1. Watch episodes of Horizon
Watching Horizon without drinking an energy drink beforehand is a tedious albeit thoroughly educational experience. Although it’s a program bursting at the seams with creativity—metaphorical illustrations to explain complicated scientific theories, computer generated models, and mind boggling descriptions of infinity—sometimes it’s hard to make science enthralling. Watching a scientist explain how they decide what constitutes one degree Fahrenheit or a psychologist describe a man who couldn’t form memories causes the mind to drift away like a helium balloon with nothing to anchor it: what would a dinosaur wearing a tuxedo look like?
After an energy drink though, I’m on the edge of my seat. They reintroduced the Florida panther, the region’s top predator, in an attempt to manage the invasive wild boar population? OH MY FUCKING GOD WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN? One panther climbed over a rancher’s fence and dragged a goat out by its throat. HOLY SHIT THAT’S BADASS! In Yellowstone Park, they reintroduced wolves to manage the elk population. FUCKING WOLVES AND SHIT MY CHEST IS ON FIRE! Dr. Ann Manning has been studying how the wolves fit into this new ecosystem for the past ten years. GODDAMN SHE’S HOT I NEED A BREAK TO GO PARKOUR FOR TEN MINUTES!
2. Go to class
I usually drank a couple energy drinks before any class that failed to capture my interest: environmental science, fundamentals of algebra, plant biology, etc. In high school, this—and a predisposition toward being an asshole—resulted in condescending questions in response to anything the teacher said, “hilarious jokes,” stealthily calling the classroom phone so it rang constantly during the lecture, and casually threatening both students and faculty alike.
One time in statistics, I was the last person to finish a test, one I strongly suspected I was going to fail. Heavy caffeine intake exacerbated the release of stress hormones flooding my body; I vibrated in my seat. Finally, the teacher approached to collect the test, saying, “Sorry, we’ve run out of time, and I have another class coming in.” I threw the test at her and said, eyes blazing furiously, “If I fail this test, I’m coming after you.” Then I left, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated as if I’d performed a verbal colonic. Of course, later, you know, blah blah blah, suspended for a week, blah blah blah, almost expelled, blah blah blah—and then everything was fine, wrapped up with a bow. Yay. (Except for the ocean of secret malice that continued to bubble in a dark corner of my brain.)
3. Instigate on Facebook
After two energy drinks, any trite innocuous status update will receive a shockingly aggressive response from me. I frantically scroll through my news feed, sewing seeds of discord, alienating friends and family, and generally trolling the shit out of everything. In the way a meth crazed junkie will smash through his friend’s car window to steal a stereo system, I will spring onto Facebook conversations that have nothing to do with me and spew poison.
A status update like, “Having an awful day today,” will receive, “I’ll bring over the razor blades.” A status update like, “Posted more photos of the baby!” will receive, “I hope they’re nudes.” A status update like, “I have the best boyfriend in the world!” will receive, “HE WILL NEVER LOVE YOU AND YOU WILL DIE ALONE AAAAAAHHHHHH!” To my sugar/ caffeine sodden brain, this is all “hilarious.” Only later, when the lights go out and I lay huddled in the fetal position, do I comprehend the havoc I’ve wreaked so thoughtlessly.
4. Visit an art museum
After an energy drink, the paintings take on a greater urgency, a sense of emotional pandemonium, as if the images are licking my eyeballs. Later, they seem to invoke feelings of “headache” and “rotten death corpse”. That’s when I need to pull the other energy drink out of my satchel. No reading of the explanatory text adjacent each painting. I will decide what this painting’s about! And I shall do so in a matter of seconds because I’m in the fucking zone right now!
One time I visited the LACMA after guzzling two Full Throttles, and two security guards in a row asked me why I was alone at the museum. “Next time you should bring a girlfriend,” said the first one. Then ten minutes later: “Next time you should bring a girlfriend.” This incited paroxysms of rage because a) it was my birthday, b) Don’t you tell me—I’ll tell you—I mean, I don’t need—fuck, and c) caffeine crash.
5. Take a nap
Years and years of consuming an unreasonably titanic volume of caffeinated fluid have taken a steady toll on my physiology. I’m at the point now where I can guzzle two cans of Rockstar Punched (Rockstar’s fruit punch flavored beverage), and then promptly head off to bed. Of course, the sleep I experience is a fitful experience punctuated by episodes of coming awake, violent death dreams, and confusing dreams with reality. Often, I find myself walking around my neighborhood at 4 AM in a mental fog.
But lately, I’ve taken a sabbatical from energy drinks in favor of vast quantities of green tea. Gallon after gallon down my gullet like I’m participating in some sort of challenge. I think it’s probably healthier than energy drinks if only marginally. Baby steps, you know.