OPINION: Story Over a Cup – The Coffee War of 2008

Published 6:08 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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Michael Cole
Story Over A Cup

Today I want to talk about male pride and coffee. Two items, which when combined, can make for an interesting story.

I have omitted the details which could give away the names of those involved (more for my protection than anything).

This happened a number of years ago at my then job.

A group of us would meet up at the coffee pot to drink coffee and just talk about whatever. The tradition was whoever got there first made the pot of coffee for the rest of us.

Usually this was me since my area was closer and I was usually the first one to arrive.

Well, my friends. On this day, I was not.

As a coworker, there was a retired Marine. I never use the word former anywhere near the word Marine. Anyone who knows a Marine will know simply there is no such thing and they will quickly remind you of this.

Anyway, back to the story.

So we were treated on this day to Marine Corps coffee. For those of you who have never had this pleasure, do so. You can take a sip of it in January and still be awake in March.

Now, being married to a Puerto Rican, her mother had introduced me to stronger coffee. But still, this was strong.

The other guys came in to grab their coffee. A little background on them. They were a collection of guys ranging from about 22 to about 30, young and full of testosterone.

Manly men.

I was about 35 and the Marine was nearly 60. We were sipping our coffee, they took a sip and you could see them go green.

But, they were young. They were not going to admit to older guys that the coffee was strong.

So they gulped it.

One remarked, “it’s about time the coffee got a little more acceptable.”

I could see out of the corner of my eyes the look on the Marine’s face, “challenge accepted.”

So each day after this, the Marine made the coffee. And each day he progressively made it stronger.

And each day we would sip our coffee, and these guys would struggle to drink theirs, and brag about it. If one of them reached for creamer or sweetener, the Marine would say something about drinking like a child.

So picture, five grown guys drinking, what at this time is generously described as oil, without the benefit of any flavor.

Yes, I will have my motor oil black.

This went on for two months until the pot broke. To this day I am not sure the weight of the coffee, the fact it was an older pot, or one of the guys broke it to save themselves from agony, but it broke.

The next morning. The guys came in and saw we were drinking coffee. One asked where we got it.

Without missing a beat, the Marine said as he sipped his coffee, “In the next office over. Where we have been getting it for the past two months.”

The look on their faces.

As the Marine was fond of saying, on this day they learned a valuable life lesson.

Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist that when he is not writing, he is plotting global domination or drinking coffee. You can follow him at www.storyoveracup.com