Opinion: Why I Won’t Order a Medium Drip

Viewpoints Guest Column


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Rest assured that if you see me in a coffee shop, I will be ordering a medium coffee, not a medium drip. Why?  Because I cannot bring myself to utter those words. I realize that I will not sound cool, hip, or knowledgeable when I order a coffee, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

 Whose brilliant idea was it anyway to call something as wonderful as a hot cup of coffee a drip? Even the act of saying the word “drip” is gross. Your lips have to slap together at the end to produce that awful P. Drip is one of those grotesque words like “moist” that should only be spoken in very certain circumstances.

One of the definitions of a drip is an unattractive, boring, or colorless person, as in, “Look at that poor guy over there, what a drip.”

Maybe my revulsion comes from the fact that I work in remodeling. Drips usually come from leaks. Leaks and drips always contain unpleasant fluids. Leaks and drips can be disastrous. They ruin the drywall, they stain the cabinets, they create mold and mildew. In my line of work drips are not good. You try and avoid drips at all costs.

A roofer might show up on a job and park his ancient Chevy and drip oil on the client’s new pebble finish driveway. When I’m painting someone’s fancy front door I live in fear of a runs, sags, and drips.

Look at how many ugly words and events are associated with drips. “Drips are caused by fluids that leak that cause stains and moist rotting moldy conditions.” Why in the hell would you put a name like that on something you intend to swallow?

Men of a certain age know the drill. Shake, shake, shake, three drips and you’re done. “I stood at the urinal waiting for the drips to stop, but they went on and on.”

Have you ever lived in a house with a leaky faucet that drips all night? Or had a roof leak? “The roof leaked all night. Drip, drip, drip, into the bucket. It was torture.”

In fact, Wikipedia describes Chinese Water Torture as “a process in which water is slowly dripped onto a person’s forehead, allegedly making the restrained victim insane.” Ask those people how they feel about drips. I bet they don’t order a medium drip at the coffee shop.

Now I realize that people who insist on ordering a medium drip are referring to the process of how the coffee was brewed, but surely there must be a better term.

When I hear someone order a medium drip, I can’t help thinking about that experiment by a professor at the University of Queensland in 1927 who put pitch – which is a thick tar – into a funnel to see how long it would take to produce a drop, or even a drip. Eleven years later the first drip broke free and plopped down on the table below. It has only dripped nine times in the last 90 years.

But that’s not the only pitch experiment. Recently another pitch drop experiment from 1914 was rediscovered. It had been forgotten in a back room somewhere. The pitch was more viscous than the Queensland pitch and still – 103 years later – it’s first drop has yet to break off. When it does, you can bet some drip will show up and order a medium.

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