Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Lost in the Coffee Grounds

In the navy I spent lots of time out at sea. Lots of over night, 8 hour watches. Usually running from midnight to 8 AM. I was part of CIC, which is where you find navigation, radar, and other “brains of the ship” activities. It was mostly dark, with a red light to see by. As you can imagine, coffee was a very important part of this watch.

Coffee was drink by the cup full, usually a very large cup full. I had to stop drinking it by 5AM otherwise I would not be able to get to sleep. As you can image, the coffee machine was one of the most important pieces of equipment on the navy ship. I can still see our grand coffee making machine. She was one of those big silver tubes, with a simple little gadget that allowed you to fill up your coffee with a simple push of a button. My heart goes pitter -patter thinking about her.

I will always remember the day that a young sailor took the last cup of coffee. We were crossing the Atlantic Ocean, about 7 days out. The rules are very specific, you empty the pot, you make a new pot. So he began the task of getting the coffee grounds and water. The water had to be retrieved from the sink in the mess about 3 floors down. 3 and a half pitchers filled up the coffee maker. Lots of walking up and down the steps.

It was on his second trip that he noticed something in the bottom of the coffee maker. He reached in and pulled out a roll of duct tape! Now by the look of this tape, it had been in the pot for at least the week that we had been underway! Being the one who discovered the tape, and not to mention the one who took the last cup of coffee, the young sailor got the job of cleaning out the pot and starting the new brew going.

We knew this may take him a while, so we finished the cups of coffee we had. I know, it had been run through duct tape, but it was the only coffee we had at that time!

He scrubbed it down, cleaned it until it shined inside and out. Once he was done, the pot was refilled and soon the smell of fresh coffee filled the air again. It was after 5AM, so I didn’t drink any more. The morning watch started appearing around 7:30. They grabbed their cup of coffee and sat down for the morning briefing.

With out an exception, every single person said the coffee tasted funny. They wanted to know what we had done to it. After we explained the chief passed a new order: No one is to clean the coffee pot! Ever!

So a couple weeks later, I took the last cup of coffee. I grabbed the water pitcher and was off to get the brew going! When I was filling up the pot I noticed something in the bottom. Someone had dropped another roll of duct tape in. I left it and finished filling it up with water.

Honestly the coffee did taste better! I keep waiting for duct tape flavored coffee to hit the market! Yes, I know. Chemicals! We were young, definitely a little stir crazy, and we did not care. Rebels, everyone of us.

In my current office, coffee is also very important. Giving us the push we sometimes need in the morning. That is why I have written this story. I beleave there is a lesson here that can be applied to our day to day lives. To me it stands out. Just so everyone takes the same moral from this, I will spell it out:

IF YOU TAKE THE LAST CUP OF COFFEE FROM THE POT, MAKE A NEW POT!

I hope this helps office workers everywhere.-bear

4 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

I am a true coffee junkie! I have the same philosophy in life, if you take the last cup, you had better make another pot. I try to get this across to the people that I work with, however I am the ONLY man that works in my clininc. so I have to be careful what I say and how I say it. I did put up a sign that read "Coffee Etiquette". I stated on there that if you take the last cup, please be kind enough to make another pot. The women then decided to go a step further and put a few of their own rules on it, so I took that as a sign that they actually read it. I cannot stand it when someone does that, it has led me to remind people of one of the other rules I live by, It is only fun until I lose an eye. That seemed to work with them, so far.
Matt

5:06 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Great post about the powers of duct tape. Since I'm not a coffee drinker, I had to get my own message from it.

I remember many a morning that started with a Mountain Dew and a cigarette. Those days are over now. Sigh. Why is it that everything I like is bad for me? Why?

7:31 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Larry,

Wonderful post. I start each day with a Coke, but I understand the draw of coffee. I wish I could get the smell of coffee but the sweet taste of Coca-Cola. I've even considered buying a coffee maker just to make cups of coffee that I'll never drink. Then I think this is not resourceful.

I hope people do make a new pot when they take the last cup. This is important. And considerate.

12:24 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

You people are ALL insane! And so am I - I'm with Beth and almost with DM, I STILL start my days with coke and a ciggy, and sometimes I end them that way too! The smell of coffee makes me nauseous though, especially the real kind.

I am still trying to digest the duct tape thing, no pun intended! Coffee drinkers are a different brew alright.

6:35 PM  

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Desert Shield/storm vet. I am the one at work who comes up with the ideas on filling up those non-work hours. (ok, who is up for canoeing this weekend?) After several wrong turns, have finally found the love of my life.

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