A Monday can go from smooth sailing to choppy waters mighty quick when the announcement, “The coffee pot’s broke,” travels through the building.
Newspapers, you see, operate on high doses of caffeine, generally somewhere between multiple pots of coffee per day to multiple pots per person. Maintaining proper hydration, after all, is especially important during these summer months.
Healthy eating for folks like us used to be rather than gulping down fast food and banquet meals five days a week limiting oneself to four. But now, even writers have started using lettuce in lieu of bread and chewing on bars of what looks like horse feed. Taking that into consideration, I figured normal folks probably gave up caffeine about the time they started living almost exclusively calorie counting and carb free.
Turns out that’s not the case.
About five seconds after learning of the coffee pot’s demise, I made the equivalent of a 9-1-1 call over to Svatek’s Vending, the folks who keep us supplied with magic bean juice.
Hearing a cheerful “Good morning, how are you,” I tried to keep my voice from shaking as I confided, “We have a lot of jittery people over here.”
No other explanation was needed. That cheerful voice changed to concerned in an instance.
“Oh, sweetheart, they’re not here right now, but they’ll be here in about an hour. I’ll send them right over ... “(the try to hang on obvious in the tone).
C (Coffee time) minus 60 minutes and counting.
The notification that help was on the way rallied office spirits enough to advert violence, a mass walkout or group nap time.
The what if’s were mighty concerning, however, as I contemplated coffee pot rental, coffee bean candy, coffee drops or ... I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, energy drinks (things were really starting to get desperate).
No doubt there are people out there who truly enjoy those colorful cans with labels both encouraging and frightening. I don’t know anyone over the age of 35 who would recommend them, but I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.
Newsrooms hold tight to the past. You can still hear the clack of the keys (especially as things get frantic right around deadline), the phones still ring, we talk about headlines, cutlines, widows, orphans, bangers, kickers and morgues – everyday work lingo rather than literal places and actions – probably a good thing when you kill copy or find it bleeding.
We did, however, give up the pneumatic tubes moving copy from section to section of the paper, overflowing ash trays and hard liquor lunches.
Take away caffeine too and things are going to get messy.
Luckily, the folks at Svatek wasted no time racing over, a rather intent fellow coming through the door with a replacement system on a dolly.
He didn’t say much, maybe caffeine-deprived journalists made him uncomfortable, but he may very well have saved the day and the edition you’re reading now.
Seven cups of hydration later, the clicks and clacks brought forth this column.
Probably a good thing I don’t use a hammer and nails to make a living.
(pause for a looong sip)
I wonder if that’s what happened wit when those boys over in Pisa tried to build that old-timey skyscraper? Would explain a whole lot wouldn’t it?