So I gave up sweets for Lent.  I did this without really thinking through the fact that the Girl Scout cookies I ordered were going to arrive smack in the middle of it.

Thankfully, I didn’t give up coffee. Otherwise I’d have no coping mechanisms left.

I love coffee. But not as much as advertising executives in the 1950s loved coffee.

In my dining room, I have a framed series of magazine ads from the 50s, praising the virtues of coffee. I adore advertising from that era because they were clueless about the myriad of health risks every single thing we consume now contains. Or if they knew, then it was before the “truth in advertising” movement, so they can say whatever they need to say to sell their product. The ads are so unabashedly cheery. Here’s a few samples from my ads from the Pan-American Coffee Bureau, starting with the main slogan…

“Get more of out life, with Coffee!”

Translation: If you do not drink coffee, your life is unfulfilled. Just ask celebrity endorser, actress Paulette Goddard:

“You can take it from a hard-working Hollywood actress, there’s nothing like a delicious cup of coffee to cheer up a working girl… especially in the evening. I sure am a coffee fan!”

Don’t you get the picture of poor Paulette, having put in her hard day at the Hollywood “steel mill,” finally coming home to a hot cup of joe? I’m pretty sure that nobody’s referred to herself as both a ‘working girl’ and an ‘actress’ since maybe Melanie Griffith. But you know who does work hard? The military. As evidenced in this ad:

“The army knows a trick or two to keep our boys in trim… They make each solder eat and drink the things that give him vim. Delicious coffee — loads of it — is what the army serves… To give ’em extra energy and ever-steady nerves.”

It was a poem. About army recruits drinking coffee. Yes, America, you didn’t know it until now, but we owe our national security to Columbian and Kona. The army makes them drink it, for steady nerves. But that’s not all coffee has to offer. Oh, no.

“The buoyant lift it gives you is too good to miss by drinking it only once a day. It brightens conversation. It helps you think more quickly and clearly. It actually rests you when you’re tired. These are benefits you want at midday and in the evening. And if you’re like 97 people out of 100, you don’t need to worry about sleeping, for the lift lasts only about two hours.” 

It rests you when you’re tired, people!!  It makes you more interesting! And more in the line of coffee fantasies that I’m ready to buy into, the one with the drawings of the worn out mother…

“As Mom tucks her tiny tornado off to dreamland, that aroma tells her she’ll soon feel like her young self again!”

Coffee is actually the fountain of youth! This one includes a drawing of the father, who brewed the coffee, wearing both a tie and the mother’s apron. So right there you know it’s a fantasy.

But I don’t care. I’m ready to get more out of life. I’m ready to be more interesting. And if I can’t do it with Samoas and Tag-a-Longs, I’m going with this good advice from none other than the Glenn Miller:

“A good piece of music is like a good cup of coffee. It cheers a person up, especially when he’s feeling tired or let down. That’s why we musicians are such coffee drinkers. We’ve found we get more out of life with coffee.”

Encore, Glenn. Encore.

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