It’s a familiar situation to anyone who shares a workspace with a life form more advanced than a housecat: You get a little drowsy, meander down the hall to the break room, grab the coffee pot, and realize that you’re about to pour the last cup, which sucks because then you have to make more, which makes this 30-second trip into a frustrating journey because Bill in accounting never puts the coffee filters in the right place, and the faucet is all the way on the other side of the frickin’ room. What do you do? Do you only have half a cup and hope the next person starts a new pot? Do you wait 15 minutes and potentially doze off at your desk until someone else takes initiative?

No. You grab the bull by the proverbial horns and crank out another pot of the productivity elixer!

Oh, that sucks. You’re out of coffee, chief, and it would sure suck to be *that guy* who walks away without refilling the pot. You don’t just put an empty ranch dressing bottle back in the fridge at home, I presume, so why would you stoop to replacing the pot on its hotplate with nothing inside it, especially when the pot itself says not to heat it while empty. Do what the coffeepot says. Do not heat while empty.

And stop reaching for the power switch. You’re not flipping the power off and walking away. That sends the message to the rest of the office that coffee is off limits in the afternoon, and therefore morale is allowed to wane and shuteye to creep in.

Making a fresh pot of coffee is a time honored American tradition. It goes back to early July of 1776, when the nation’s founders spent all day on July 2 debating semantics of how to tell the King of England to politely go shove it. John Adams finished a pot and left one Mr. Thomas Jefferson to scribble away all night. The next morning, July 3, he stood in front of his esteemed colleagues and read what he had wrote:

Four score and seven years ago in the course of human events, it became necessary for one people to face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and by opposing, get them on the run and keep them on the run, and then, we’re going to go, go, go with liberty and justice for all.

His esteemed colleagues, of course, just stared blankly at the haggard Virginian, who had been up all night drafting a document that elicited a response only from John Hancock, who arose and said, “Are you daft?”

The grumbling in the room soon became babbling, the babbling became shouting, and the shouting became so loud that Betsy Ross, who was upstairs trying to figure out what to do with a bunch of red, white, and blue fabric scraps she had collected, came downstairs and told the group to please shut the hell up.

So Mr. Jefferson and his colleagues broke out the red pens and broke out the java and began making corrections. One by one they filed out until only Mr. Jefferson was left, fueled by tallow smoke from his candle and endless coffee. For you see, even though he was in a hurry, he always made sure to make a fresh pot.

You know the rest of the story. He read his document. There was applause. There were signatures. There were fireworks and cookouts and cold beer and lawn games, and even the Brits would come to admit one day that it was pretty cool.

So grab those grounds and that filter, and make another pot of coffee. If you’re not doing it for the office, do it for the founding fathers.

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