2018-03-21 / Editorials

Don’t drink the last of the Kool-aid

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

When my brother and I were little, we were big fans of Kool-Aid and sweet tea.

Today’s parents would be reported to child protective services if they let their children drink as much of those sugarfilled treats as we did. But back in the dark ages when I was a child, it was perfectly acceptable for mothers to fill their children with as much sugar as they could stand.

In fact, my mother even had a rule for the two of us. The one who drank the last of the Kool-Aid or sweet tea had to make another pitcher. This was my mother’s way of teaching us responsibility, as well as making sure there would be some in the fridge for the next person who wanted it.

It seemed like a good idea in theory. But in practice, the moment you drank the last of the Kool-Aid was also the exact moment that your friends were waiting on you to ride your bikes around the neighborhood, and nobody wants to wait while you make a silly pitcher of grape Kool-Aid.

I must have made a couple of hundred pitchers of Kool-Aid and sweet tea as a kid because it always seemed like I was the one who got the last drink.

Eventually, though, I learned why it seemed I was always making more. It’s because my brother had learned to cheat the system. Whenever he got something to drink, he always made sure to leave just enough in the bottom of the pitcher, so he didn’t have to make another one. But it also guaranteed that the next person to get something to drink — me! —would empty the pitcher.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this for the last few weeks because it seems like my brother’s idea to get out of doing a chore isn’t unique. My boss provides a coffee maker, coffee and filters in our break room. But we must make the coffee .

More mornings than not, when I go to get a cup of coffee, there isn’t enough coffee to fill my mug. Which means I must make a fresh pot. I stay in the break room while the coffee brews because I learned the hard way not to leave. Once, because the pot was nearly empty, I started a fresh pot and returned to my office while it brewed. I got involved in some work, so it was about 15 minutes later before I went back to the break room.

The pot was nearly empty, and I had to make another one.

I’m not sure why people aren’t considerate enough to make more coffee. Maybe it’s part of a bigger societal problem where people simply don’t care about their fellow men and women much anymore.

I briefly considered posting a sign in the break room threatening to hit the culprit over the head with the empty pot, but violence is never the answer. I could send out an email asking people to please make more coffee, but I don’t want to be that guy who’s always complaining.

It could be worse, I suppose. Making a pot of coffee isn’t exactly brain surgery. It only takes a couple of minutes and, if I’ve just made the coffee, I’m guaranteed it will be fresh. So, I really have no reason to be angry and vindictive.

But my co-workers might want to taste the sugar before they add it to their coffee.

It might be salt.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch. clarke @gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/ blog/ mitch.

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