by Matt Benoit
As a professional community college newspaper columnist, a lot of people often ask me: Who are you, again?
Ha! I’m just kidding. Sort of.
Anyway, that’s not really what I wanted to discuss here. Today, I want to talk to you about a menace in our modern society that is so foul—so caustic—that even Osama Bin Laden had to tip his turban in awe at its immensely destructive abilities.
I’m talking, of course, about energy drinks. These potent beverages are as prevalent among today’s youth as joints were at Woodstock, and many of them (the energy drinks, not the youth) have enough sugar and caffeine to get you moving faster than a Toyota Prius driver on the way to a speed-dating event.
Today, there is an entire industry of caffeinated “energy” products—not just drinks, but gum and various supplements. It probably won’t be long before energy suppositories and enemas flood the market and, perhaps, that was not the best way to phrase that.
Now, you may be asking yourself: What makes an energy drink an energy drink, and, also, what will happen if I still haven’t returned my census form?
Well, to answer your first question, we consulted Merriam Webster’s big book of words, because not only do we find it really helpful to begin the discussion of any topic with a definition, we also think it makes us sound more academic. An “energy drink,” it seems, is defined as “a drink, containing energy, that is derived from a crapload of sugar, caffeine, and God knows what else.”
As for not returning the census, according to the official Census Bureau Web site, you’ll “probably be drugged, knocked out, and shipped to the Australian Outback, where you’ll be attacked and eaten by rabid, fire-breathing wombats.”
Anyway, back to energy drinks. One of the most popular is 5-Hour Energy, an energy shot that has spawned a variety of imitators, including 3-Hour Nap, 10-Minute Break, 30-Minute Wait, 5-Hour Flight Delay, and Tiger Woods’ personal favorite, 17-Hour Orgy.
Many of these drinks also have excellent slogans. Rockstar invites you to “Party like a Rockstar,” except without the groupies and cocaine. Red Bull “Gives You Wings,” kind of like the gigantic ones John Travolta has in that one movie where he somehow disguises them under his overcoat and nobody notices.
However, Amp Energy’s “Amp Yourself” is my favorite. I kind of figure it won’t be long before some idiot takes it literally and completes a circuit by hooking charging cables to his nipples and a car battery:
GUY #1: Yessir, I’m ready, Bob! Start ‘er up!
GUY #2: All right, Ned! You sure you’re hooked up proper? Left nipple is negative!
Anyway, being a journalist and wanting more information, I did what all good investigative journalists do, namely: I googled.
My research led me to energyfiend.com, which will tell you unbelievably important and relevant facts, such as how many Kit Kat bars you’d have to consume to give your body lethal levels of caffeine. Apparently, I’d need to eat 1,535.62 of them. However, I would only need 46 maximum strength No-Doz tablets to kick the caffeine bucket.
It’s not all negative, though. I’ve noticed that one advantage of drinking waaaay too many of these things is that—when you have ingested enough of them to start shaking uncontrollably—people will hold doors open for you, out of pity, because they think you have Parkinson’s disease.
But overall, I’m concerned because—at the rate our society has become addicted to these sugar and caffeine-filled cans of liquid crack—it would not surprise me to soon see a commercial much like the following:
SALESMAN WHO’S WAY TOO ALERT AND RANDOMLY TWITCHING AT ROUGHLY FIVE-SECOND INTERVALS: Hey, everybody! Wahhhhhhhwhooo!
Even by drinking several dozen cans a day of any of the immense number of energy drinks available on the market, do you still find yourself lacking the energy to get everything in your increasingly-busy life done?
That’s why we’re here to introduce AMP ENERGY—now with crystal meth! That’s right, we’ve added everyone’s favorite street drug to America’s favorite energy drink! You’ll never have anything left on your to-do list ever again! Here’s an exciting testimonial:
WOMAN: Hi, there! I’m a stay-at-home firefighter and mom, and after drinking just one can of AMP ENERGY CYRSTAL, I was able to jog 23 miles, cook a five-course meal for dinner, and clean my house three times, all in one day! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Thanks, Amp Energy Crystal!
SALESMAN (still twitching): Are the kids happy now that mom’s got more energy?
WOMAN: Kids!? I have kids?
Okay, so maybe not.
But if they did market that product, at least they would include a warning label. Because most of these drinks do have a cautionary warning somewhere on the can which says something like: “Do not consume more than 45 cans per day or your eyeballs will explode. Not intended for children, pregnant women (as opposed to pregnant men), people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant children, those sensitive to pregnancy, women, or children, or pregnant heavy machinery sensitive to caffeine.”
Of course, for some people, cautionary labels make them more likely to use the product because it makes them feel as if they’re somehow living dangerously.
For instance, when I’m sick and need cough medicine, I’ll only buy the strongest, most Acetaminophen-laden stuff I can find. If it doesn’t say “may cause liver damage” in big letters on the side of the box, I’m not taking it.
So, in conclusion, today we’ve learned that: 1) energy drinks are not very good for you, and 2) You should definitely return your census form.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go amp myself.