Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Drugs



I take only two drugs, way under my basic allotment as an older American, and the nanny state wants to rip them away. And here I've never abused either one. Or not so as either of them has complained.

They are caffeine and alcohol, and they are the steadfast and reliable tools of my life kit. One shovels me out of bed in the morning, and the other slides me into bed at night, frequently my own. They pry open my day, springing it loose from my dull dreams; the first drug setting it up with little trumpetings, the last rearranging my very molecules into a soothing shape, gold-hued and a little foamy on top. It works for me.

I did quit both drugs for a time, although not simultaneously. I quit caffeine before I had my first mammogram when the doctor told me it would eliminate breast tenderness. And I had that bad. At the time I couldn't jog without a Spandex block-and-tackle, and was forced to take both hands off the steering wheel to immobilize myself whenever I went over a pothole. The prospect of pouring my breasts out onto a medical griddle to pancake thickness did not appeal. I quit coffee, and as promised the entire problem went away. This was so impressive I remained off the sauce for over a year. Then Starbucks arrived on the scene and one day a co-worker bought me a cup of joe that gave my entire psyche a woody. I was so entertaining that morning that someone bought me coffee every day for a while, like they'd put a quarter in the pinball machine, until I got accustomed to it and was no funnier than anyone else.

The beer I quit for over a year, too, but the less said about that interlude, the better. It was like the Dark Ages, every day of it still clear in my memory, which is not optimal, and certainly not the way I intend to conduct my life. I owe my entire pleasant disposition to a state of perpetually renewed amnesia. This has allowed me to fend off religion, too, since I remain untouched by existential dread.

Evidently the problem the FDA is having with my drugs is when they are mixed together in a high-alcohol, high-caffeine drink. I have always kept those bad boys apart by a judicious interval of tap water, and the concept of combining them does not appeal to me. The danger of the combo is that the caffeine props the imbiber up enough that he does not notice the alcohol. Instead of crumpling languidly into a heap, he will actually hit the sidewalk running, forehead first, and then remain fully awake during the blackout, which can be emotionally scarring. Partakers can be spotted when they stagger at such a great speed that they look like Charlie Chaplin, only without the genius.

There are a number of these drinks on the market, so let's just call it Zip-A-Dee Dodo. Their purveyors are unmoved by claims of danger. "We have repeatedly contended that the combination of alcohol and caffeine is safe," says a representative, nervously snicking the retractable bayonet on his pistol.

One 16-ounce can of the leading brand contains 18 ounces of liquor and 24 ounces of caffeine in a buffer of high-voltage corn syrup. The effect on the consumer is the same as can be achieved more easily by a baseball bat, with about the same amount of cleanup. I'm not motivated to try it. When it comes to my drugs, I'm a purist. The period of time between my coffee and my beer is what I call my "day." If you have your caffeine at the same time as your alcohol, you're liable to miss your whole day. I guess that's the point, though.

45 comments:

  1. These are my drugs of choice too!

    I drink so little and so rarely that I could give up alcohol and not even notice. But take away my coffee and I won't answer for what happens. And combining them is ridiculous. Like fusing cat and dog DNA or grafting a pear onto a banana tree. Why have two great things in one when they're already perfect individually?

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  2. Oh Murr, once again you help me start my day with laughter...I, too, take only two drugs that I separate with my "day."

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  3. I must live under a rock -- or in Canada -- or both. Never heard of this. But it's cold out, and I pull my toque down low. (A toque is a wool hat. Not all Americans know this. One blogger called it a toboggan, but up here, we slide down hills on toboggans.)

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  4. Anvilcloud, if you were drinkin' Zip-A-Dee Dodo, you might slide downhill on your toque, too!

    I've never had one of those drinks, but in my younger years, achieved the same effect through other means, which means shall remain anonymous. I no longer drink alcohol, but coffee! O Coffee! How could I do without thee?

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  5. I drink caffeine every day and once got myself clear of it for a year. But once I started, I might not have been as entertaining as you were, but darned close. And every night I have ONE glass of wine to end my day, same as you. I have followed the goings on with the aforementioned beverage. Glad your drugs will remain safe. Thanks for the smiles!

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  6. Sadly, menopause has put a near end on my enjoyment of alcohol. Nothing brings on a hot flash faster that a drink. At which point, I turn into a sweaty mess. *sigh* Someday, I will again be able to enjoy a glass of wine.

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  7. So, I going to comment on strange things--having had my morning cup of coffee.
    Who is following you around the house taking all these photos of you holding liquid? Hmmm--that's what I'd be worried about.
    And Villa-Lobos--you have a book on your piano of Villa-Lobos? Damn, you must have a concert pianist in the house.

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  8. You are looking adorable in that haircut with your lil' uggs and akluk (sp?)!

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  9. But, but , but, Kahlua in coffee? Chambourd in hot chocolate? Irish Cream in either--or both? Are you not aware of the warmth, joy, and ability to keep hauling wood into the house (or whatever else needs to be done) that each of these bring?
    Now chocolate and strawberries--that's a combo that should be outlawed!

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  10. Give me chocolate & strawberries or give me death!

    I'm one of the chorus here of people who wish they could still drink. I can't sleep if I drink even a beer, any more; and if I don't sleep I catch colds, and I hate having colds. So once a year or so I'll live it up and have a couple pints or a couple glasses of wine. So fun!

    And then I'll be up all night and catch cold. But my coffee in the morning makes me cheerful anyway.

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  11. Anvil: let's just call it a Noggin Toboggan.

    Unmitigated, I have a bottle of wine here for you when you're done. Come over and we'll make a toast.

    I dunno, Kat. You make a point, but all those things are still better taken separately. Not that I'd turn it down.

    KG, I thought I was the only one who embiggens photos to scavenge details of people's lives! One day Dr. House will trip on over here and find a wayward artery or something.

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  12. Back in my early days I was having coffee for my afternoon break meeting at work, thought the coffee was buzzing me so I switched to Mountain Dew. I had no clue that it was laced with so much caffeine the inside of the can is lined with lead.

    One day I started feeling woozy, had to lie on the floor of my office, my peripheral vision looked like the passing stars in the Starship Enterprise. My employees told me I began "talking in tongues". It took me two days to come down from the high - but I got a weeks worth of work done.

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  13. Murr: I am so glad you stopped by to see me. Now I know exactly where to go for a really smart, hardy (and hearty) laugh. Same drugs here, too - morning and eve. Oh, and the water - streaming H20 - tops in tonic tie-in. ;)

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  14. I don't know how you do it. How in the world do you so casually hit the funny button, dead-on, every single time? Hmmm, I wonder if I could start forwarding your blog to everyone in my address book. Way, way, more enjoyable than all those forwarded thingmies people send me daily.

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  15. Murr, I actually had to stop and snort! How do you come up with stuff like, "a cup of joe that gave my entire psyche a woody"?? I'm still laughing. Really!

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  16. I am not going to bore you with what I drink or don't drink. You rock! The stuff you come up with is amazing. It's swell to read something and be able to laugh out loud. Are you good at stand up too?

    AND your haircut looks very good!

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  17. The drugs of choice here, too. (But I've eased-off on the coffee lately-it's too hot most of the day for coffee.)

    Nice piano, by the way.

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  18. Another perfectly turned post! Oh, the dirty little secrets of caffeine. Coming down off the high of my 7 AM cup at 10:30, wanting to open a vein, but deciding to have another cup instead. That was cool. And then there was having to hit the bathroom sixteen times a day, to produce 1/2 thimble of pee each time. That was neat. And then there was having to grab myself just to go down a flight of stairs. Trying not to forget and do it in public. I have enough manic mood swings without it, thanks. Fie upon Starbucks for the aroma that floats out onto the sidewalk, ever tantalizing; I've been clean for 15 years and will stay clean. Of caffeine. Unmitigated me, say it ain't so.

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  19. Every morning my in-house barrista boy wakes me up with "your coffee's on the table" and I stagger out to a perfect lattée. Nose buried in foam, I read the morning's emails. Sometimes the combination of a new post from Murr and a gorgeous lattée achieves that lovely state in the psyche described above. Life is good.

    Like the haircut too...yousa lookin' good, Murr ma'am!

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  20. Given that these drinks are the trifecta of frequent urination (caffiene, alcohol, and a can the size of a yurt) they wouldn't do much for me other than help me memorize the sexual hijinks of whoever has been editorialized on the bathroom walls.

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  21. That's just not right. I have stopped caffeine a few times and finally decided there was no real point to that. And then I also didn't drink alcohol for four years as a mindfulness exercise. Ditto the no-point realization. Now I am glad to have coffee and wine/beer in my life.

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  22. So, there's Bach on the wall, Villa-Lobos on the music rack, and Who, exactly, next to it? Can't make out the face of that little white man. But, it ought to be Beethoven. I'm just sayin'. On account of it being his birthday and all. He's on MY piano, and it makes up for the fact that I never touch the keys anymore. (Yes, it does. I looked it up.) I love the haircut, but I'll miss the braid, won't you? And thanks for reminding me of the bliss that comes of not having to think about super-sensitivity in the ta-tas anymore.

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  23. Righto, Happy Beethoven's Birthday! It's not he. It's Chopin, with a look of horror on his face for what he hears coming out of my beautiful instrument. I should get a closeup of him for you. I don't have to miss the braid. I still have it. The little sick kids can wait.

    And nothing takes the sting out of a good alcohol-induced hot flash like a cold beer.

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  24. Oh, I forgot. EVE? That would be horrible if you started sending Murrmurrs to everyone in your address book, and if you were here right now, I'd have to smack you with a box of chocolates. And that goes for the rest of you, too.

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  25. Lovely haircut, m'dear. Very becoming, as they say. Coffee is the elixir of life. I love the aroma and only forgo it when my stomach's too stressed. Tea with a wee bit a milk in it is my afternoon and evening choice. So I guess I'm just a caffeine fool! Beer's ok now and then but it's always been an acquired taste.

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  26. Peet's Coffee, the Major Dickason's Blend; so good, we got a monthly order delivered from San Francisco.

    And, to bookend the day, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc. Or Kim Crawford.

    Do we know how to live, or what?

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  27. I'm confused by this sentence: "One 16-ounce can of the leading brand contains 18 ounces of liquor and 24 ounces of caffeine in a buffer of high-voltage corn syrup." Wouldn't it have to be a 42-ounce can?

    I tend to fixate on small shit. It's a curse.

    I love your description of the time between the caffeine and alcohol being your "day."

    This stuff sounds so gross. And people thought we kids of the 60s were putting strange crap into our bodies.

    And apparently, we like to start and end our days the same way. It's so civilized I think.

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  28. the jedi mind control of drugs is a funny thing. I've given up alcohol for years at a time when i was busy doing things that would be disrupted by excessive stumbling, barfing and repetitive conversation.

    But I tried knocking coffee, and by day four, when I picked up a puppy and swung it at a one legged blind man because he was smiling, I knew there was no getting that monkey off my back.

    Now, hopped up on the culturally approved amphetamine by day, and sedately burbly by night, there is a smooth operational balance.

    but you're right, never the twain should meet

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  29. Jayne, you are right to be suspicious, but this is VERY pow'ful stuff. And you're right also: we are civilized. Civilization is all a matter of correct drug selection.

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  30. You know I love how you write, but I gotta say half the fun is reading how you inspire your readers to respond!

    Anvil; this language thing is indeed weird. I'm a Yankee (PA) married to a Southerner (NC). Not only has he asked if I had a toboggan (meaning a hat of all things!!!) he's also asked for a hose pipe. Turned out I had both, when translated back to Yankglish. I blinked, but grokked it when he told me he had 'a hitch in his git-along' one day when his hip hurt. After 14 yrs together, we've come to speak the same language most of the time...

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  31. We must use the same drug dealer, the supermarket. As you may have noticed, the coffee and beer sit several aisles apart, separated like two unruly punks in a classroom.

    Starbuck's gave my psyche a woody, too. LOL!

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  32. I don't do Starbucks...and my daughter has stopped dragging me there. It seems that it is Starbucks sacrilege to order, "Coffee. Black. Strong. No extra weird stuff in it."

    And that is the way I must have my coffee every morning. In fact, I figure that is the primary reason I enjoy mornings so much.

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  33. As a former addiction counselor vehemently opposed to Mo' Loco (or whatever that stuff is called) I've gotta tell ya that I like your style. But of course you knew that already.

    I read it to My-Wife-The-Shrink, and we howled. I gotta say, though, the first paragraph of the "Mormon" post that follows this one is the funniest thing you've written yet,IMNSHO.

    It just gets better and better.

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  34. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to think someone, somewhere, is howling over this stuff. Oh wait, I just did.

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  35. I don't drink coffee, I rarely drink alcohol and I only used meth once, although continually, like right now, bitch, so stop staring at me.

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  36. Lovely haircut, m'dear. Very becoming, as they say. Coffee is the elixir of life. I love the aroma and only forgo it when my stomach's too stressed. Tea with a wee bit a milk in it is my afternoon and evening choice. So I guess I'm just a caffeine fool! Beer's ok now and then but it's always been an acquired taste.

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  37. You know I love how you write, but I gotta say half the fun is reading how you inspire your readers to respond!

    Anvil; this language thing is indeed weird. I'm a Yankee (PA) married to a Southerner (NC). Not only has he asked if I had a toboggan (meaning a hat of all things!!!) he's also asked for a hose pipe. Turned out I had both, when translated back to Yankglish. I blinked, but grokked it when he told me he had 'a hitch in his git-along' one day when his hip hurt. After 14 yrs together, we've come to speak the same language most of the time...

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  38. I'm confused by this sentence: "One 16-ounce can of the leading brand contains 18 ounces of liquor and 24 ounces of caffeine in a buffer of high-voltage corn syrup." Wouldn't it have to be a 42-ounce can?

    I tend to fixate on small shit. It's a curse.

    I love your description of the time between the caffeine and alcohol being your "day."

    This stuff sounds so gross. And people thought we kids of the 60s were putting strange crap into our bodies.

    And apparently, we like to start and end our days the same way. It's so civilized I think.

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  39. Anvil: let's just call it a Noggin Toboggan.

    Unmitigated, I have a bottle of wine here for you when you're done. Come over and we'll make a toast.

    I dunno, Kat. You make a point, but all those things are still better taken separately. Not that I'd turn it down.

    KG, I thought I was the only one who embiggens photos to scavenge details of people's lives! One day Dr. House will trip on over here and find a wayward artery or something.

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  40. Elizabeth BrewsterApril 5, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    You are looking adorable in that haircut with your lil' uggs and akluk (sp?)!

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  41. Sadly, menopause has put a near end on my enjoyment of alcohol. Nothing brings on a hot flash faster that a drink. At which point, I turn into a sweaty mess. *sigh* Someday, I will again be able to enjoy a glass of wine.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anvilcloud, if you were drinkin' Zip-A-Dee Dodo, you might slide downhill on your toque, too!

    I've never had one of those drinks, but in my younger years, achieved the same effect through other means, which means shall remain anonymous. I no longer drink alcohol, but coffee! O Coffee! How could I do without thee?

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  43. Oh Murr, once again you help me start my day with laughter...I, too, take only two drugs that I separate with my "day."

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