I am forbidden to drink coffee. My wife says it turns me into a speed-talking, speed-walking lunatic (“and an asshole” she insisted I add) and this is, if I am honest, undeniably true. It was none other than Lemmy himself who once told me that speed really did what cocaine is supposed to do, but as far as my body processes caffeine, it has a far greater effect on me than even the best coke does. My wife is right, it does turn me right into a Tasmanian devil. Sometimes I sneak coffee behind her back and I feel like I’m a former drug addict backsliding. As pathetic as I realize this sounds, it feels kind of shameful. She always knows when I’ve had a cup or two. Every time. Without fail. I try to lie about it, but she sees right through that.
Yep, coffee has a super-pronounced effect on me. Personally I really enjoy the effects, but when your partner can peg your “wired” and “weird” behavior just as easily as if you had snorted a pound a blow, there might be a problem, right?
In any case, knowing how coffee transforms me into a complete maniac, I have long suspected that the rise in “road rage” in recent years had much in common with the parallel increase of premium coffee chains like Starbucks and Peet’s popping up on every street corner like mushrooms after it rains… People drink a lot more coffee than they used to, this much is undeniable. When did we first start hearing the term “road rage” or experience it ourselves? Coincidence? I think not.
Which brings me to my next topic: Red Bull. The first time I drank a Red Bull, it was at a party and about 9pm. I drank two because I was really exhausted and because it tasted like a liquid version of Flintstones Vitamins.
I perked right up to be sure, but I also did not sleep again for two whole days!
With the above in mind, this morning I became aware (via Caffeine Informer) that on average (because caffeine levels can vary so widely) a 16oz Starbucks Grande coffee, with approximately 330mg of caffeine is FOUR TIMES stronger than a Red Bull, two times stronger than a Monster Energy Drink and eight times stronger than a Coca-Cola Classic.
When coffee was first introduced into the European diet in the 16th century, there were calls to ban what was then thought of as a “Muslim drink.” (Coffee was also banned for quite some time by Arab societies.) Some of the earliest examples of what we’d now call an “advice column” apparently address the problem of coffee addiction causing weird behavior. In 1511, according to Terence McKenna in his Food of the Gods, the Prince of Waldeck set up what was basically the first “drug snitch” program and offered monetary rewards to anyone who turned in a coffee drinker. People were fined and given floggings over coffee. After a few centuries, most of us (not me!) are accustomed to the effects of caffeine, but for some people it can cause anxiety, depression and other psychological discomforts.
Or perhaps make you act like an asshole when you’re driving? I’m not a scientist, I’m just throwing it out there.
Here’s some nice road rage footage. Not sure what this driver drank before this unfortunate incident, but I suspect that it had a lot of caffeine in it. Skip to the 1:00 mark.
Posted by Richard Metzger |