Coffee Lifesaver

"Coffee saved my life once, back in my dope smuggling days," he continues as opera blares from the jukebox. "We had scored a ton one week in 1969 and driven it across Mexico to Lagunas de los Leones, where a boat was waiting to pick it up. The skipper of the boat had never smuggled weed before and wanted to get his goddamn papers signed by the port captain. "What do you want to be*" I said, 'a legal smuggler? He was adamant, , though, and refused the load, which meant we had to stash it someplace for the weekend.

"So there we were, sitting on a ton of dope in a Ford camper. The back of the truck was a furnace, sweat was pouring off the weed and it smelled like a king-sized marijuana factoiy. I went and bought 25 pounds of ground coffee from a very surprised shopkeeper and threw it in on top of the weed to disguise the smell.. Then I parked it in Puerto Vallarta next to some fancy gringo apartments, where I could watch it from my hotel.. ALL weekend people walked by, pausing and sniffing. Man, it reeked! It was like nothing you ever smelled before, sort of a cross between mota and mocha. Finally, after three days parked in the middle of the hottest town in Mexico that weekend, we drove it back to the lagoon and loaded it up. When it got to San Francisco it was a legend-coffee weed I It went over big. This town really loves coffee."

Jerry Kamstra talking to Michael Aldrich High Times» Nov. 1976

volatile exciter of lustful and homicidal passions, the hotline through which Mexican sorceresses dialed directly to Satan. In salute to its esteemed status of yore, however, Linnaeus named chocolate's caffeinelike alkaloid "theobromine" -literally,, "food of the gods." Any punch in the modern candy bar is probably due more to the sugar than to the theobromine, however, since it takes about four" Hershey bars to match the amount of alkaloid in a five-ounce cup of coffee.

The earliest written mention of tea occurs- in a Chinese dictionary from ad. 350. One need only consider the ritualization of tea-swilling in Britain and the Orient to appreciate that the drink is more than just a thirst-quenching beverage. Most commercial caffeine, like that in No-Doz pills, is actually, slightly converted theine, obtained from the waste products of lea harvesting. Known as xanthines, these alkaloids, when taken to excess, can cause very real problems. The case of a modem coffee addict was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1967 by Dr. Hobart Reimann. A 39-year-old woman was admitted to a hospital after suffering for six months with a low-grade fever accompanied by occasional flushing and chills, insomnia, nervous irritability and lack of appetite. She had lost over

European ccmc^ptíon of cocoa tree

"Thou dost cause grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the eartli, and wine to gladden I lie hearl of man." -Psalms &04:I4-I5 (c. 250 B.C.)

20 pounds in a few momlis and now weighed only 107. It turned out that she was habituated to drinking 15 to 18 cups of brewed coffee per day; when she stopped, her symptoms disappeared.

Even more bizarre is the report from a Nevada penitentiary of an inmate who showed a similar list of symptoms, only more severe. Willi only a hot plale for companionship, the man was brewing and swallowing.50 cups of coffee per day to pass the time. Fortunately for such rabid devotees, caffeine is not cumulative in the body and is rapidly eliminated. To reach the theoretical lethal dose (ten grams), a human would have to down 100 cups of brewed coffee in a short period of lime. Research reports indicate thai rats fed massive doses of caffeine become snperaggiessive, fiercely attacking and mutilating not only other rats, but their own bodies,

ALCOHOL There is no doubt that, despite the popularity, of caffeine, alcohol, mankind's first psychoactive drug, deserves the title of "world's favorite high." While evidence indicates thai beer and berry wine were being drunk as far back as 6500 B.C.(some say 9000 B.C.), the first historical record of the production of alcohol is the description i'n an Egyptian papyrus of a 3500-B.C. brewery. It was again an Egyptian who gave us history's first prohibitionist edict-thai of a priest, who wrote to his pupiL_ in 2000 B.C.: "I, thy superior, forbid iliee to go to the taverns. Thou art degraded like the beasls."

A complete history of altohol would just about constitute a history of mankind. Ancient Chinese legends predating written records tell of two royal astronomers who were put to death for getting drunk and missing an eclipse. A few hundred years before the birth of Christ, according to Herodotus, Persian councilmen always considered an important decision both sober and drunk, in order to ensure that iheir choice would sit well in both worlds. From the drunk-as-a-skunk Noah, to Odysseus, who cleverly got Cyclops blind drunk before poking out his eye, to the countless battles and empires won and losi by soldiers roaring or reeling with booze, we find alcohol interlocked with humankind's tales of heroism, degradation and sexual conq uest.. The alcoholic, beverage industry in the United Stales grosses $12 billion annually, a figure far greater than that spent on education and medical care combined. Over $250 million in advertising costs are spent each year to

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