Dear Caffeine

For all the readers that are like me, who have found that caffeine equals productivity: I have decided to write a 'Thank You' letter from all of us. Most of us consume our dose in the form of coffee, but this is certainly not the only delivery mechanism. Some of you are energy drink addicts or tea drinkers. Some of you slam the Dew, the Coke, or make appointments with Dr. Pepper. Regardless of the form in which you inject the stimulant, you choose to do so because your day is better with it than without. Here's to that.



Dear Caffeine:

I have known you all my life, but I never truly appreciated you until I went to college. I didn't realize how good of a friend you were. You were there for me all along, but I was unappreciative. I neglected you for years and treated you like an optional activity. My loyalty was dismal at best. Although I enjoyed the occasional Mountain Dew or Pepsi, my childhood years were filled with other healthy drinks, like orange juice and water.

You waited patiently and continued to serve the masses. One day I found a colorful can in the convenience store that claimed to pack as much of you as legally possible. That sounded exhilarating, so I decided to try it. Four hundred and seventeen Monsters later, I considered myself a user. But people were all like, "It's going to stop your heart" and "You'll never have children", so I decided to do some research. My friend, what I found surprised me. I learned that these drinks only had nominal levels of you in them, but they were actually spurring me forward with you and one of your best buds--taurine. This naturally occurring biological chemical was allowing my body to metabolize my food faster, making it available to the cells that you were ordering to work longer, harder hours. So then I was like, "Be quiet ignorant people, because taurine and caffeine are like PB and J."

Then I went to college. I could no longer afford these wonderful chemical concoctions. But never fear, you have been packaged into at least five hundred different products in our great nation. Another form of you came to my attention--Starbucks. While not the cheapest form, it was undoubtedly the best quality. This coffee increased my GPA by three or four-tenths in undergrad. Kudos to you.

Then I became a teacher. Maybe I could ease off the caffeine some. Ha! Maybe administering tests would be easier than taking tests. Ha! No seriously, I can't stop laughing at how stupid I was. Teaching plunged me into my addiction like nothing had before. Speak thirty words, take a drink of coffee, speak twenty-five words, drink more coffee; and the cycle continued. But I did it. I taught the lessons, gave the quizzes, administered the tests, kept order in the classroom, helped the kids, graded the quizzes and tests, went to the games, promoted the fundraisers, went to parent-teacher meetings, setup the labs and experiments, encouraged the naysayers, reproved the scorners, made the bulletin boards, graded the papers, listened to the speeches, organized the Science Fairs, and ate lunch with adolescents. Caffeine, you were always by my side.

So then I was like, "How can I get myself more addicted?" Let me think. I had it! Graduate school!

I went all lab crazy and wrote a dissertation. That took the combined powers of Monster AND Starbucks. Uniting two superpowers like that is only warranted under extreme duress. But here I am today with my Ph.D. I might have a minor twitch in my face and some occasional violent outbursts, but I'm here; and people are 78% more likely to read a book I write because I have letters after my name. Thank you caffeine.

Often I go through life and forget to thank those that have helped me along the way. It's a terrible habit, and I intend to break it. Pay attention to what/who helps you and give it/them due credit. Thank you caffeine.

Yours Truly,

Daniel J. Devine

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In all seriousness, I am aware caffeine can have adverse side effects when misused or abused, just like Tylenol or any other substance. I take care of my body, eat well, drink water, and exercise. Please do not take this joke as me saying that it's cool to drink four Monsters a day! Those things are dangerous, and I never have more than one per day. If you have severe heart conditions or certain conditions of the nervous system, caffeine should not be your friend. This was intended in fun, but caffeine can be dangerous.

Legal Stuff:
The Starbucks logo and name are registered trademarks of Starbucks Corporation (www.starbucks.com).
Monster Energy Drink  is a registered trademark of the Monster Energy Company (www.monsterenergy.com).

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