'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
COFFEE JUNKIE NEEDS A FIX
Our coffee maker died the other day. I set up the machine exactly as I do each morning—first the filter, then a couple scoops of ground coffee, then water—and flipped the button to the “on” position. (I learned in the past that if I’m not paying attention and do things out of sequence—for example: first a couple scoops of ground coffee, then the filter, then water—the final product has a somewhat robust and crunchy flavor. Which actually isn’t so bad except for the coffee grounds stuck in my teeth for the rest of the day.)
When I came back into the kitchen ten minutes later, I was startled to see that there was nothing in the coffee pot. I shrieked as if I was Homer Simpson noticing that the donut box was empty. (On second thought, I shrieked as if I was Bill Dunn noticing that the donut box was empty.) How could I possibly start the day—how could I possibly go on living!—without coffee in the morning?
Then I saw a sizable puddle of liquid emanating from the base of the coffee maker and spreading out over the kitchen counter. I touched it with my finger; it was warm. In the early morning darkness I couldn’t tell if it was clear warm water, or brown warm water which had passed through the ground coffee. There was only one way to find out, but if you don’t mind, I’d rather not say whether I resorted to such a desperate measure. (I’d like to point out, however, that when you combine the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. with a caffeine-starved bloodstream, even the most noble and respected citizens will find it difficult to refrain from licking the Formica. Let he among you without sin cast the first stone…)
Anyway, it turned out to be just warm water. Before you say, “Ewww!” let me point out that just before I started lapping like a dehydrated dog, I remembered I could also identify the liquid by turning on the kitchen light, which I did. (Have you ever noticed that as far as your eyes are concerned, turning on the kitchen light at 5:30 a.m. is a lot like staring at a nuclear detonation?)
I quickly got dressed, jumped into my car, and began a frantic search for something, anything, hot and black and liquidy. I would’ve drained the oil from my car’s engine, but it hadn’t heated up enough at that point.
My first stop was a nearby convenience store. To my horror, it was closed. A sign on the front door read, “Hours of operation: 6 AM to Midnight, 7 days per week.” I pounded the steering wheel in frustration. “Slackers!” I yelled. “Doesn’t anyone have a decent work ethic anymore?!”
My next stop was a Dunkin Donuts, where thankfully, mercifully, I was able to satiate my caffeine craving. After some reflection, I’d like to offer a couple of belated apologies: to the young lady behind the counter, I didn’t mean to splash hot coffee on your arm when I reached across the counter and yanked the cup out of your hand as you attempted to secure the travel lid. That type of burn should heal fairly quickly. And to the elderly lady who was standing to my left as I approached the counter, I didn’t mean to hip-check you to the floor, but I was next in line. That type of fracture should heal fairly quickly.
On the way home from work that evening, I stopped by Wal-Mart and was pleased to find coffee makers on sale for $25. When I arrived home, my wife was kind of upset that I had charged $150 on our credit card. I’m not sure why she was angry. Based on what I went through that morning, it didn’t strike me as unreasonable to have five emergency back-up coffee makers.
I wonder what she’ll say when I tell her I just bought a Dunkin Donuts franchise.
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