Oftentimes—early in the morning, when the sun is just creeping over the horizon— I consider smashing my Keurig. The grating whirring noise it makes when it “warms up” (presumably, the radioactive core required to produce the cursed beverage) is an audible reminder of yet another twelve hours of misery begun anew. In the two years my wife and I have shared custody of our Keurig K55, the sound of the infernal machine belching out brown liquid has accompanied a number of national, planetary, and intergalactic disasters. The morning of a mass shooting, the morning after Donald Trump’s election, the morning my dog chewed up my LA Dodgers hat—all married in my mind to the noise of my Keurig.
I tried to get rid of my Keurig, even though it makes my coffee in under a minute. The ease of brewing a cup of joe was hard to part with, but I went ahead and bought a real coffee maker, which involve actual grounds, equipment, and patience. Rather than obliterating my machine with a sledgehammer, I tucked it away in a closet. I am many things— lazy, vain, easily irritated, unable to ride a bicycle at the age of thirty-three—but I am not wasteful. Post-Keurig life seemed bright. Instead of the mechanical screeching, subtle delights of percolation wafted through my home. On weekends, I’d even pull out my French press, as if holding court at a café on the Champs-Élysées, trading bons mots with Scott and Zelda. But when my wife became pregnant with our first child, she had to cut the caffeine. Suddenly I was brewing for one. As an admitted coffee dilettante, I wasn’t going to measure out tablespoons of grounds to make a single cup, like some elderly pensioner, and I sure wasn’t going to French-press it every day. My Parisian fantasy would mutate into a logistical nightmare of twiddling my thumbs, waiting for water to boil.
Around this time, the Keurig came under attack. Many Americans began destroying their devices after the Vermont-based company ceased advertising on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program due to the host’s proclivity for entertaining accused molester–slash–Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore on cable TV. Conservatives took to social media, posting videos of themselves demolishing their Keurigs, with hashtags like #StandWith- Hannity, #BreakYourKeurig, and #BoycottKeurig. One truly motivated MAGA-head with the Twitter handle @socalmike_ SD created a video where a US Air Force fighter jet fired a missile at a Keurig to the strains of AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill.” How any conservative could support such a gross misuse of government funds is beyond me.
In any case, it seemed like a good time to dust off my Keurig and plug it back in. I didn’t really have any other options, and maybe I would like it more now that it was reviled by conservatives? But there it was: the most irritating sound in the world, same as it ever was.
I have come to understand my Keurig as an ideal tool for American life in the twenty-first century: a technological solution for a problem that barely inconvenienced us in any real way. The device offers convenience instead of quality. It’s also destructive and divisive, with its “pods” clogging up landfills everywhere and its reputation forever sullied, according to half the nation.
Really, I should smash the thing now and make a video of it, but not because of politics. I just want to show the world I’ve finally accepted that I’m addicted to something—two things, technically—more potent than caffeine: sloth and apathy. I’d rather press fewer buttons and wait less so that I can drink something I can’t stand that’s killing the planet. Now that my son has been born and my wife is back to imbibing, I could have gone back to the regular pot months ago. But I haven’t. Too much work.
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