I Drink My Coffee Black…Hair or No Hair

After high school graduation and between college semester breaks, summertime found me working for my dad’s painting company. Truth be told, I did little actual painting. But there were plenty of other tasks to support the real journeymen painters, low skilled tasks that a ‘college kid’ could easily master; scraping, sanding, dusting and hauling, to name a few. I abhorred it.

However, I did get an ‘education’ on hard work and found one task that was simple and perfectly suited to my teenage laziness, the ‘runner’.

When it was mid morning break time, I collected the painters’ money and went for their food and drink, generally coffee and a sweet roll, or donut. The workers’ break was 10 minutes by union rules, but for me, it was a good 30 to 45 minutes, because I was the ‘runner’.

I became familiar with the likes and dislikes of the men on the jobs, and listened attentively to their ‘sage’ advice. Naturally, I ignored it, I was a ‘college kid’.

“Drink coffee, and drink it black, it’ll put hair on your chest!”

Coffee was not part of my regimen, then, and I already had some hair on my chest, at least it was starting, so the suggestion didn’t sway me.

I often heard the same admonition from my ‘old school’ father when I was a kid; “eat it (drink it, take it), it’s good for you, and it’ll put hair on your chest”, my father would urge. Why would a ten year old kid want hair on his chest?

Eventually, I joined the throng of coffee drinkers. It wasn’t the macho world of laboring men who got me started, however. My caffeine fix began with ‘Gussie’, my future mother-in-law, who always had a pot of coffee brewing in her kitchen.

The aroma of percolating coffee, aaahhhh, it was addicting and ‘Gussie’ drank it black.

There’s a certain intoxication in that very aroma, isn’t there? And, if it could only taste as good as it smelled, with no additives, then black would be my choice, as well.

Years later, my sales job reinforced the black option. On the road several days a week, coffee became a staple of my morning routine and a stimulant during day time drive times. Who has time to mix in a creamer or sugar packet when you’re hustling to an appointment? Pull in to the fast food drive-thru, order, pay, then grab ‘n go.

I still drink coffee, black. And, yes, I have hair on my chest. ‘Gussie ‘ is gone for many years, now. And, if your wondering, I never asked…and she never mentioned ‘it’.


To coffee drinkers everywhere…especially, ‘Gussie’

March 2019

Published by


Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

14 thoughts on “I Drink My Coffee Black…Hair or No Hair”

  1. Here’s to those of us who drink it black! It almost feels like a club. When we first moved to Massachusetts, I went into a Dunlin Donuts and ordered a coffee. “Do you want a regular?” Of course I did. A good ole’ boy (girl) black coffee. No fixins needed. My coffee was delivered loaded with cream and sugar. What!? Yup, a ‘regular’ in these parts does not mean black. Obviously no hair. Thanks, Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Al, of course, when I talk about ‘running’ for coffee for the workers, the choices were regular or decaf, with cream and/or sugar. We’re spoiled now. And it’s great! Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, hard to function and get going in the morning without my latte. I actually bought a barista so I didn’t have to spend $10/day at Starbucks. I think the machine has paid for itself 10X over!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bought a barista? I thought a barista was one of the servers. I’m confused. I go to Sbucks every morning after my school crossing shift, and buy a the tallest bold coffee made on their ‘Clover’ machine, for an extra bold flavor. $3.78 every day. It’s crazy. When I went for coffee ‘back in the day’, it was 30 cents a cup. Great conversation, today. Have a great week. Gnight!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Our son gave us a Breville, not sure of model. I thought it was a pain to clean so we quit using it. Not even sure if we still have it. But, whatever you use, that morning Joe helps kickstart the day.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s