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Of afternoons and coffee spoons - Michael Davis

Don't you sometimes need a little pick-me-up in the late, or even mid-afternoon?

I sure do, sometimes. A coffee, a soda, something caffeinated.

I've recently gone back to drinking coffee in the mornings though, too. A warm, aromatic brew lightly sweetened with a sugar substitute and a dollop of dairy cream. Cup by cup, it goes down and warms the belly, putting a spring in the step.

I did a little research recently into the origins of the dark drink. According to a National Geographic Web site, the first known consumption was by a herd of goats in Ethiopia Circa. 800. Kaldi, the goat-herder, seeing his flock gnashing on some berries, promptly began to follow their lead. Why a shepherd would want to eat what a goat eats, and they'll eat anything, is beyond me, but so be it. Coffee beans, you see, are in coffee berries.

Later, it's told he gave some to his brother and they both were "uncannily alert to divine inspiration," whatever that means. I know when I drink coffee, I get divinely inspired – don't you?

Coffee, as we know it, according to the Web site, was not consumed until about 200 years later by Arabian monks who found it kept worshippers back-straight in their pews and I would guess, by extension, more likely to get into heaven. I never thought of it as a religious sacrament, but whatever works, right?

But while, yes, coffee will keep you up, there are levels of tired that no amount of java can cure.

I recall, not to indict myself but nonetheless, classes in college that had just the wrong temperature and professors who taught just the wrong subject matter in just the wrong intonation at just the wrong time of day. Mix that with a long night or early morning and you've got yourself a brew for a perfect napping situation – one in which you're likely to wake up startled to find out that the class has changed and there's a new group of students sitting around you looking at a different instructor teaching a different class. Or, you might just wake up in a puddle of drool.

From time to time, a coffee or a soda is also good for an evening pick-me-up (or a pick-you-up, as it were). When you've already had a long day, and know it's going to be a bit longer, evening Joe can get it off to a good start. Though, it's better had in a diner somewhere where they have those big jars of pourable sugar and tin cups of room-temperature cream and you can hear the cheap aluminum spoon clanking against the porcelain cup as you stir. That reminds me – I think the office pot is finished brewing.

Michael Davis covers government for the Daily Herald. His column appears on Fridays. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail mdavis@henryherald.com .