock?"
"Cup of coffee? Or would you prefer to just stop doing silly stuff?"
Perhaps we'll all switch to caffeine-free, artificially sweetened, non-carbonated, naturally-coloured, flavourless soft drinks. I've got a good brand name for these; "Why Bother?"
I also think that is a good name for decaf soy lattes with a twist of lemon.








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