“He’ll tell you?” I’ll answer that question.
If you take a look at the picture pasted to this blog post, if you are under the age of 40 you might not know where this comes from. It is from the top of an old coffee tin for the now defunct, Butter-Nut Coffee Company that was based in Omaha, Nebraska. The front of the coffee tin has a syntax issue: “The Coffee Delicious”, but I’ll let several smart aleck comments waft away into the Texas haze. This product comes from a time before the ubiquitous Starbucks, and Prince Albert tobacco was still in the can. If you are over the age of 40, you just chuckled. And from the novel, Fishing for Light, it was not Clevenger’s favorite coffee concoction – “red-eyed, black-eyed, frappe mocha latte frothy cream with sprinkles”.
In part the entire satire, Fishing for Light was created to poke fun at 21st Century life, culture and the current lost 20-something age group. I think that’s non-sense because I was lost when I was in my 20’s as well. The underlying themes delve into GMO’s – Genetically Modified Organisms, Epi Genetics and life trauma, faith or the lack of faith or hope (thus the reason Professor Quan stole the Hope Diamond), and the reality that hidden forces can alter our lives and bodies without our knowledge.
Now, those forces might be good or they might be evil, or they might be a combination of both good and evil, it really depends on how you view the world. The gift to live in the developed western world is that you choose to go through life like a sheared sheep, you DO have that option; think about it as you stare down at your mobile phone for the zillionth time as you whiz down the outer loop. I choose to pay attention. And I try not to stare down at my mobile tracking device per Edward Snowden’s advice. But when I was in my lost 20’s; I did not really pay good attention in class. I have no idea how I got my business degrees from an accredited university but it looks good on my resume.
But why? Ask The Man Who Drinks It Black, well, I did do that a long time ago when I was in my lost teenage years. I have a childhood friend I met in the 5th grade, and someone whom I consider a dear friend to this very day, and someone that I love, and whose father gave me the second best advice I have ever gotten. He comes in second to my grandparents, and I explained the reason why within the previous blog post, ‘Be Ye Kind’.
In fact, my friend’s father was a very kind man, a smart man, a thoughtful man, a wonderful father and husband, a former All American, a military veteran, an amazing poker player, and someone I miss even to this very moment. He died many years ago; I still have a copy of his obituary. I hold on to modest items like old newspaper clippings because they trigger memories, and sometimes they inspire me. He inspired me, if you will excuse the cliché – to be a man.
Within the novel, Fishing for Light it has several scenes that use the phrase, “Drink It Black”. As I wrote Fishing for Light, I used that phrase over and over again, in a good and evil context. I’ll quote my friend’s father, “Always drink it black, so where ever you are, you won’t be disappointed.” Obviously, I used the quote as a metaphor, but I’ve never forgotten what a kind mentor he was and who advised me to “Drink It Black” and showed me, and did not tell me, how to conduct myself as a man. I even used the quote to start the novel, Fishing for Light, below is an excerpt from the first page.
Fishing for Light, page 1:
“On December 22, 1990 inside a university hospital complex, Edward Tiberius Wilcox was born at exactly 3:07 Coordinated Universal Time. After the physician snipped the umbilical cord and untethered Edward from his mother Sophia, the obstetrics nurse inspected him. She did not document any obvious defects. His APGAR score registered as a 9, he had brown hair, blue eyes, and an average Caucasian body shape and size. She wrapped him in a soft baby blanket. Then she kindly grinned as she handed him over to his father, Adam, who immediately began to cry as he held his warm son for the first time. His mother’s brown hair tangled and matted along her sweating forehead, she simply beamed up at her men. For the departing delivery team it was just another day, but it was not just another day for Adam and Sophia. From their combined 46 chromosomes, they had created a unique life. It was as random and common as their first meeting on an early Monday morning at the curved counter within a busy Starry Eyed Coffee Hut. That day the barista had wondered who had ordered the black coffees.
“What’s up with this?” the Barista had asked.
“I like it black,” Sophia had said. She shrugged.
“Me? Oh it was my father,” Adam had said. He glanced over at Sophia. “Drink it black, so I wouldn’t be disappointed.”
“Oh?” Sophia said. She finger twirled with her straight hair. She whispered, “Mine too.”
At that moment, Adam and Sophia had an instant lover’s connection. In the blink of Sophia’s hazel colored irises, they were married. As they frolicked during their indoor Caribbean honeymoon, Edward’s conception was not the result of any selective breeding process by powerful families trying to protect vast generational wealth. For they had no kingdom for Edward to inherit, they passed on to him the only widow’s mite they equally possessed; they bathed his DNA with their unconditional love.” End.
And if you are wondering, yes, I always drink my coffee black.