Wednesday, February 16, 2005

green tea for Jesus

Lately, it seems that most of the pleasures of my teenage years are bent on denying themselves to me. A while ago, my body's ability to metabolize sugar went downhill, and I had to quit eating sweetened breakfast cereal. To this day, whenever I go grocery shopping, Cap'n Crunch stares at me with menace, and I know he's feeling jilted, plotting his revenge. There's now malice deep within his "Ahoy, matey"s.

Lately, though, it's my old friend caffeine who's been deserting me. About a year ago, I had to cut my coffee down to three cups a day. Then I had to move to a half decaf mixture...which was especially rough, because we all know just how much decaf sucks as a rule. Now, even my measley two and a half cups of half decaf is just too much for me.

It starts out fine. I get the nice mild feeling of euphoria, and my head just starts to "click" (and other coffee drinkers, + anyone who's seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will know what I mean). Then my brain starts to feel alive. The hemispheres start communicating in more rapid fashion. I break out of my normal "tunnel vision" and start to notice EVERYTHING. I feel EVERYTHING. Then I know I'm doomed.

Hey, the feeling of everything is wonderful, and if it would stop there, I would be eternally happy. It must be how some of those super babies feel when they grow up. But it doesn't stop there, and I am generally doomed to what starts as a mild shake. Then my head starts to cloud from the sides inward. Then my stomach starts to feel queasy, just like it does when my blood sugar gets thrown all out of whack. Then I have to get some junk food in me, and that's the last thing I really need now.

So I've been forced to go somewhere I never thought I would go...tea. To me, tea was always the poor second cousin to coffee. Coffee had everything going for it. It was thick, it had terroir (look it up), it had vibrancy, whereas tea just tasted like watered-down leaves. Coffee was strong and ethereal, whereas tea was weak and spindley. Coffee was "black blood of the earth," and there was no way that lawn clippings could suffice. My British mother didn't understand me, but tea just was not my cup of tea.

Then the caffeine rejection started, and I had to do SOMETHING. I mean, I like juice, but it doesn't pull you through the morning. By default, I kinda fell into the green tea thing.

Fast forward to last night. My wife and I went to Big Lots, the local discount/close-out store (where they sell what my dissertation advisor calls "the detritus of late capitalism"...that Ellen, she's so intellectual), and I saw some green tea on sale just as I have to replenish my stock.

I buy, and we get it home. Only then do I notice that it is more specifically "Prince of Peace brand Green Tea." Apparently, it's harvested in China and sold to a Christian company to resell to the world. This, of course, leads me to several questions. If HE were to come back today, would green tea be his brand? Do I earn "get out of purgatory points" for drinking this stuff? Is the tea itself blessed? Will Lori start noticing weird behavior? Does the holy nature of this brand mean that this green tea, unlike sugar and coffee, will refrain from actually turning on me?

Finally, is this less holy as I got this out of a discount store, or does that just signify the declining position of religious beverages in the marketplace?

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