Monday, September 28, 2009

Hot Brown Spooning and Uncontrollable Balls

Whilst at work yesterday, I discovered I had a drink problem:

Completely missed the cup when spooning in the granules for my hot-brown.

Hot-brown is a mysterious "drink". We get it free at work, and it comes in industrial drums with "coffee" written on the front next to a Biohazard sign, but we're not sure what it really is other than hot and brown.

After sweeping up the instant hot-brown from the kitchen worktop, leaving an obscene yet hilarious skid mark across the faux-marble top, I made myself some more with fresh granules. Well, I say fresh, in that they hadn't been used before, but that's like referring to fresh granite, or fresh skeletons.

Any attempt the manufacturers of hot-brown try to make it resemble fresh coffee stops after they've coloured it brown.

I'm not complaining though, because it's free, and isn't free the sweetest taste of all?

Yes it is.

Of course, missing my yellow pussy mug with instant hot-brown isn't cause for concern, generally. It's just a bit of clumsiness, some gauche lack of concentration probably whilst gabbing on to some unfortunate colleague about the reduced quality of loo roll we have been forced to endure lately, a topic which isn't suitable for a blog like this, other than to say it has the absorptive properties of Welsh slate. A small spill that could happen to anyone.

But later that day, I did it again.

Now, what are the chances of that happening?

Well, actually about 1:1 because it did happen, which demonstrates the futility of retrospective predictions. Someone ought to mention that to Derren Brown. Or at least his audience.

You may scoff. I often do. But I was genuinely concerned.

You see, it wasn't a simple lack of concentration. I had the spoon over the mug, full to the brim with little, possibly carcinogenic nuggets of eye-opening beverage potential, and as I turned it over, my whole arm jerked a couple of inches to the left, almost like I'd been purposefully jolted.

So, for the second time in one day, I had spooned hot-brown granules all over the work-top, and had to scrape them off again into the sink, where they started to dissolve the stainless steel. So of course this got me worried. Not the dissolving metal bit, because it's always done that, but the fact that my motor skills seemed to have taken a turn for the worse.

What if this was a sign that I was ill? Maybe I'd developed some sort of palsy, or picked up a degenerative tropical parasite that would feed on my nerves whilst liquefying me from the inside out? I had eaten a Pizza Hut buffet just a few days before after all. Or perhaps I was afflicted with a brain tumour that was, even now, expanding to the size of a cheeseburger in my cerebellum.

Mmm . . . cheeseburger.

Cheeseburgers aside, I began to panic. I considered getting an emergency appointment with my GP, but just knew that she would want me to undergo a huge battery of tests and scans, blood samplings, ECGs and EEGs as soon as I had told her what had happened. Then, no doubt, she would lie awake through the night worried that one of her best customers was ill, and be unable to carry out her doctorly duties to her other, almost as deserving patients.

She takes me very seriously, does my GP. Gave me a medic-alert bracelet with "hypochondriac" on it, which was appreciated, as well as a little award for my genuine pseudo-seizures. At least, I think of them as seizures, because "angry twitch whilst parking" doesn't sound as clinically pathological.

I couldn't allow her other patients to suffer because of my affliction so, stoically, I put down the phone, leaving the receptionist shouting "Who's there? I know who you are!" and looked around for a test I could do myself.

There. Four juggling balls on the coffee table.

A perfect test of motor skill and dexterity, is juggling. I picked them up and threw them in a high parabola, letting them come down in two sets of two, spinning gently in the afternoon sun.

They dropped heavily to the floor, two glancing off my face on their way down, one rolling under the Fragrant Chair, which means it will stay there forever because no-one goes near it, let alone sits in it.

I couldn't juggle four balls!

With crystalline clarity brought about by the sudden vivid visualisation of my own mortality, I recalled that I had never been able to juggle four balls, and maybe I ought to try three.

So I did.

This seemed to go okay, and I even tried a trick or two, resulting in the usual flailing and cursing as I missed and scrabbled with my errant and uncontrollable balls.

All normal then.

I then did the ultimate test, and made my self another brew. Tongue out, brow furrowed, sweat beading, chest heaving, I went about rebeveraging my mug, and was rewarded with a steaming, moderately lumpy, slightly fizzing but above all unspilled cup of hot-brown.

Panic over.

So the only explanation I have is that my subconscious, realising I was about to subject myself to my eighth mug of hot-brown in a row, made a desperate effort to spare me the rigours, tinnitus, palpitations and head-music that always accompanies that particular beverage, and caused my arm to jerk away in an attempt to stop me consuming it.

With some willpower and a heroic disregard for my own well-being, I overcame it and forced another four cups down that day, and positively enjoyed the strange vibrating gait I subsequently developed.

Take that subconscious!


It's not talking to me now. Sulky bugger.


  1. I wonder if my GP would give me one of those medical alert bracelets? Because they look so cool. Steady on there, Hot Brown Fan!

  2. You're absolutely right. It is hot (if you're lucky), brown, and any other resemblance it may or may not bear to coffee is purely coincidental and possibly the result of caffeine-induced hallucinations.

  3. I loved this, especially the Pizza Hut reference, because we all know they include parasites at no extra charge.

  4. CatLadyLarew - If you keeps asking, after seven or eight years they will!

    omchelsea - There's caffeince in it? I though it was diesel.

    SkylersDad - If they're big enough they get them to bring you drinks.

  5. Hahahha, "errant and uncontrollable balls".

    That hot brown stuff sounds scary. Maybe you should cut back a little?

  6. I wouldn't drink instant coffee unless I was paid a million quid or told that it would immediately result in the instant pain and suffering inflicted on the half-wits who have dug up the entire bus route so I'm running 45 minutes late on a 50 minute journey.

    I am the new Derren Brown. I predict that tomorrow you will miss the mug 5 times at 12, 13, 14, 15 pm AND be stuck in your seat.

  7. If I visit the UK, I'll have to purchase some of this 'Hot Brown' in order to add to my large collection of 'Giffen Goods'. Other items in said collecion include but are not limited to 'Non-dairy creamer', 'I Can't Believe This Tastes Nothing Like Butter', 'Slim Jims', and 'Vegemite'.

    Over here, we have 'Choco', which is probably similar to 'Hot Brown', but with a vaguely chocolatey-melamine taste. It always reminds me of the 'Friends' television episode about 'Mocklat'.

  8. Fresh Skeletons? Sweet Jesus, I love this blog.

  9. You need to climb more trees and lick more frogs.

  10. Soda and Candy - why? Whywhywhywhywhywhy?

    Mo - At least your predicting in advance of the event, so that puts you one step ahead of Derren.

    Eric - Have you tried Camp Coffee? Oh man . . .

    GB - I can't because of the restraining order form Bristol zoo.

  11. Steamy - You're easily pleased! Lucky girl.

  12. I loved everything about this post. That's all.

  13. We Irish have the ultimate cure for hypochondria; a minimum €50 fee for every GP visit - and thats without said Doc actually doing anything.

    Yes indeed, you wouldnt believe how healthy we all feel... ;)

  14. Jules,

    Perhaps it's some paranormal activity, that's a lot of Dark Brown stored in the workplace.

    I don't think it's you that caused the spills. It's likely to be a Dark Brown entity; hopefully, you won't get slimed.

    These guys have retired but for an embarrassing amount of money, I'm sure they'd fly to the UK.


  15. Alex - Ta! I think we may have a similar sesense of humour.

    Judearoo - Is that so? I bet you have the healthiest death beds in Europe.

    U - they'd need some bigger weaponry to take on the steam coming from that beverage, I can tell you. Like the lost souls of the damned in every cup it is.

  16. Wow. All I have to say is wow, I thought you had me at the title of Hot Brown Spooning and Uncontrollable Balls but this post got better and better. My favorite phrase "possibly carcinogenic nuggets of eye-opening beverage potential". I'm just guessing here but combining your hot brown drink while watching the show House, might do dreadfull things to that sulky bugger called your subconscious.

    I followed because of the lovely award you received from MLS but I'm defintley sticking around after this post!

  17. This post was a work of art. I may have to quit blogging now and sell washcloths on the street.

    The title alone makes me want to marry you.

    Word verification is "zedness". Oh yes.

  18. Ha, a medic-alert bracelet with "hypochondriac" on it!! I asked my doctor to give me one with Only bother to keep alive if the accident makes him look dead rugged on it.

  19. Lola - Nice to have you along, and thanks for commenting! I love House, but maybe because I can't get over Hugh Laurie having a gruff yank accent rather than an upper calss English one.

    Vic - You're always so lovely. I think you have oodles of zedness.

    Gadja - Fair enough. Can an accident result in a cool scar, a manly scowl, and a sombrero? I supposed it's better than looking rugged, dead.

  20. Your title scared me there for a minute, but I just had to read it anyway. A work of art, as usual! I hope you're able to get your balls under control and restrict your spooning to the bed room.

  21. Pash - Spooning in the bedroom? Won't that get coffee on the sheets?

  22. You should just start brewing coffee. I can't even imagine drinking instant coffee. Sacrilegious. ;)

  23. A myoclonic jerk
    Is a strange piece of work
    But it helps if you juggle your balls
    Drinking hot brown
    And keeping it down
    Will have you climbing the walls!

  24. Erin - Yes, but . . . free!

    Urbane Warrior - :-)

  25. This is THE funniest thing you have ever written. Ever. Love the bracelet, love the "head-music", love it all. I would be envious, but I also am glad I am "not you." For my cabana boy brings me fresh brew every morning. Can't beat it with a stick. No granules over here.

  26. You also have uncontrollable balls? I thought it was just me. Phew!

  27. expateek - Glad you liked it. I wonder if I can persuade my employers to hire a beverage-wallah for us.

    Tennyson ee Hemingway - Yup. I get the impression it's not a rare condition.

  28. Jules,
    I was just sittin here drinkin my coffee an readin this, I started laffin so hard i spilt the coffee in my lap, and the bracelet thing was too much like Bess here, lol, I need to git her one a them.

  29. plainolebob - I live to make folk spit up their coffee! Thanks mate.

  30. The title was hard to resist!

    I got banned from making hot brown at my old place of employment because I somehow always caused the machine to overflow in torrents. But because I can juggle four balls flawlessly,it is clear to me now that the hot brown machine was at fault, not me. I feel vindicated now. Thank you.

  31. nanodance - Good stuff. Look at you, showing off with your lack of degenerative neorological disorder!

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. You my dear are too darn funny. My innards are aching, in a good and giggly way.

  34. Christine Gram - Oh thank you. I am glad, and welcome along!

  35. Good God you make me laugh. What a strange and delightful man you are.

    And freak. Maybe a bit of a freak.

    Hot brown. I'm using that.


  36. The potential for spilled grounds is the primary reason I do not make coffee.

  37. Pearl - Strange and delightful freak? I'm okay with that.

    Inspector Clouseau - Gravity is the enemy of the coffee maker.

  38. I'm more shocked that you don't have some underling to make it for you. What's the NHS coming to these days?

  39. Mdme DeF - If by underling, you mean colleague who gets whinged at incessently until he or she relents and makes me a brew, then I do!

  40. I stopped drinking coffee (or any poor substitute of same) at work when I realized it was keeping me awake.

  41. oh dear...
    that stuff just might be toxic.
    beware, beware!


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