Hi, my name is Joe. Chances are, we’ve already hung out today. Why? Because you tell yourself you can’t get through the day without me. When someone dares suggest that you stop drinking me every day, you get a little irked. You certainly don’t consider the possibility of actually quitting me; in fact, you’re just a little bit proud that we’re so close.No, you won’t stop drinking me. You pay careful attention to what you eat and you’re sure to get your exercise. But when someone tells you I’m not good for you, well, that’s going too far. Even if it’s true, it doesn’t matter. I’m the one part of your diet that’s nonnegotiable. Funny, when someone feels that way about any other substance, we call it an addiction. We get them help.
Everyone loves Joe!
But nobody worries about a good-old addiction to Joe. I get a pass, because everyone drinks me. I’m legal. And I’ve got a lot of money behind me to make sure nobody catches on that I’m sort of harmful. That I make you age faster. That I aggravate all kinds of other conditions, and just might be the cause of lots of your little health problems. Heart disease, bowel problems, ulcers, anxiety, depression, even reproductive issues. But don’t worry about those. And let’s not harp on that whole “quietly sucking away your energy under the guise of an innocent pick-me-up” thing.
You feel good for a little while after you drink me because I play a nifty trick on your body. I make you think you’re under stress, so that your system speeds up. You start thinking faster — not in a relaxed, creative way, but in a way that might help you in a fight. If you’ve got anything going on that’s bothering you, I help you forget about that for a while. No time for moping, you’re in a fight!
Oh that’s right, you’re not. You’re sitting in your car, surfing the web, or listening to the radio. So all this excess stimulation serves to make you feel happy and alert.
Joe’s dark secret
So, we’re friends, right? Then you won’t mind my sharing a horrible secret with you. Ready? Here it is: I don’t really have anything in me you can burn for energy, so that boost you get is all you. You’ll have to pay it back later. Lucky for me though, by then you’ve moved on. You’re thinking about work, or the grocery store, the bills, or your secretary. When the crash comes — and it MUST come — you’ve forgotten that maybe I’m to blame. Must be that big lunch or all the stress of your job that made you so tired. Certainly not a little drink like me you had six hours ago, right?
When you wake up the next day, you might feel like you didn’t sleep all that well. My bad on that one too. But remember how good I can make you feel? So rather than cutting ties, letting this be the end, you come back for more. A booty call, of sorts.
And so it goes. You drink more and more of me. You always get tired now. Your body has gotten used to me, so you need to drink even more, just to feel yourself. You forget how much energy you had before I came along. Sometimes it seems strange to think you lived for years before you even tried me.
But the antioxidants!
But I’m here to stay now. If you try to stop, you get a headache. Lest you get any heroic ideas of putting up with a few miserable days to free yourself from my grasp, keep this in mind: I have antioxidants! Can’t get those anywhere else, right? Oh, that’s right, since you’re an NMA reader you probably eat pretty well and get lots of those from fruits and veggies. And they don’t have any poison in them! Well..err… forget that and focus on the headache.
Please don’t stop drinking me. I hardly know Matt anymore. Sure, we still hang out a few times a week, but when we do, I feel like only a third or a quarter or some other random percentage of my former self. We just don’t jive anymore. He goes on and on about how he’s beginning to realize he doesn’t need me. That when he unknowingly drinks my lame-ass sister Deanna Kathleen (we call her Dee Kath), he feels just as good, without the anxiety afterward. I’m all in his head, he says. Well Matt, you smell bad.
Look, you and I have known each other for a while now, and we both know how much you depend on me. How I help you get out of bed in the morning, and how the day doesn’t start until we hang out. You need me. I’m your friend.
I can trust you not to quit your old pal Joe, right?