The caffeinated life: how I learned that coffee will solve all the world’s problems

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It was 10 o’clock at night when I realized a fundamental truth of life.

My throat was parched and I was fumbling around in the kitchen, looking for something warm to drink. I was working on my Macbeth-Antigone essay for Honors Humanities, but I still had a few more pages to go, and I wanted to go to sleep soon for the following morning. I was feeling tired after a long day, and I was craving some coffee.

To be completely honest, I never really liked drinking coffee before. I usually preferred orange juice over the bitter sting of coffee that never failed to leave an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth. But more out of necessity than desire for the bitter drink, I opted for coffee this time.

I stumbled into the kitchen, added some water to the coffee maker and loaded it with some of the standard Starbucks Columbia Brew. I pressed the brew button, and the machine began whirring as though it was concocting a magical potion that would grant me my wishes, but all I wanted was to finish my essay.  Minutes later, my mom called from her room upon smelling the aroma of my coffee wafting across the house.

“Why are you drinking coffee at this hour, Kevin? It’s already 10, and you need to sleep soon. You’re never going to be able to fall asleep!”

Precisely.

That night, I was introduced to the wonders coffee can do to the human body, and it really opened my mind to the what it is capable of. Previously, I had only read about coffee online—how it suppresses sleep, promotes good memory, and stimulates the brain. But I never thought that it could enhance my ability to write essays last minute, cram for finals, and finish those lab calculations for science classes that I didn’t realize I messed up until the last day.

Drinking coffee nonstop feels like having superpowers. I can accomplish anything. I could probably become Superman if I wanted to, and fly around the world on coffee-driven energy ceaselessly. I just need to watch out when caffeine’s effects rub off so that I can swoop by the nearest coffee shop before I crash. But Superman doesn’t sleep, does he?

I had always thought that sleep was something I needed to function during the day, but everything changed that night. Sure, the National Sleep Foundation can recommend eight to 10 hours of sleep for teens if they want, but with coffee, those are only eight to 10 wasted hours. While everyone else is slumbering away, “recharging their brains,” I’m preparing for the new day. Why sleep when you can drink a few cups of coffee and work right through the night? Why not do something you love to do during the day, and put off all the homework to the early morning hours of the next day?

No matter how often people tell me I’m addicted to coffee, I feel like they’re missing out on something great. Sure, when I forget to drink my coffee every few hours, I start to feel a bit lightheaded and occasionally experience a couple of hallucinations, and occasionally, my heart will stop for a little bit. But it’s really nothing to worry about. These are only a few minor side effects that are inevitable when you embark on your own discovery of this mystical elixir of life. So, you must not dwell on the hardships; instead, focus on the wider range of benefits that coffee provides to our lazy, unmotivated society.

According to RAND Corporation, a nonprofit organization, an estimated $411 billion annually is lost from people missing workdays and working at lower productivity levels. Imagine if not a single day of work was lost, and people could work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at maximum capacity. Imagine how our society would benefit. Doctors could work all day in the emergency room and do a few surgeries if needed. Police could be patrolling day and night, and criminals would be discouraged from committing crimes. Politicians could discuss their differences in Washington for as long as it took for them to actually get something done. Scientific progress could advance infinitely, cancer would be cured, and we would have intelligent robots in our lives by next week. The stock markets could run all day throughout the week, and because of this, investments will pour in.

For all this to happen, society must buy into this wondrous drink. Once this article is published, I’m sure everyone will be rushing to Starbucks or any other coffee shop to hoard their lifetime supply or coffee. But never fear if you don’t jump on the bandwagon immediately—coffee beans will not be in short supply if my calculations are correct. And they should be—I did them at three in the morning, eyes wide open and a cup of coffee in my hand, and I only experienced mild hallucinations.