Boomer Grandpa: Good to the last – wait, maybe the last drop is bad

As a teenager, my dad hauled me along to assist him on a variety of weekend projects. Little ones like tearing down a barn, a piggery or up on a roof.

Normally after a few hours of my forced labor, he stopped and reached for his thermos. He was a union man, so a morning break was in the cards.

He’d unscrew the lid and pour himself a steaming cup of coffee into the thermos cup. He was a cream and sugar guy. It tasted awfully good on a chilly fall morning.

As a kid who experienced poverty in the Great Depression and then fought a World War, my dad wasn’t too keen about "unneeded" rules, regulations or guidelines. He didn’t like to be told what to do — in particular by any form of government. I used to plead with him to buckle his seat belt.

My dad died 19 years ago. I wonder what he would have said if I told him that a California judge has ruled that coffee must now carry a warning that it has the potential to cause cancer.


I don’t think I could have repeated his response in polite company. He’d also have a few things to say about the average cost for a cup of coffee now days. I’m guessing my dad may have picked up his coffee habit during the war. Hot coffee was a luxury.

After my dad retired in 1978, many topics were discussed sitting around his kitchen table with a cup of java. Life around the percolator was of consequence. He was also a mainstay at afternoon coffee gatherings at the local cafe. A few rolls of the dice would determine who would pay.

I think for the most part, many of us Midwesterners sometimes wonder what is going on in California, but I digress. It’s a complicated issue in a litigious sense and the ruling regarding a warning about coffee revolves around the chemical acrylamide, a byproduct of the bean roasting process, and California Proposition 65.

I’ll spare you the back story, but that information is out there if you want to read and understand it. I tried, but really couldn’t.

Maybe there could be a contest to see who can design an upscale, Hollywood-type warning statement and sign design that every single business in California, such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, Caribou, etc., will now be required to put on their door or somewhere in the business. Good grief.

A 2015 Huffington Post article said Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee a day. I’m guessing that number might be higher now. People have been drinking coffee for a few hundred years.

Common sense comes into play here. If you drink 15 cups of coffee a day, you have issues.

I’m all for safety, research and understanding ways to keep healthy and reduce our risks. But we have been informed time and time again that reasonable amounts of coffee can be healthy.


I don’t know if the ruling will be appealed. The lawsuit has been brewing since 2010, so progress on this steeping issue has been a slow drip. My filtered opinion is that there are no grounds for the lawsuit or warning statements. Sorry, couldn’t resist a few puns.

Boomers are the generation who grew up living dangerously — no car seats or seat belts. We spun off of metal merry-go-rounds and climbed to the very top of monkey bars. We drank out of the garden hose and didn’t always wash our hands for dinner.

We don’t care for contradictory information. The Chicken Little story I heard as a kid pops into my head.

There are many versions of this fable, but the one I recall is that Henny Penny runs to the king crying the sky is falling because he was hit on the head by a falling acorn. Penny jumped to conclusions and made everyone around him scared. Yep, that story sounds pretty familiar today.

Even the Mayo Clinic website says that coffee has health benefits. Of course, high consumption can present risks. Growing up today must be tough — every day our grandkids are told something or somebody is going to get them.

Our mission as grandparents is to demonstrate and instill common sense. Life is short. Life is a balancing act. Enjoy your coffee. Be kind.

Seems like a latte stuff over nothing. (Sorry…)

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