I remember a line spoken by a character in Jonathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections that says, roughly, “I can’t wait to go to bed at night so I can wake up in the morning and have coffee.” I may not have the words exactly right, but I agree with the sentiment. In contrast, Henry Thoreau said that water is the only drink for the wise man. I have been at war with these two sentiments my whole life. (And if you throw beer into the mix, you have a three-way smackdown) I have tried at various times in my life to give up coffee, using tea instead as my morning fix. I love good tea, but nothing beats the thrill of coffee. Judith Warner, a columnist for The New York Times and a much more eloquent writer than me, wrote a great blog post on the joys of coffee. I wonder what humans did before coffee. How awake could I become without coffee? But these are idle thoughts. With two small children and a demanding job, I’d decompose into a puddle of goo without my coffee. Someday I might be free of the brown, bitter beast, but for the time being, I’ll look upon my morning coffee as a joy rather than a shackle.