Me, Obama, and the Seven Magic Espresso Beans

Each day since Christmas, I’ve included seven chocolate covered espresso beans in my morning routine. This is because, as she does most years, Lisa gave me a bag for the holidays and when I have them … well … they’re yummy, you know?

Like most people’s brains, mine sometimes does loops around and asks weird questions. As I shook out the seven into my palm a couple days ago I asked myself:

Why seven?

Yeah, I know it’s a good number for some folks, a lucky number for them—but it’s not really my number. I use six a lot (it’s the position identifier for a shortstop, which I played a lot as a kid). And I use 13 sometimes because, duh, it’s the best number of all. Occasionally I’ll use eleven because it reminds me of Lisa. If I need a bigger number, I’ll choose 31 because it reminds me of my no longer so little girl. So, why seven?

I didn’t have an answer, so I let it go.

Then yesterday I ran across an article that reminded me of a factoid about President Obama having seven almonds each evening before bedtime. I smirked then. Yes. It was kind of a joke, as I remember, a moment where his wife was giving him a soft elbow and saying “Lighten Up Francis,” poking fun at him for being OCD about seven rather than six or eight.

Yes, I recalled that.

Now, I’m not saying that I ever sat down and chose to have seven morning espresso beans in some kind of solidarity with our previous president. That was not on my mind at all when I started this. I mean, it’s not like I’m some kind of coffee activist, you know? I don’t craft my morning routine with politics in the forefront. But, sure, I’ll take it. This morning when I shook my seven espresso beans out into my palm I fully admit I thought about the Obamas in the White House, and that this brought a particularly light moment to the start of the day. It was helpful. A reminder. In that way, my espresso beans became a little bit like magic. Of course they don’t solve the problem. They don’t make any real difference at all. Except that maybe in some ways they do. I mean, there are worse ways to start your day than to think about this kind of thing.

Obama wasn’t exactly perfect, of course—no one is. But he was humane and intelligent, and he was a true leader in all the ways that matter. For a moment this morning these seven beans made me think that if the world can survive this next few years, there is still hope. That people exist out there who can make a difference.

Yeah, I know. Heavy weight.

That’s how it is for me and my mornings, though. Sometimes they’re full of Captain Phasma, sometimes World Peace. But the next steps are always the same—a stride into my office so I can get to work.

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