Caffeine dispensing like drug dealing

    Three in the afternoon and three espressos later and still I’m barely able to do simple addition. Caught under a caffeine landslide, my potassium levels are low, and I’m nose-diving into a shit fit. A million tiny rhinos are making nests in my hypothalamus.

    In sales, effect is everything. Customers are like traffic: they don’t care what mood you’re in, but if you’re angry when you get into the car you’re guaranteed to be confronted by conspiracy-level incompetence when you get out on the road. The moment you stop smiling, the normal rotating cast of whimsical strangers deteriorates into a horde of litigious yuppies, hung-over shoegazers, menopausal vampires and sycophantic coffee groupies.

    There’s nothing more pathetic than a super senior living off daddy’s alimony and skipping lecture to beg for drugs. Especially when he needs a white chocolate cut. It’s like a panhandler with a sign saying “”small bills only.”” I hate being made to feel like a drug dealer. I’m not a drug dealer! Drug dealers make commission.

    Meanwhile, there’s a line of snorting half-caf blended mochas snaking in front of my stand, no bathroom break in sight and all is not quiet on the Southern Front. I’m not a happy camper, even by the standards of a refugee camp (and I’m not talking about UC Riverside). It’s hard to microwave reconstituted chicken soup for the soul when you’ve just drank one apiece of the (euphemistically renamed) Afterburner and Blackhole, and you’re trying to explain to someone why you’re absolutely sure that the chamomile lemon tea has no caffeine even though it doesn’t say decaffeinated. “”You can’t squeeze blood from a stone,”” I explain. “”Saying chamomile tea is decaffeinated is like saying that Ben Affleck’s acting has deteriorated.””

    At this point, I learn just how much I hate this customer. Not only is she one of those chronically energetic decaf people that brings their own “”organic”” sugar-free sweetener packets, but she’s one of those mentally contaminated media slaves that seem to permeate my generation.

    First of all, I have a problem relating with anyone who would go out of their way to avoid as perfectly mild a sacrament as caffeine. You see, I’m mostly Scottish, of a lowland clan. My lineage is more “”Trainspotting”” than “”Braveheart.”” As long as the blackouts are manageable, cook me up a double.

    But more to the point, why are so many people obsessed with actors? Why is the ability to act like a substandard version of someone else so valuable? The exception is Ronald Reagan, who actually was president. Acting is not a special skill, it’s every job in America. You wake up, go in to work and pretend that you want to be there, and if you’re really good, your boss pretends that you aren’t replaceable.

    Speaking of acting in bad faith, I’m sure all of you seniors remember the “”I agree with Michael”” propaganda campaign from freshman year. For all of you who missed it, three years ago the Campus Crusade for Christ rented out advertising space in a Monday Guardian telling the story of their young prodigy, Michael.

    Apparently, when Michael first came to college, he started doubting some of his religious convictions, but he redoubled his efforts and reaffirmed his beliefs, ensuring salvation. During that week, people started wearing blue shirts that said “”I agree with Michael,”” and by Thursday it seemed like half the people in my classes were wearing these shirts. The week’s climax came when Michael himself emerged from seclusion to speak at Price Center. I went expecting a brilliant ideologue, but apparently The Crusade had decided to play up on the repressed sexuality angle and chose some half-speed blonde surf-stud to deliver The Word. There was even a Ecumenical Escort Service you could call, and Michael would drive out and make you a chamomile tea.

    The infinite life shirt campaign is the most vociferous religious recruitment movement I’ve seen since. It makes sense to schedule such a campaign in spring, since the skimpy warm weather outfits breed plenty of impure thoughts ripe for triggering compensatory guilt reactions. It also makes sense that college is such a popular time for recruitment, since most religions make your whole life look like college, getting ready for graduation.

    Picking a religion is like picking a major, and heaven is the job you get when you graduate. Fundamentalism is like bioengineering: It’s a lot of work, and you have to give up on a lot of good times, but you feel pretty darn sure that you’ll have a great job right out of school. But I’m a psychology major, and when I die and walk up to the reception desk in limbo, the secretary will probably ask me “”So, what are you doing for grad school, anyway?””

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