• 32°

Al Batt: I don’t know beans about anything related to coffee

Tales from Exit 22 by Al Batt

 

It’s not rated “E” for everyone.

I’ve been told the world runs on coffee and bad decisions.

Sip, sip, hooray! People drink coffee with such gusto and delight, I have an urge to drink it. Then I remember the taste. How do I like my coffee? I don’t. It won’t dent the coffee table economy, but I don’t drink coffee. All my taste buds, except Maynard, find coffee bitter.

My mother had tremendous culinary prowess. She excelled in meats, potatoes, hotdishes and desserts. She made strong coffee. Strong enough that a single sip could make the dead sit up and take notice. You had to shake the cup to get the spoon to fall out of it. I’m not sure where she learned inspiration came in a strong cuppa — from her Swedish-born mother or her father born in Germany.

At a predetermined age, each child in my family was allowed the privilege of drinking coffee. “It’ll put hair on your chest,” my mother advised as words of encouragement. I couldn’t make any cracks about her drinking a chest hair-potion because she was my mother.

Coffee simmered on the stove all day in her kitchen. It poured from the pot like oil from a truck during an oil change. I drank one cup and couldn’t sleep for nine days.

My kind hosts frequently pour a cup of coffee as a welcome. I try hard not to look as if someone had let the air out of my marshmallow. I don’t mean to be ungrateful, and I feel like a cad in declining their kind offer. I apologize profusely. I’ve tried to drink coffee and quickly learned I wasn’t good at it. No joe for this schmo.

Charles Atlas had been a 97-pound weakling until he started drinking coffee. Or not. Atlas peddled a 12-lesson course of exercises featuring Dynamic-Tension done without setting foot in a gym. Dynamic-Tension is a self-resistance exercise method that pits muscle against muscle. An individual tenses the muscles of a given body part and moves that body part against the tension as if a hefty weight were being lifted. I used that technique the last time I attempted to drink coffee. My arm’s muscles tensed against the cup.

The coffee of those thrilling days of yesteryear didn’t come in a slew of flavors as it does today. I’d need a webinar to learn how to order coffee. Incredibly, there was no pumpkin spice coffee back then. In these enlightened days, we have pumpkin spice underarm deodorant. In the barbaric days of my youth only milk, cream, butter, sugar or ketchup were added to the java. OK, I lied about the ketchup, but it might be worth trying. Salt or eggs could be added to combat the bitterness. Mother favored black coffee. I could drink by pouring a gallon of milk into the cup. I figured I’d just as well drink milk without coffee.

An 8-year-old friend got a pack of cigarettes one year when he was trick-or-treating. He said he wished he’d gotten a cup of coffee instead because the cigarettes weren’t his brand. We teepeed that homeowner’s place. It took forever to put up that huge wigwam over a house.

We see what pumpkins made the cut. Trick or treat or smell my feet. Our leaders offer tricky treaties, but a house is easy to decorate for Halloween. Never sweep any cobwebs away.

“Boy, I hope they have circus peanuts or candy corn,” said no trick-or-treater ever. Unless he’s one of those who butters his candy corn. Halloween is when time is candy. When you buy Halloween candy to hand out as an adult, you are paying for all the free candy you got when you were a kid. Halloween is when all licensed drivers operate Booicks, Boogattis or Maliboos. Grumpy givers threaten to give out M&M’s one at a time or toss something into a bag and say, “I hope you like liver.”

I wasn’t gluing an edgy costume together this year. I’d planned on shaving my eyebrows, drawing some arching brows in their places and going as someone who is surprised to be there.

At home, my wife was going to get rid of those fast-food ketchup packets. We have a plethora of those packets because my wife loves to turn french fries into ketchup spoons. That’s why we don’t get any trick-or-treaters at our humble abode. We should give out coffee.

Halloween was going to be a big day.

Oct. 31 still will be.

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday.