From time to time, I lose my mind and become convinced that I drink too much coffee. I know people are always doing some sort of martyred brag-lamentation about the truly colossal amounts of coffee that they drink in a day, but I’m not one of those. I drink very small amounts of coffee, only two to four cups a day, but I drink it EVERY day. Sometimes I notice that if my coffeedrink routine gets messed up, my personality takes a turn for the worse. Sometimes when I notice that, I become indignant! How dare coffee treat me like that! So then I resolve to show it a thing or two about dependency and I quit it.

I have heard of people quitting all of caffeine, but I have never done that. I just sometimes quit drinking coffee but then switch off to heroic amounts of tea. As great as tea is, it never seems to be a good replacement for the coffee caffeine that my body apparently has grown to need. Tea is there for drinking after the coffee has been finished for the day. Therefore, I have probably not even experienced actual caffeine withdrawal to the fullest extent. Even so, once when I quit only-coffee for two weeks, I had a seven day long headache that did not respond to medication, as well as feelings of impending death that lasted for the same length of time.

Maybe you have been thinking that you could use a break from coffee? Perhaps you are like me, and resent that you are apparently HOOKED. Perhaps you would like to prove to yourself and your coffee that you can stop any time you want. As a seasoned veteran of quitting the bitter bean, I am here to help you. Quick! Take my tremoring hand as I take you down the dark and frightening path to potentially healthier living!

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Shopping for groceries is one of those annoying tasks you have to do once or twice a week, depending on your habits and needs. Maybe there are some people out there who enjoy the act. Perhaps for them, creating a list for a week, perhaps a carefully planned menu, all of that stuff, perhaps all of that is a pleasure for these people. It might fulfill an instinctual need to hunt and gather. God, who knows. What I DO know is that I am not one of those people. Grocery shopping is a boring old activity that involves many things I despise: making decisions, forethought, crowds, and being out in public.

I believe grocery store managers realize that there are all sorts of customers, and they try to make their stores as pleasant as possible to encourage repeat purchasing experiences. All of the items are arranged systematically, for ease of locating them. The workers are made to be friendly and happy. And they have installed a little sound system in most stores because someone somewhere must have done a study that says that people are more likely to shop happily if they can do so to a mild, inoffensive beat in the background.

I think it is a good idea, all of this playing music in the backgrounds of places. I do enjoy music, and even when they play songs that I would never hear on my own free time, such as, say, any song by Gwen Stefani ever (she and No Doubt in general seem to be a staple of grocery stores everywhere – it causes me to laugh in a way that is unkind), I can still say that I am glad that I am not left to shop in silence. That unwieldy sentence deserves a summary: I would rather listen to crap like Gwen Stefani’s annoying voice than eavesdrop on the often-bewildering drone of fellow shoppers punctuated by the shrill cries of their horrible infants. The songs played are often easily forgettable and mildly pleasant, or at the very least not at all distracting from the shop process. I might notice that Gwen Stefani is imploring me to “don’t speak” for the umpteen billionth time in the Pasta Aisle, but I can still select a pasta suited to my tastes.

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But this article isn’t REALLY about how much I don’t like that ridiculous singer, no matter how many snarky observations I have on hand, or outright insults if we dare speak of the Hollaback Girl Fiasco. This is about the handful of times when I have been out shopping for food items, and the speakers in the store have played a song that was so noteworthy for its soul-sucking depression, its sheer catchiness, or its just plain old out-of-placedness, that I had to stop shopping until it was over.

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