You know you’re growing older when your kid brother starts in with this “when I was a youngster” speech that every old fart in America loves to roll around in sooner or later, but in the case of your kid brother, you were really hoping it would be later rather than sooner.
I was making coffee for us, and I asked him if he preferred Starbucks Komodo Dragon or if he’d rather have some fair trade organically grown beans from some third-world country. And he was off and running, with me occasionally trying to point out the obvious:
“When we were kids, you didn’t have all this flavored coffee to choose from. (It’s not flavored, bro’, it’s just two different brands of coffee, but they’re both dark roast.) You had your choice of Folger’s Coffee or Maxwell House Coffee. Whatever the hell was on sale at the store was what your bought that week.” (You haven’t been inside a grocery since, what, maybe 1982? Your wife does all the grocery shopping while you stay home and watch reruns of M*A*S*H*.)
“And we didn’t have these fancy-schmancy espresso makers either! We used a percolator, and it made the best damn coffee ever, and we liked it just fine. Coffee doesn’t ever taste that good anymore, I don’t care how you make it!” (You’ve been using that awful Bunn 3-minute brewer since it came on the market 20 years ago. It tastes like dirty water because it brews too fast, and because you only use three scoops when you really need six.)
“And who the hell is stupid enough to pay $4 for a cup of coffee from Starbucks? I can go to Speedway and get a large coffee for 99 cents while my car fills up with gas! (You’re overpaying for a product that cost about 10 cents to produce either way, and at least at Starbucks a live person is making your coffee and serving it to you, rather than serve yourself from the coffee bar at the gas station where most of the thermos’ are empty and god knows who has sneezed all over them all morning.)
“But I’ve got to admit,” he says as I hand him his cup of coffee and he takes a sip, “this is pretty damn good.”