Thanks For the Tea, Sort Of.

You never expect it’s going to happen to you, but it does happen eventually. It’s inevitable. Life changes quickly.

One minute you’re a normal guy. You’re doing normal things. You have normal friends. The next minute, you’re in your kitchen, drinking “panda dung” tea.

At least that’s what I’m doing right now. My wife and I are staring at a cup of brown, hot water.

“You go first,” my wife says.

“No, you.”

“I’m not drinking that stuff.”

“Is it really made out of panda…?”


“I’m not drinking it.”

“You have to drink it,” she said, “it’s good for you.”

“I don’t care if it’s 40-mule-team Borax, I’m not drinking it.”

This rare and expensive herbal tea was sent to me by a reader named Arlene, from Winchester, Virginia. The unique tea contains innumerable health benefits and costs approximately $300 per cup.

Arlene sent it because my wife is still recovering from cataract surgery, wherein doctors used tiny, microscopic knives on her eyeball to help her see more clearly. The operation worked. The moment my wife got out of surgery she stared at me as if seeing me for the first time.

“How are you feeling?” I asked.

“Fine,” she said.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I thought you’d be nicer-looking.”

So Arlene firmly believes this expensive tea helped her recover after retinal surgery.

“The reason panda dung tea is so good for you,” Arlene writes, “is because pandas only absorb 30 percent of the nutrients they eat, which means the remaining 70 percent of their dietary nutrients are passed through their excrement!!!”

Arelene used three exclamation points as though she were announcing, say, an upcoming wedding.

Then she added, “Your friends have your back, Sean!!!”

Well, call me old-fashioned, but I was resistant to trying this tea. Namely, because I come from the school of thinking that states: “I don’t care if Chinese pandas are passing gold bricks in their stool samples, I’m still not going to eat panda poop.”

But here I am, drinking panda dung tea because, frankly, my wife called me a “chicken.” And I don’t like to be called “chicken.” A “consummate ass,” okay. But “chicken,” no.

Moreover, I would feel pretty badly throwing away Arelene’s $300 gift as though it were made of excrement. Which it is. But that’s not the point.

So I boiled some water, then I steeped the dark brownish-black tea into the water. I let it sit for three minutes, per the instructions which said:


Which is translated, literally, as: “Ha ha! You big stupid American consumer!”

And now I am taking the first sip as my wife films me with her phone, even though—technically—this is her tea. Not mine.

“And now Sean is bringing the dung tea to his lips,” my wife narrates while shooting the video.

Do you remember those old National Geographic PBS documentaries where the narrator calmly describes the way a cheetah is eating a springbuck in an African meadow? That’s the kind of voice my wife is using.

“Sean sips the tea…”

The instructions said to sip the tea slowly while aerating each sip by inhaling small amounts of air along with the tea. Sort of like sipping a fine wine. Only, imagine this wine was made entirely of fecal matter.

Next my wife’s turn to taste the $300-buck tea.

She brought the cup to her lips cautiously. She closed her eyes. She took a sip.

And here was her verbatim reaction:

ME: What do you think?

HER: It tastes like [expletive].

So we have learned a few very valuable lessons today. You cannot, no matter what you do, make manure taste better.

But I have also leaned that your friends do indeed have your back. And for that I thank you, Arlene.


  1. Diana - June 10, 2023 10:51 am

    Pandas only eat bamboo. How much nutrients can it have? You both are brave sports.

  2. stephen e acree - June 10, 2023 11:03 am

    When you finish the tea they also have this special coffee. …..Kopi luwak, also known as civet coffee, is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected.[1] Asian palm civets are increasingly caught in the wild and traded for this purpose.[2]
    most expensive coffee in the world.

  3. Gaylon - June 10, 2023 4:21 pm

    It sounds like it makes you smarter Sean. in fact, both of you sound smarter after only one sip. 😃

  4. http://www.throughmyeyesusa.wordpress - June 10, 2023 10:29 pm

    @Gaylon They need to get smarter! They let a perfect stranger talk them into drinking poop juice!

  5. Slimpicker - June 11, 2023 2:48 am

    I heard that stuff was great for colon cleansing.

  6. Earby Markham - June 11, 2023 3:15 pm

    Does this in some way have something to do with the age-old riddle about what bears and Popes do in the woods?

  7. Sean of the South – Ed Caldwell - June 26, 2023 10:07 am

    […] Sean’s as funny and entertaining on stage as he is in his writings!!!! My current favorite is “Thanks for the Tea, Sort Of”. It’s about what it takes to be a man in front of your […]


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