Friday, 12 February 2021 12:18

COLUMN: Wondering about the World's Best

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A month or so ago, I was in New York City — Queens, to be exact — and I found myself under-caffeinated. I had just driven for hours, and those of us of a certain age group know it is not a particularly good idea to fill yourself full of coffee before a long road trip. 

I will say, without elaborating further, I know the disposition of every rest and service area from Birmingham, Alabama, to New York City and everywhere in between. I am the leading authority on clean restrooms in the eastern United States. 

This week's column, folks, is not about my ability to hold water while traveling. I have written about coffee before, you may remember, but this time my lethargic self found the Holy Grail. I had found the World's Best Coffee. 

Well, that's what the neon sign said. The sign was a big red and blue affair shaped like a big cup and saucer with those little lines that are supposed to be steam coming from the top. The lines that were supposed to be steam would sequentially flash, giving the impression that it was supposed to be steam or the coffee was radioactive. I'm not sure which. It did tell me I was going to have the World's Best Coffee and I should be prepared. 

I went inside and asked for the World's Best Coffee and a woman who looked like every Greek grandmother should look gave me a mug that said “World's Best Coffee” on it and filled it to the top with the World's Best Coffee. 

There was actual steam and no radioactive lines and there wasn't a saucer, either. I was beginning to think the whole World's Best Coffee was just a gimmick. I wasn't sure if the cream and sugar were also the World's Best, so I settled for some cream from a little metal pitcher and a couple of packets of Domino sugar. I used what I assumed was the World's Best Spoon and stirred the coffee. 

I'm pretty sure the coffee might have been the Block's Best Coffee, or maybe the Best Coffee On This Side Of Queens Boulevard If You Are Not Terribly Picky, but it was far from the World's Best. 

I have not been around the world, but I have been to a couple of places and had coffee in those places and they were much better, and even they were not the World's Best. 

It got me to thinking: What entitles something to be the world's best?

 I'm not sure if there was an actual judging body or the phrase was just used by anyone who wanted to use it. 

I have never seen the World's Best anything that has truly been the world's best. My wife makes pretty good Christmas cookies. Are they the world's best? I dunno. I like them, and that's pretty much it. I don't care whether the rest of the world likes them. She's the only wife I have had, so I guess in a roundabout way, I could say she's the World's Best Wife. She might not be, but I don't know what the judging scale for wives is so I really cannot ascertain whether she is better than any of the other wives in the world. She's pretty neat, and I like her, but who's to say she's better than any of the others. 

You see where this is going? This is the rabbit hole to end all rabbit holes. You know, the World's Best Rabbit Hole, if you will. 

One Father's Day, I got one of those mugs that reads “#1 Dad.” How did this come about? There are a lot of dads out there and I am a better dad than some, but a worse dad than others. Giving me the title of No. 1 added a lot of pressure I really didn't need. Sure, I might have been in the top 100, but I didn't think I was ready for the top slot. Then again, Milli Vanilli went to No. 1 without doing much of anything at all, so maybe I did qualify for No. 1. 

There is one guy out there who thinks I am the World's Worst Columnist. He reads the column every week and comments negatively about it every week. It's gotten to be a ritual for me to read his comments and see how much he dislikes the column. I haven't heard from him in a while. It's been a few weeks since he has had something to say. I'm starting to miss the guy. He was the World's Best Blowhard. 

(Columnist’s Note: I have decided to scale back and write a column every other week instead of every week. I am not going anywhere, just scaling back to take some family time. As always, thanks again for reading. I appreciate each and every one of you more than you know. As long as there is a single reader, I will write the column for you.)

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.