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April 30, 2005 - 3:43 pm


This just inÖ
(reprinted without permission from The Onion, March 23, 2005)


HUEHUETENANGO, GUATEMALAóCarmen Harroyo spends 16 hours a day picking coffee beans, but the weather-beaten 17-year-old said Monday that she is glad to do it if it helps give a single coffee drinker a much-needed morning boost. "I make $2 a day and share a room with my five sisters, but all the hard work is worth it if I help just one American suburbanite jumpstart her day," Harroyo said, batting away a swarm of mosquitoes. "I appreciate the opportunity to touch another person's life." Harroyo said she dreams of someday helping people get their antioxidants by picking sticks from bushels of green tea until her fingers bleed.

I tried a new kind of coffee the last time I grocery shopped. Itís a black-as-ashes breakfast blend from some third world country and itís kind of expensive so it must be good, right? Iím starting to think it may be a little stronger than the Folgers that comes in a big can that Iíd been drinking before because yesterday morning I had my usual two cups, and on my way to a consulting job I had the distinct and unmistakable feeling that I had just done a line of cocaine. Seriously. Complete with lip biting, teeth grinding, and that non-specific sexual arousal that never really goes anywhere. Plus my breathing was crystal clear and my mind was racing at about a million miles an hour. On the interstate at 9 a.m. And I really, really wanted another cup of coffee.

Iím laying off the South American shit from now on, for sure. Yikes.

Speaking of degenerate drug addicts, when I got in my car all hopped up on the bean yesterday, I noticed a strong, unpleasant odor (through my unbelievably clear nasal passages!) that took me back to my brief and shameful days of following The Grateful Dead. Yes, you guessed it: the dreaded stench of patchouli. Now, I must say, even in my most altered and delusional state, the smell of patchouli never even remotely appealed to me. It just made me want to bathe someone vigorously. That stuff is disgusting and should be avoided at all costs unless you are trying to attract vermin to take up residence in your probably already overcrowded dread locks.

The best I can figure it, some hippie kid wearing patchouli oil must have rifled through my car the night before, looking for change for a cup of Guatemalan coffee or something. Living in the city, Iíve learned to just leave my car doors unlocked and a little change in the ashtray for passersby. Hey, itís cheaper than a new windshield, and the change in the ashtray distracts them from checking the glove box where I keep my cocaine. Kidding.

I keep it in a coffee can, naturally.


reading -"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
viewing - Blow
listening -"Coffee Song" by Frank Sinatra

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