Some things you can give up. And some things you can’t.
Mo and I have decided to become vetegarians. Actually we became vegetarians, but it’s quite early and I haven’t had my coffee, and vetegarians does seem to have a mysterious ring to it.
I was reading Jurek’s book in which he traces the path from animal-killing Minnesota boy to Clif bar enthusiast. I drifted back to the days of my misspent youth in which I was a hardcore veggie for many years. It’s easy to be an enthusiastic veggie in Austin, although I still have bay leaf nightmares.
I’ve been haunted by a TED talk by someone who studied how animals grieve, and the complex emotions they have. And we eat them?
At the same time, Mo has been increasingly guilted by the Goats of Anarchy, who point out constantly that they’re rehabbing the little fellows even as we eat them.
I don’t think it will be hard. A little more planning, a bit more cooking, a dash of restraint. Season as necessary. I can even get past the part where he says he doesn’t like margarine.
The Jurek book pointed me to a tome by Andrew Weil, alternative medicine guru and Santa wanna be. It’s an eight-week program to improving your health. I started into it cautiously. A bit too mumbo jumbo for my tastes, but he has a lot of the same principles. Making small changes in the diet, exercise, breathing, cleaning things up. He wants me to ignore the news one day a week, which is hard when you’re a journalist but increasingly easy when your president is staging Dr. Strangelove the live show. So maybe.
Give up coffee, he says.
I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that, the prophet Jim Steinman wrote. I believe this explains what he was talking about in the song.
I suppose it’s theoretically possible to exist without coffee, but why? That first cup in the morning, the shot of adrenaline before the morning run, the one cup per edition throughout the evening editing process. The joy of the West Texas truck stops at 3 a.m. The ritualistic family gathering at 8 a.m. The memories of an all-night Denny’s with bottomless cups and the realization you would never, ever get to sleep. The sheer coffeeness of it all.
I’m thinking about all this as I stare at the coffee pot this morning. Can I do it? And then I notice Mo has left poison next to the pot. Did she notice that I had eaten one of her Klondike bars last night? Did she give up on trying to kill me with cadmium in the meat loaf and opt instead for pouring stain remover into the Seattle’s Best? Is it weird that Meat Loaf sang “I would do anything for that?”
Finally, a good reason to give up coffee.
But of course, I don’t. I inhale the first cup. And now the second. And I still seem to be alive. And if I have to die, let it be with a coffee mug in my hand.
Sorry, Dr. Weil. I can give up meat and junk food and maybe even the NYT for a day. But you have to draw the line somewhere.
Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos, the prophet Kardong wrote. I would humbly add coffee to the list.
I would do anything for love. But I won’t do that.