Reasons Not To Kill Yourself Today, No. 12: Coffee and, "Ironically," Cigarettes

We were walking from First to Second Ave, my friend’s best friend and I. He was so tired, he said, that his feet felt like stumps. “You need to go bed with like some warm milk,” I said. I remembered that he doesn’t drink milk, being a delicate vegan. “Some almond milk.”

He said he was so tired he didn’t need warm milk, but me saying it made him think of coffee in the morning. How good that would be. I said you always need one thing, only one thing, to look forward to in life and that’s how you keep living. Or something. And he said it’s true and that thing is coffee.

Also, cigarettes. We talked then about which thing we have first: the coffee, or the cigarette.

Me, I can’t smoke a cigarette in the morning before coffee. It’s the taste equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. And it’s the only time in which smoking feels exactly as disgusting and reprehensible and all that shit as you’re going to tell me it is. Every other time, every time that comes after even one hot jolting sip of coffee, I don’t care. If you don’t like my cigarettes you can write to your local government representative.

Tell him/her, too, that in fact I’m more addicted to coffee than a) cigarettes and b) every drug I’ve ever done put together and multiplied by speed. You know this to be true for yourself if you’ve ever attempted a cleanse (ewwwww) and woken up on Day Three, head pulsing with the dull pain of existence.

And then said fuck it and went to get coffee from anywhere and inhaled its steam and felt its raspy heat and watched the world get brighter, the contrast higher, and remembered the whhhhy of waking up, why you
ever wake up.

One of the few not-scientifically-proven things I believe is that each human has the same finite number of heartbeats. He who has the lowest resting heartrate, and doesn’t die in one of a million unnatural ways, or get a major disease, lives the longest. But I mean, when he dies, he dies of boredom. Yeah, coffee quickens your heart. Cigarettes make it beat faster, harder. So does cocaine and other drugs. So do hot baths and near-death moments, and so does sex and spicy food and seeing your crush suddenly from a short distance and s/he not seeing you.

All of these things might be bad for us, and some of them definitely are, and don’t do drugs, kids, ok? But also: while they might be killing you, they’re making you not wanna kill yourself. Life, death: more of an and/or proposition.

This morning, still in New York, I went to meet a friend for breakfast in Soho. The place had window seats outside, big enough to curl up in with my coffee, which I took in a to-go cup, and my cigarette. I sat
there dying a little more quickly and wanting to less. TC mark


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  • Michael Koh

    Sweet, I just chugged some coffee. Everything looks brighter and sharper now.

  • kas

    i rather live short in harmful enjoyment, than  to live long but without something to look forward to.

  • jenn

    this was awesome to read.  really really liked this.

  • FC


  • simón

    Coffee and cigarettes,  my type of addictions.

  • lebronojames1
  • Tim

    Um how then to explain that exercise speeds up your heart yet is proven to make you live longer (more heartbeats)? Yes, I get the point of this article, but it was whimsical and for the minor enjoyment it gave me not worth it. If you're writing about how you need to look for just one thing to live for (and god knows I can relate to that position), then maybe you need to focus on trading in those cigarettes and coffee for something that's more stable? Then again, if you live in New York (and by the tone of this article) you're probably more into romanticizing your life than living a fulfilling life.

    • jeffreysmoore153

      People who excercise often, have a lower average heartbeat.

    • Kelsea

      You remind me of an ex boyfriend who told me that the point of life is realizing that you're not happy, and never really will be.

      • Tim

        Nah man, the point is to realise that we don't have to hold ourselves back by getting into stupidly unhealthy relationships with these things. I love cigarettes and coffee, but I don't try and depend on them for happiness! I think a POV that fits me better than your ex's is that we should overcome our self-destructive tendencies and insecurities and realise a more lasting and real happiness! I could not possibly agree with your ex. I just really don't agree with the romanticization of coffee and cigarettes.

    • Lesharo

      Eat right, exercise, die anyway…no thanks.

  • Melissa

    Last line is beautiful. I wholeheartedly agree with this article. My opinion on the matter is that there are so many things out there that are going to kill you in the long run, so you may as well enjoy 'em in the short run. I don't know… Do whatever you want, just don't tell me what I'm doing is wrong.

  • Megan

    Nothing, nothing can compare to the combination of coffee and cigarettes.

    • Alex Keen

      A cup of tea and a joint is my perfect combo

  • The RZA

    Don't you know caffeine can cause serious delirium?

    • TheGZA

      Are you a bug, Billy Murray?

  • ;:.

    Your mother and your brothers and sisters will totally 'get' this once you're dead at 35 and they are forced to live with it

  • brandypass

    I love this!

  • thebigmunch

    I love this too!

  • Kelsea

    This is so wonderful and lovely I want to fly to New York right now just to kiss you on both cheeks.

  • Emily


  • uruou
  • food for thought.

    “I said you always need one thing, only one thing, to look forward to in life and that’s how you keep living.” I love this sentiment. Also, I'm a clean living vegan, but I stay jacked up on tea all day. We all have our vices.

  • alexrax

    This is my life. Especially the no-cigarettes-in-the-morning-before-coffee thing. Seems bizarre, but so innately true.

  • Katie

    “I sat there dying a little more quickly and wanting to less.” One of my favourite things you've ever written.

  • Kaitlyn
  • lauren

    i don’t drink coffee or smoke and can totally relate to this article. 

    i love this ‘reasons not to kill yourself’ series so much!

  • Guest

    i honestly come back to this article over and over again just because it is so perfect.  always makes my day a little better.

  • Guest

    i honestly come back to this article over and over again just because it is so perfect.  always makes my day a little better.

  • patricia

    “I sat there dying a little more quickly and wanting to less.” Profound, in a way.

  • Sinazo


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