Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Deconstructionist: America's Coffee Problem

Revealing the horrible truths behind the simplest pleasures in your life since 2007.

Why is addiction always presented as a bad, awful thing except where coffee is concerned? Why are alcohol, cigarettes, prescription meds, black tar heroin, and so many other generally harmless entertainments vilified and even considered illegal when it’s okay for They Might Be Giants to spout cheery little tunes about how if you don’t get just the right dosage of coffee in the morning, your world soon collapses into a broken-down, black-and-white traveling-carnival-world filled with leering ghosts and jagged, broken scenery?

We all know that a world without your morning joe is a place where the light hurts your eyes and the shadows hold monsters, where your bowels clench tight, inert as a fertilizer bomb missing the one catalyst that makes the explosion possible, and you blunder through your day, torpid and disorientated, like a raccoon in the final stages of rabies, turning small circles in a suburban driveway at 7:30 a.m., too muddled to retreat from the sunlight, ready to attack anything that comes too close.

And then the headache begins.

That’s the real face of coffee, folks: Billions of people need it every day to just to get to normal, and if their supplies were somehow cut off, that impairment would last for days.

So why is it okay to market coffee this way—to brag, as it were, that people are hooked and can’t do anything about it? To even celebrate this fact? What if cigarette or beer manufacturers took the same approach? “The shaking will stop if you can just have a another smoke. Then all of this won’t look so bad.” or “A few beers, and it will all seem better. You’ll be able to face your loved ones!”

I believe there would be some sort of public outcry.

Yet They Might Be Giants can croon about how America Runs on Dunkin’ till the urn percolates, revealing our nation’s greatest weakness and paving the way for a global shift of power that would rock the world in a way not seen since the first Monsters of Rock brought Rainbow, the Scorpions, and Judas Priest together for one sultry summer night of bee-swallowing majesty.

Flash forward to 2035: The United States has solved its oil dependency through a series of invasions and by making illegal for poor people to own things that use gas.

Yet while our shortsighted republican leaders have focused on the Middle East, the coffee-producing countries of South America have formed an international cabal, with control of coffee beans at the heart of their power: The South American Nation Coffee Alliance (or Sanca for short)

Juan Valdez governs from a mansion high in the Andes Mountains. His wealth and power are absolute. Finding the rigors of Christianity limiting to a man who has himself become a god, he converts to the religions of his ancestors. X'tapalapaquetl, Olmec god of war, appear on the new Peso.

This new world power flexes its might by setting coffee prices at a record high. A latte costs $150, a Box o’ Joe, $2000. A pound of coffee is out of reach of all but the most affluent Americans, but since the nation’s wealthy are doted on by the Romney administration (he finally made it!), no one of any importance raises an outcry, until a lack of caffeine slows America to a crawl.

By 2035, all industrial and manufacturing jobs have long since been shipped overseas, and the only jobs left are in the service industry. Still, the nation reels as the domestic workforce slows to a crawl: burgers go unflipped, bathrooms are left un-cleaned, limousines unwashed, assistants fail to return with the $150 lattes the powerful sent them out for earlier this morning.

America’s rulers deal with the problem in the same old ways: threats, bluster, spying on their own citizens, lying to the U.N.

Juan Valdez laughs at these efforts, and speaks those words made terrible by Master Blaster: ‘Embargo on!’

Completely cut off from coffee, the United States soon knows the pain of Bartertown: the nation plummets into a black hole of lethargy, brain-fog and constipation. Hyperactive young children easily overthrow their lethargic parents and assume control of the country. The nightmarishly ironic ending of the oscar-nominated 1968 ‘Wild in the Streets’ becomes terrible fact.

But it doesn’t last forever. After six days, the fog clears, the scales are lifted. The nation’s underclass (basically the entire population, less about a hundred thousand Friends of Mitt’s), now free of their caffeine addiction and able to go more than two hours without urinating, replace the shattered government with a new vision, one built on fairness and the will of the people, and all is well for several months until the new ruling class decides to legalize marijuana.

Gordon Weir doesn’t have a caffeine problem and thinks you should mind your own fucking business, asshole. Who do you think you are? He can quit any time he wants.

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