That’s All You Had To Say


My son, Zach, turned 29 a few days ago. Today, Randy and Joey and I are meeting him, my parents, sister, niece and nephew for lunch to celebrate Zach’s birthday. Ā I can’t believe my first baby boy is nearly 30. Because no way am I old enough to have a 29 year old son.

But that’s not the point.

I was sitting outside with some coffee and thinking about what I needed to accomplish before going downtown to meet the family. My coffee was strong and sweet because my resolve to give up sugar dissolved. I get cranky when I can’t drink my coffee the way I want it.

This morning, however, I thought it tasted funny. I didn’t really like the sugar and I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I suddenly hated sugar? And loved running?

So, I’m thinking about coffee with cream and sugar and naturally my thoughts turned to Winston Wolf, which led to thinking about Quentin Tarantino and his skill at writing dialogue.

That was a superficial attempt to explain my train of thought. This is an overview. The actual path was more convoluted and rambling.Ā 

There are great lines in all of Tarantino’s movies. It’s the little things, though, that bind all those good lines together. Winston Wolf, for instance. Winston goes to Jimmy’s house to help clean up Marvin’s dead body and Jimmy offers him a cup of coffee. Winston looks at him and says “lots of coffee cream sugarcream, lots of sugar.”

Think about any tough guy character you’ve ever seen on the screen or read about in a book and how they take their coffee. It’s always black. Not Winston Wolf, he gets his coffee the opposite of your typical tough guy and it doesn’t change his tough guy status a single iota.

These details, the seemingly insignificant lines, are the backbone that hold up the “five dollar shake”, “royale with cheese” and “big Kahuna burger” scenes.

It also occurred to me, that when Quentin Tarantino, or any writer, presents us with another way of viewing life, even minute details, they are helping us break away from the common views spoon fed to us. If we can break away from our normal way of looking at life, the benefit is growth. Imagine if we all swatted away our blinders and explored the possibility that all tough guys don’t have to drink black coffee, then what other things are we seeing through our tunnels?

Or have I given this Winston Wolf thing too much thought?

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  • Wow. Deep. I love it and it’s giving me something to think about. And to aim for. BTW, I’m still off sugar. I froth whole milk and drink it with a little coffee. Don’t miss the sugar anymore.

  • I have a special place in my heart for writers with the insight to tie movie scenes to real life but NOT IN AN OBVIOUS WAY which is just tedious. So thank you. That, and lines like, “What if I suddenly hated sugar? And loved running?” always make me glad I stopped by.

  • Nice. Very nice. Tunnels are like black coffee – dark and tasteless. Although I’ve never tasted a tunnel before, so probably a bad reference.
    Let’s add sugar to everything! Unless, you’re prone to diabetes, then probably don’t.

  • I can’t go deep with this one – I’m still stuck up there with ‘my coffee tastes funny so maybe I’ve gone off sugar and love running’ All I could think about was how cool would that be? I am soooo shallow!

  • I was at a sexuality conference this weekend and attended several sessions focused on how we view masculinity in our culture and the damage it does men when we force this ‘tough guy’ thing on them. It was fascinating to hear the men in the room talk about these issues–opened up my views even more.

  • *adjusts rose colored glasses*

    What if…? What if…?

    I particularly enjoy the taste of flavored, sweetened creamer in my double scoop, highly caffeinated coffee WITH A CIGARETTE!!!!!


    ESPECIALLY when my ‘tough guy’ act has to last longer than I can be tough. Then, I WANT the flavor of whiskey with a soda pop chaser.

    So, now, this morning, I’m wanting whiskey and cigarettes and fuck the coffee.

    Because THAT’S how I USED to deal with life. (Still pretty sure it wasn’t ALL bad šŸ˜‰ )

    Now I GET to have my coffee any damn way I want it because: No. Cigarette. No. Whiskey.

    Justify what you are going without, then you can enjoy your sugared coffee.


    *puts rose colored glasses back in case*

    But, it was a good thing for Hubby to hide the bullets.

  • Stereotypes! I used to have loads of them. With age and experience I realize that they’re something I can do without. A tough exterior often hides a soft heart – and we have to look beyond the obvious.
    I like my coffee sweet – so I have it with what we call jaggery in India – cane sugar, is perhaps what you call it?

  • My hubby is very tough and takes his coffee double double as we say here in Canada. Also my favourite writer, other than you of course-Diana Gabaldon of Outlander fame-includes small thoughtful details that make the characters super-relatable. And makes us love them even more. And her for taking the trouble. Speaking of novels, I hope your book is moving along at a pace of some sorts that is somewhat satisfactory to you. Thanks for your post:)))

  • Thank you for giving me a new way of thinking about things this morning.
    And for reminding me how Winston Wolf liked his coffee because what I remember is how he reacted when he tried it. He gave a subtle “This is good!” motion, a call-back to Samuel L. Jackson’s reaction to how good Jimmie’s gourmet coffee is.
    And this was before, albeit not long before, the whole coffee phenomenon exploded, but that’s another story.
    And I think too about Robin Williams in “Good Will Hunting”, the scene where he and the MIT professor are having dinner and the MIT professor is trying to convince him to be Will’s therapist.
    The waiter offers him more coffee and he gives a subtle motion asking for just a little more.
    His character is from a deeply blue-collar background and is in a low-paying job at a community college but the dignity and courtesy of that one small gesture says so much about his character.
    And here’s what you’ve made me think: actors are also storytellers. They’re not just repeating someone else’s lines. Sometimes they can tell a story without even speaking, with just a small movement.
    Oh great, now I want some coffee. Thanks for that too.

  • In certain situations, I’ll stop and ask myself, “what would Buddha do?”, or “what would the Dalai Lama do?” Today, I’m going to mix it up and ask, “what would Winston Wolf do?” Classic. Love it!! I like the way your brain works! Happy birthday to your son!

  • People automatically assume I’m a “Hunnybunny” because of the way I look. I’m petite, slender—essentially, I look like the dancer I used to be. And I can be a Hunnybunny, when I’m in the mood. I take my coffee black, strong, no sugar. (I never smoked anything though. Haha!) The thought of milk, cream, especially those flavored creamers, or sugar, makes me gag. Well, I don’t literally gag, but I do scrunch my face up really tight. šŸ™‚

    OMG, right now, I’d love for Samuel L. Jackson to find out what’s in my wallet! Haha!

    *shaking head over the revelation that teenaged Michelle has a 29 year old son* How the hell does that shit work?

  • That is one of the major powers of fiction: the look at the world through someone else’s eyes. It, at its best, has the power to transform opinion, when almost nothing else does.
    I don’t drink coffee any more, as I’m a little allergic to it, and try to avoid stimulants, but when I did drink it, I mostly drank it black. Except for espresso-based drinks, of which I grew quite fond in my early 20’s.
    After my stroke, I was faced with the prospect of changing up my diet in order to not be killed by it, and one major item on the list they gave me was salt. I was making a plan to start reading labels and tallying up how much sodium I was eating to keep it below the threshold they gave me for a healthy diet, but a funny thing happened when I got home from the hospital: I don’t like salt any more. I don’t add it to my food (the people I cook for have learned to add it themselves if they want it) and three of four potato chips and I’m good. If I do overdo it a little, it makes me feel sort of weird. So there’s that. I also don’t have the same taste for sugar that I used to, but that may just be a byproduct of not burning so many calories as I used to.
    I hope Zach had a good birthday, and you all enjoyed celebrating it.

    • He did have a good birthday. I found a picture of him and Joey and his half brother from his dad’s side (we babysat him once) and I am reasonably sure it’s the only picture in existence of Zach with both of his brothers. I framed it and gave that to him and he LOVED it. It made me happy to see him happy.

  • I would so love it if I suddenly hated sugar and loved running. That would be really cool. I’m going to approach every moment as if it contains that possibility.
    You change lives! Or at least make them more fun…

  • I wish I could write like the dialogue in Pulp Fiction. A personal favourite is from Jules: “Yolanda, I thought you said you were gonna be cool. Now when you yell at me, it makes me nervous. And when I get nervous, I get scared. And when m**********rs get scared, that’s when m**********rs accidentally get shot.”

  • HOW MUCH DO I LOVE THIS!!! I am writing in all caps because I am so excited about this, my kids will love it. they are both writers and one is beyond infatuated with Quinton Tarantino…these are the observations that make life grand. this observation is the sugar in your coffee.

  • There are the moments when you prepare your coffee in the same way and it tastes so very different, so you think “I must have . . . ?” But nothing makes sense. The very next day, it’s wonderful again. Coffee – life metaphor! Writing metaphor, too. Glad I stopped by from Women of Midlife!

  • If sugar’s so bad for us, why is breast milk so sweet? We get hooked on that shit from BIRTH. Unless we are bottle fed, and in that case, we have much bigger issues….right??

    Happy Belated Birthday, Zach!

    “Without my morning coffee Iā€™m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.” – Johann Sebastian Bach

  • I wish I could wake up one day and hate sugar and love running. Unfortunately, for me, I love sugary things and I hyperventilate at the though of running. It’s a hard habit to kick!

  • You aren’t reading too much into it. I think about stuff like that all the time. I love Quinton Tarantino movies. There is plenty of action but interspaced between these scenes is really good dialogue.

  • I love Tarantino
    Ha, be careful what you wish for. As of Friday I am not allowed to eat candy or eat crisps, (potato chips), as I’m allergic to one of the ingredients, which is also in just about everything on the planet, including most types of sugar. On the up side I will probably lose a lot of weight as basically I can’t eat most things that I like any more. At least I get to keep bourbon and organic chocolate.

    Kill me now!

By Michelle


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