Saturday, May 07, 2022

By Popular Demand ...


... because Thane Eichenauer is very popular with me.



I love coffee.

I also love Jack Reacher -- the novels, the movies, the series.

I do not like my coffee in precisely the way Jack Reacher likes his.

He takes his black and in large quantities at whatever diner or donut shop he happens to find himself in while kicking bad guys' asses.

I take mine with fru-fru creamers/flavorings. My Starbucks favorite is the iced white chocolate mocha latte. But the copious quantities part, well, I could probably give Jack Reacher a run for his money.

As to the back story ...

Well, Reacher grew up in a Marine Corps family, graduated from West Point, and spent more than a decade (I don't remember the exact number of years) in the US Army as a military policeman before getting out as a major on a "Reduction In Force" that he welcomed.

Presumably coffee is to the Army as it is to the Navy and the Marine Corps: Omnipresent. That's where Reacher really picked up the habit.

I didn't grow up in a military family, didn't graduate from West Point, but spent more than a decade in the Marine Corps during the same time frame as Reacher's fictional army service (depending on which fictional Reacher we're talking about), essentially got out due to the same Reductions in Force (after my first eight years, I kept getting offered six-month extensions instead of a second full contract, and at a certain point I tapped out rather than go through the extension rigmarole any more, taking an honorable discharge as an E-5 who probably should have been an E-6, but you know, I was kind of a troublemaker) ... 

... and I don't think I drank a drop of coffee for most of my Marine Corps career.

I tried black coffee -- probably Taster's Choice instant -- as a kid, decided it tasted like hot water and wasn't interesting, and just never got around to it again. Until.

When I was dating my second wife, circa 1993-94, we were walking around downtown Springfield, Missouri, and it came up that I didn't drink coffee because yada yada yada. So she took me to a real coffee place (it was called Mudhouse) and got me one of them there fru-fru drinks, and I've been a coffee fiend ever since.

I'll drink pretty much any coffee with some vanilla or sweet cream type creamer in it, but I prefer a dark roast if it's a coarse grind coffee, and I prefer Cafe Bustelo Cuban-style espresso grind to a coarse grind, even if I'm brewing it in my Keurig or my French press, rather than my espresso machine.

I've never had a real espresso machine, mind you. I've gone through a couple of the el cheapos, and last weekend I scored a seemingly brand-new, apparently unused (it still had the "clean after every use" tag hanging from the frothing attachment, etc.) el cheapo (Mr. Coffee brand) at a garage sale.

So right now, I start my morning with four shots of espresso (about 300 mg of caffeine versus 65-120 mg per cup of "regular" coffee depending on grind, brew technique, etc.) and some sweet cream flavored creamer. I usually go back for at least one more four-shot serving of that in the morning, four more shots over ice in the afternoon, and perhaps a cup or six of "regular" coffee at other times of day. I've been trying to remind myself not to drink coffee (or at least not four-shot pots of espresso) after 6pm, but sometimes I slip.

I've considered trying to match Honore de Balzac's consumption (rumored to have been around 50 cups per day) to see if it causes me to write at his pace (30 words per minute, seven hours per day), but I find the idea a little scary.

A few years ago, a research study I enrolled in referred me to a hepatologist because my liver tests came back a little off. The hepatologist didn't find anything wrong, but dropped the tip that drinking lots and lots of coffee is apparently good for the liver. So that's my excuse, if I need one.

As for Reacher, well, look ... the novels aren't especially believable, but they're enjoyable in a "crack cocaine version of literature" kind of way. And while I was never an Army MP, there's a ... verisimilitude ... in the descriptions of military life that tends to click with me. The coffee is part of that verisimilitude. My brother probably drank a million pots of coffee during his Marine Corps career, and drinks it by the gallon to this day, and he's happy with Maxwell House, the coffee that the US armed forces buys in bulk. His wife is a shill for Starbucks beans ground immediately prior to brewing and scoffs at his uncultured ways, but hey, if it makes him happy, it makes him happy.

Well, it's after 8pm, and writing this has made me really want four shots of espresso. But I'll try to resist.

Hope that this post makes the grade, Thane.

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