A Skeptic Tries: Decaf Coffee

I awoke one morning several years ago and made my way downstairs for my morning cup of decaffeinated coffee. I removed the jar of brown liquid I’d brewed the night before (from the refrigerator shelf next to my roommate’s identical jar of regular coffee), added a “unusual” amount of whole milk, and drank the entire thing.

After an hour, I was sitting at my office desk, trembling and nauseated. As my condition deteriorated, I could tell my coworkers were becoming nervous. By noon, I was shivering like a wind-up toy and had dramatically wrapped myself in a blanket sheath. I’d discarded the blankets before lunch and was experiencing what I described to a colleague as “a strange pattering of the heart.” By 3 p.m., my manager had sent me home, believing I was coming down with something lethal (at best) or something lethal and highly contagious (at worst).

My roommate walked in that night as I sat at the dining room table, cocooned in my warmest pair of raccoon-themed footie pyjamas. Her eyes were ringed with dark circles. “I had the worst day of my life,” she explained. “I was completely spent. It was as if I was unable to awaken.”

“My manager sent me home because I was behaving like a speeding squirrel,” I explained, holding out a quivering hand. We exchanged glances, the realisation slowly percolating between us.

“I believe we switched coffees this morning,” she explained.

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