Every weekday morning before work I stop at the coffee cart in front of my office building. The proprietor is a deft multi-tasker and pours me an excellent cup of java, finds two Sweet ‘N Lows, adds a small amount of milk and makes my change all while discussing the merits and shortcomings of every member of a certain fifty percent of the species that happens to wander by. For my own part (I’m not under oath or anything), I attempt to educate him on the #MeToo movement, and discuss alternative body-positive imaging philosophies with him.

Who has the best coffee? Some say Starbucks. There they don’t have counter people, they have “baristas,” and that fancy name alone will cost you about two extra dollars a cup. They can serve you something called a “Cloud Macchiato,” which is a coffee-related substance with a “light, airy ‘cloud’ of cold milk foam, topped with espresso shots and a caramel drizzle.” It sounds more like a weather forecast than a cup of coffee, and just saying the words “Cloud Macchiato” inside a Starbucks will cost you Fourbucks, Tenbucks if you actually order it.

My wife can’t pass by a Dunkin’ Donuts without yelling, “DUNKIN’ DONUTS!” Meaning that she wants me to stop there but knows I will not, because she hasn’t finished that huge cup from the last time we stopped. I think McDonald’s actually has great coffee. It’s not as hot as it used to be, because a lady sued McDonald’s and won $2.7 million back in 1994 because she poured hot coffee onto her crotch and was hospitalized for eight days. I’ve never spilled hot coffee in my crotch but only because it had never occurred to me, and for that reason I haven’t worn white pants since 1994. 

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On the weekend I make my own coffee. To make things easier, I purchased an automatic coffee maker that grinds its own beans and then brews a perfect cup of liquid bliss every time, at least according to the ad. When I bought this machine I figured that since it was automatic, it could go up into the mountains of Peru with Juan Valdez, on its own donkey, harvest the coffee beans and figure the rest out on its own. But the coffee maker immediately began to push most of the responsibility back on me, and we had a big argument about it. I’M supposed to get the coffee beans, I’M supposed to set the automatic timer, I’M supposed to change the filter, I’M supposed to put water into the reservoir and I’M supposed to adjust the strength of the brew. There is even a setting for cup size. What do I know about cup size? If I had to guess I would say I wear a size 36 double-A, but I don’t want it pinching at my sides.  That’s a lot of steps to go through, not the kind of thing I would normally undertake without having a cup of coffee first.

Restaurants never bring me a hot enough cup of coffee. Unlike the Kardashians, in my opinion there is no such thing as too hot. If I pour the coffee onto my crotch and don’t sue you, it’s not hot enough. Don’t forget to bring the sugar and cream with the coffee, and by the time they arrive the cup is cold again, so I ask them politely to microwave it for me. Don’t worry, I leave a 25 percent tip (on the coffee part of the bill). Now my coffee is back, piping hot, YAY! For some reason the coffee cup has a teeny-tiny handle that is not big enough for me to put my finger through, so I have to hold the cup in my hand, sustaining third degree burns while maintaining my “YAY!” face, because my wife has been looking at me this whole time waiting patiently for me to change into someone else.

I even had a dog once that actually liked coffee. I know this because I left a cup sitting nearby as I was playing tennis, and she lapped it up without even putting in cream or sugar. My tennis did not improve that day, but my dog started barking in run-on sentences and moved up her entire schedule for the day, which consisted of sleeping, then a short nap, and some rest. After that day she always has a cup of coffee in the morning along with a cigarette and a copy of the New York Times.

Is all this coffee good for me? YES! Studies have shown coffee drinkers less prone to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. They have fewer strokes and fewer heart rhythm problems. Other studies have shown that statistically, you’ll more than likely drop dead after your next cup. The same thing happened with the poison industry, when it came to light that poison was bad for you. The Poison Producer’s Association threatened to sue the FDA for millions of dollars, but unfortunately they all passed away before the case went to trial.

Join Rick and the No Options band for some St. Patrick’s Day Rock & Roll, Saturday evening, March 16, 9 p.m. at Lucy’s Lounge, 446 Bedford Road in Pleasantville

Say hello at: rlife8@hotmail.com