whatever you do, don’t panic

i need to say something: all the energy drinks and “shots” on the market these days are scaring the hell outta me. i mean, how tired and strung-out and overworked are we as a society if you can’t even walk into bed, bath & beyond w/out running into some weirdo twisted energy concoction at the cash register? (true story; totally saw 5-Hour Energy “shots” there last week. they probably tasted like candles, i.e. the way my clothes, hair and skin smell after five minutes there)

i mean, i can’t imagine downing one of those things. not even a red bull. not a monster drink or whatever they’re called. nothing. i remember my freshman year of college (shoutout umcp! holla!), student housing or some such organization sent out these little packages full of samples to all the kids in the dorm. “helpful” things like, oh i don’t know, deodorant, painkillers and No-Doz. b/c college students don’t already have enough issues w/out free, scary pills that make your heart beat fast.

 anyone out there remember No-Doz?? No-Doz was the go-to college all-nighter stuff long before red bull and the 5-Hour shots. little white caffeine bombs. and to 17-year-old fresh-outta-jersey me–that hadn’t discovered the joys of coffee yet–full-on panic pills.

why i decided to take them, i have no idea. i took them in the morning (morning? on an empty stomach, probably) and before long, my heart started pounding out of my chest.

“jess!” i whisper-yelled to my sleeping roommate, yanking her covers. “i…i took No-Doz! i’m…i’m freaking out! i can’t, i can’t breathe! i think i’m having a heart attack!”

she, of course, mumbled something about calming down, patted my shoulder and went back to sleep, leaving me to fend for myself. who knows how the hell i talked myself out of that one, but i did. this was the first and last time i took “energy” pills.

why did i tell you that supremely dorky story? i told it…well i told it to make you laugh. also to prove a point. that sh*t is scary! and now sophisticated commercial chemists are mixing caffeine with, like, panic-inducing jungle roots. plus they make it taste like soda or candy or both.

i’ll tell you what tho: the marketing folks at 5-Hour Energy (or whomever they hire to do their advertising) are brilliant. you’ve probably seen the 5-Hour Energy commercial, right? that “2:30 feeling”? after working in quite a few boring offices, i am quite familiar with that 2:30 feeling. especially after a sizable lunch burrito when you’re sitting in a warm conference room w/annoying ppl discussing crap you don’t care about. (wow! i think i actually fell asleep for a nanosecond while writing that!)

have any of you drank this stuff? were you whirling like a tornado til 7:30pm or did you pull a jessica circa ’96, fall to your knees and weep to your cubicle mate that you were having a heart attack? i hope you whirled b/c, trust me, if you have a panic attack at 2:30 in the afternoon on the floor of your office you will never live it down.

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15 responses to “whatever you do, don’t panic

  1. Haven’t tried 5-Hour Energy. Or Red Bull. Or any other energy drinks. I do remember the No-Doz in the “Good Stuff” boxes at U of MD though…

    This, however, was an awesome read. Thank you for that. I needed it today. 🙂

  2. glad to help! (you have that 2:30 feeling right now, don’t you? it’s 2:43 is why i ask)

    (“good stuff” boxes!!! bingo! that’s what they were!)

  3. Kids in the High Schools are absolutely addicted to energy drinks – they drink several of them a day, along with a ton of soda and ice coffee. They stay up half the night then sleep in class because their bodies are freaking out.

    I remember no-doz – when I was in school kids used to put them in Jolt Cola (do you remember Jolt? – like double caffeine and sugar.) Some kids took them with speed or acid…very dangerous…and kids today are still finding ways to use this kind of stuff to get high.

    It says a lot about our society and our work ethic when it is taken for granted that we need to stay hyped up on what are essentially – uppers – in order to make it through the day. It will be interesting to see what long term effect this stuff is going to have on our bodies and brains and how long it will take before they start banning it’s use. I mean – we can’t smoke in public or eat transfats in restaurants but we can ingest speed in a bottle – no problem. I agree – it is very scary.

  4. wow–that is really scary about the high school kids. i was such a scaredy cat in high school it wasn’t even funny. maybe it’s better that way.

  5. What truly kills me about all these drinks is how unbelievably expensive they are?

  6. are they expensive?? you know, i’ve never even checked!

  7. my husband is into sugar free red bull. he buys them in jumbo size – i think that costs *at least* $4 a can. i don’t know what’s worse, the sugar free, the red bull, the jumbo size, or the price!

    as a side note, i was at the gym yesterday and saw a huge (as in muscles) guy toting around a cell phone, a pack of cigarettes, and a red bull. Quite the healthy combo!

  8. aw *nate*. why do you do that?! ($4 a can?! woah.)

    wow! that guy should move to baltimore. he’d fit right in.

  9. i of course remember the “good stuff” boxes, & i of course also took the no-doz, trying to pull and all-nighter & of course my heart raced scarily & i tweaked out a bit. what an awful terrible thing to give freshman for free. holy crap!

  10. I only took “No-Doze” once on a very short trip to Israel (5 days) where I wanted to go out dancing every night (with Harris…remember him:)) I don’t remember anything crazy happening, but I have taken some of those drug store diet pills (this was easily 10 years ago and so whatever the “active” ingredient was, it’s probably now illegal) that my heart beat REALLY FAST. Thankfully I had the mind to stop taking it!

  11. I tried No-Doz once. Vowed to never do it again, because I felt like crap when I came down from it. BUT, I did ace my philosophy final on it!

    I haven’t tried the 5-hour enegry, but am a big fan of Red Bull. Though, if I drink it after 5 p.m., I may be wide awake until 1 a.m. Though, not always a bad thing as I find productive things to do. Oh, and whenever I drink Red Bull, I lose weight!

  12. wow! a lot of you guys have tried no-doz! and it doesn’t even sound like you had a full-on, drop-to-your-knees panic attack like i did!

  13. I once briefly dated a girl who was addicted to both Ambien and 5-hour Energy. Oh, red flags.

  14. uppers *and* downers! impressive!!

  15. I noticed in the United States they advertise those an awful lot with all this scientific jargon to back it up. We have those things in the UK too in all the shops but we don’t seem to be half as interested in them as the American market. Saying that ,y grandmother totally bought into the whole idea, she always has them in her fridge and takes them before every flight shes goes on!

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