Island Packet – In my spare time, I do a fair amount of running, mostly because it is the only athletic endeavor at which I have ever exhibited the remotest bit of skill, because — and novices may or may not know this — the sport of running involves putting one foot in front of the other, which is not technically a “skill” so much as it is “something most people are required to do every day anyway, unless they are a salmon, or Rush Limbaugh.”
Athletically speaking, running has a pleasingly low risk factor: There’s no chance you can dribble a basketball wackily off your ankle into resting cheerleaders, no chance for you to swing pathetically at a pitch that already has spent considerable time in the catcher’s mitt, no chance you can illustrate the innovative and surprisingly multi-faceted ways it’s possible to butterfinger a well-thrown football.
And it is for this reason that I am deeply familiar with a bizarre food-related item entitled Jelly Belly Extreme Sports Beans, which are like regular Jelly Beans, except they have the side effect of making you feel very briefly like you could throw a Volkswagen bus across a state park.
Jelly Belly Extreme Sports Beans are sort of like drugs, except much fruitier-flavored, and are designed to give you a short but highly concentrated burst of energy, the kind that will have you writing out volumes A-M of the encyclopedia on Post-It notes before succumbing to a monster crash and sleeping for about four straight days, or, as we call it around the office here, “The Amy Winehouse.”
I act like these are new developments in the world of synthetic awakenifying, but of course they’re not. My brother and I were once regular consumers of a mysterious potion called Water Joe, which was like regular water, except it contained the recommended daily allowance of caffeine needed by a full herd of extremely spiteful water buffalo, and made it so, hypothetically, you drove to your water-plant job at 160 mph and spent the first few hours of it screaming at the sky and trying to tear off chunks of siding with your mouth (I also found myself regularly picking fights with the lawn mowers: “YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS? I’M NOT SCARED OF YOUR TRI-ROTOR AUTO-MULCHING ACTION, YOU COWARD!”)
Extreme Sports Beans, which was my first choice for my son’s name, are just a small, pleasingly insane part of a recent rush of “energy foods” designed to lend people short bursts of energy in the quickest and chocolatiest ways possible; you generally find these items adorned with decorative cartoon lightning bolts and employing words like “flurry,” “kick,” “velociraptor” and “incredibly addictive,” which brings me to Snickers Charged energy bars (it brings me there, I should note, in an EXTREMELY EXTREME MANNER). These are like regular Snickers bars, except they come in a wrapper that appears to be from space and is adorned with either an abstract image of a rhinoceros bursting forth, or the militaristic insignia of a tyrannical government from the year 2156. Or both.
In addition to Snickers’ usual seductive qualities, particularly nougat, Snickers Charged contains about 60 milligrams of caffeine — or about the amount in an 8-oz. cup of coffee — which is good news for me, as it saves me from having wash down my Snickers with my traditional Coke, which is a tremendous and economic snack, though it tends to make your stomach feel like it’s working on processing a bowling pin. So, win-win.
I kid about these products, but I do enjoy them occasionally and only once have found myself wandering in the desert as a result, but if you find yourself in need of a quick pick-me-up in this fashion, a few humble pieces of advice: 1. No, these are not regular jelly beans, and you should not give them to children, unless you can fly; 2. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that you can’t have a beer if you’re 20, but you can shotgun crazy-eyed energy-goo chunks if you’re 8, and 3. Lawn mowers aren’t as tough as they look; just down three Water Joes and aim for the one in the middle.