The Keurig

Originally published April 2010.

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Last December I was flipping through a catalogue and said off-handedly to Dan,

“What do you think about asking for a Keurig for Christmas?”

His reaction was visceral.

“What?!?!?!  Are you serious?!!?!?  Owning a Keurig is as stupid as buying bottled water.”

I stared at him blankly. I like bottled water.

He  continued in disgust.

“Ugh! Kate! It is nothing but an evil marketing scheme to get you to pay $15 for a bunch of little plastic cups!  It is completely unnecessary; a Keurig is what you buy someone who already has everything.”

News to me.  I thought that was a fountain pen, or cufflinks.  Dan did not stop with big business, he was going to take down America, too.

“That is the problem with Americans these days, we want to spend our money on indulgences like Keurigs.  If someone buys me a Keurig, I’m returning it, buying a $15 coffee pot and spending the rest on that ice cream you always ask for!”

Chunky Monkey. Dan had not had this kind of reaction to anything since he found out that Panera’s PB&J costs four bucks.

(I should pause here to say: I’ve previously confessed to being the world’s worst gift giver.  I was, at that time, seriously considering getting a Keurig for Dan.  At this point I shrewdly discerned that I should move on to Christmas present plan B.)

On Christmas morning, as we were all sitting in our pajamas amidst piles of tissue paper, I reached out for my last present, a big box that read, “To: Kate.  Love, Sandra (my mother-in-law).”

I tore open the wrapping to reveal a little, red Keurig coffee brewer.  I gasped, clutched it to my breast, and shouted at Dan with a mixture of passion and desperation,

“You can’t take him from me, I love him too much!”

As if I were on a soap opera and Dan were my disapproving father threatening to separate me from my lover.

“Is there any coffee to go in it?” he asked.


“Well good for you!  You got a new toy.”

“Yes, and you’re not allowed to play with it.”

Dan rolled his eyes.

When we got home, I set it on the counter next to our old coffee pot. They looked stately sitting there together, like they were very important machines.  I arranged all my K-cups in their display and stepped back to admire my work.  It was beautiful – a little coffee shrine.

Every time Dan walked by the Keurig he scoffed:

“It doesn’t even keep your coffee warm for you.” “It doesn’t even make the house smell like coffee.” “What do you see in that thing anyway?”

“If you must know, I like pushing the little button.  It’s fun.”

“You know the regular coffee pot has a button too.”

“Shut up.”

Not two weeks after the Keurig’s inaugural brew, I was sitting in the living room enjoying a hot cup of joe when I heard a popping, sizzling noise in the kitchen.  I walked in to find Dan staring in horror at the old coffee pot, which was sitting in a large puddle of water on the counter, smoking.  The kitchen was covered in soggy coffee grounds (though to be fair, the grounds could have been courtesy of Dan’s very diligent scooping skills).  We opened the top, slowly.  We gently lifted the basket, and just as we peeked inside, a piece fell off.

It was like it just quit.  Coffee Pot saw Keurig, looked him in the eye and said,

"I can’t…go…on.  They drink…too…much….  Can’t…produce...  Tell the mugs…goodbye…"

and with his last dying breath, he passed the baton.

Dan looked at me.  We observed a moment of silence.  Then he said,

“Can I use your Keurig?”

Thank God for little indulgences.

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(Source: Print designed by and available for purchase from fieldtrip on Etsy)