By Lisa Sugarman
Damn I’ve been feeling sluggish all day. Kinda like I’m walking around half-cocked but for no apparent reason. And I can’t seem to put my finger on why. It’s sorta like I just don’t have enough gas in the tank. But I’ve retraced my steps since this morning and I can’t figure out where I went wrong.
I mean, I ate the same two sunny side up eggs and half a grapefruit I always eat. I took my coconut oil, drank my lukewarm lemon water, and ate my horse pill of a multi vitamin, so there’s really no obvious explanation for why my four-mile run felt like death and I’m confusing my kids’ names more than usual.
Then it hits me… I FORGOT TO DRINK MY COFFEE. Oh my God! Of all the things that a person—let alone a parent—just cannot afford to do, it’s forget their morning coffee. And that’s because without an injection of caffeine to heighten our focus, boost our energy, dull our kids’ voices, and soothe our mood, we’re nothing but slow, scattered, and irritable. You know it’s true.
How could I be so careless? So stupid. It’s not like someone would ever attempt to drive a car on an empty tank. Or read a pill bottle without their bifocals. Or wear flip flops without appropriately manicured toes. And yet, somehow, I missed the one single thing that pretty much sits on the tip top of everyone’s daily priority list. Coffee.
I must’ve been really engrossed or distracted to make a mistake that big.
I think we both know the answer. If you’re a guy, you’d probably spray on an extra layer of Axe, make sure your fly was zipped, and sprint to the closest barista. And if you’re a girl, you’d unload a can of dry shampoo on your scalp and be in line right behind the guy wearing too much Axe. Point being that there are very few things most of us wouldn’t sacrifice to guarantee that we’re sufficiently caffeinated every day.
And I think the reason most people will agree that they simply cannot function without a daily infusion of coffee is because coffee is almost, in a bizarre sort of way, like liquid armor. It safeguards you from the craziness around you. The craziness at work, at home, and everywhere in between.
Think about it. Aren’t you always better equipped to handle a screaming infant when you’ve had a double shot of espresso? Hell yeah. Or your self-absorbed teenage daughter who sees no reason why all of her clothes shouldn’t permanently live on the floor of her bedroom. Or, can you imagine having to interact with the judgmental mom clique at your toddler’s playgroup without having a solid caffeine buzz on? Of course not. No one in their right mind would ever subject themselves to that kind of scrutiny decaffeinated. Proof that most of the crap we deal with is just easier to handle while sipping a Venti White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha.
USA Today confirms that 83 percent of adults drink coffee every day. USA Today, not The Enquirer. So my argument for coffee being the mainstay of a functioning society has real legs. Just the simple act of smelling coffee is proven to reduce stress. So right there it’s already a credible and known crutch for managing daily life. And considering a caffeine high is both real and legal, it’s the closest thing to a non-gateway drug most of us have to get us through the day.
And as if you weren’t already convinced it was liquid gold, “coffee allows your brain to work in a much more efficient and smarter way,” says TIME reporter, Michael Lemonick. “When you’re sleep-deprived and you take caffeine, pretty much anything you measure will improve: reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning—most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence.”
Oh yeah, and a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health determined that drinking between two and four cups of coffee a day can actually reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about fifty percent. The reason being that coffee acts as a mild antidepressant by aiding in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and non-adrenaline. Too technical for me, but I like and appreciate the bottom line.
Plus, coffee is also proven to improve your athletic performance because it stimulates the brain and contributes to clearer thinking and greater concentration. Uh, winning!
What does all this boil down to? Simple. Forget your pants, forget your deodorant, your makeup, your iPhone, or your toupee. But do not, above all else, forget your coffee. Cause I promise you, forgetting it will be just like jumping out of a plane and forgetting your chute—the crash is always gonna be ugly.
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at select Whole Foods stores.