NaBloPoMo: caffeine [ties]

Caffeine has got to be one of the most addictive substances on earth, and to complicate things further, we believe that we NEED it to wake up in the mornings.

And it makes you feel good.  Mainly because of its similar excitatory effects to alkaloids of similar structure, such as cocaine, nicotine, and the like.  It's quite odd that we tolerate this substance, which occurs naturally in coffee and tea and can be extracted from tea leaves and coffee beans in the same manner as cocaine is extracted from the Coca plant, but we have a strong social block against cocaine.

I'm not advocating for cocaine.  I'm not advocating against caffeine.  They both have their place and have contributed a huge amount to our social awareness and the way we live our lives from day to day (recall:  cocaine derivatives include novocaine, benzocaine, and other numbing agents).  But I wonder about our relationships with addiction and whether we can truly get away with pooh poohing such actions as smoking cigarettes while championing a good hearty cup of Joe every morning.  Granted, smoke is more visible, irritating to non-participants, and causes more obvious side-effects, but in terms of long-term effects, there are millions of smokers WITHOUT emphysema or lung cancer, and millions of coffee drinkers who suffer from heart palpitations, panic attacks, vitamin deficiency (you pee most of it out), and insomnia.

I'm not giving my coffee up.  I like it.  But I think the next time I see someone chastising someone else for smoking or eating poorly, I will splash a big ole cup of hot coffee in their face.  Just kidding.  But I will probably say something.  


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A blog about social change, written from Brooklyn, New York. Currently looking for contributors.