My Thoughts

The good old doc told the Insider the other day he needs to cut back on his coffee drinking and quit smoking. For the last 50 years, the old guy has enjoyed coffee and cigarettes each day. Even on days when he is sick, he manages to squeeze in both. They are a big part of his life. He drinks about five cups of high-test coffee on an average day and smokes about two packs of light cigarettes. Between these two vices, that’s basically Insider’s life. All of his morning is usually spent with his coffee and smokes at the kitchen table. The morning Sun used to be part of the routine, but some years ago it became left wing drivel so that was cut out of the picture, saving him about $20 a month. It’s now coffee, cigarettes and NPR and, of course, this paper on Friday mornings or maybe Saturday if the young punk editor forgets to drop a copy by the old guy’s house first thing in the morning. A few dog pats here and there and that’s basically his morning, which usually stretches into lunchtime.

According to the doc, Insider’s lab results showed some levels were dangerously high and something else was dangerously low. Apparently, both were caused by too much caffeine and too much nicotine, the doc summarized. He first told Insider he needed to quit drinking and smoking cold turkey he wanted to see his next birthday, eliciting some crude comments the old guy later was told by his best friend he should apologize for. He doesn’t remember what was said, blaming it instead on a fit of rage brought on by extreme anger. The doc later told Insider he should at least try and cut his usage of both of his favorite vices in half. Maybe two cups of coffee and a pack of cigarettes per day instead. He used the word “wean” – as if to mean the old guy should gradually cut his intake and eventually not smoke cigarettes or drink coffee at all.

Insider told the doc that’s not in the cards. He did not live till his mid-80s by doing any such thing as “wean” or withdrawal or whatever term the medical schools are calling it today. The doc, a young and fit punk in his 30s, looked at him as if he were crazy not to follow his advice, stammering out the door after a few warnings, also known as death threats. Insider simply said, “see you next year, doc.”