How safe is that drink? Lift-off drinks…and their scary side

My Fellow Inebriates,

My dad drinks rocket-fuel coffee for breakfast. I’m talking five espresso shots in a mug with honey every morning, after which he asks himself if he should switch to decaf.

I usually miss this ritual because I don’t get up until later, but last night I didn’t manage to drag myself to bed and instead passed out on the couch, which made me easy prey for the kids, who pounced on me in the morning.

After an hour of their abuse I realized how exhausted I was—how mangy and straggly, how lacking in energy. My dad’s nuclear-strength coffee suddenly looked good, and what bear can resist honey?

Holy f&*#^*# crap, people!! What kind of voltage is my dad administering to himself? I needed a freaking defibrillator after drinking his coffee, and now I’m wondering if my dad isn’t secretly super-human.

Among all the mental fireworks, a lightbulb went off in my head—I could drink a lot more alcohol if I ingested caffeine along with it. With a caffeine boost I wouldn’t pass out so easily and I could take my alcoholism to a whole new level.

It’s not a new idea, of course. Combining uppers and downers is a way of life for many people, some of them deeply psychotic. A range of alcoholic products appeal to this niche market (as well as teenagers) by combining booze with ingredients such as caffeine, taurine, and guarana. Phusion Projects served up this magical combo for several years in its Four Loko product until it was banned in several states, prompting the company to rejig the recipe and ditch the stimulants. The FDA sent a warning letter to three other companies adding caffeine to booze, citing the beverages as a “public health concern.” Health Canada is even more emphatic about the dangers of combining alcohol and caffeine.

I feel deeply psychotic myself after sampling my dad’s coffee, and drinking alcohol strikes me as a natural curative. What’s the problem?

  • According to the FDA, “caffeine can mask some of the sensory cues individuals might normally rely on to determine their level of intoxication.” Cues such as passing out.
  • Teenagers comprise a huge market for energy drinks and gravitate naturally to the alcoholic variety when they’re loitering in the liquor store parking lot looking for someone to boot for them.
  • Last year 16 Canadians were hospitalized due to heart palpitations, seizures, and strokes brought on by energy drinks. Of the 79 adverse reaction reports filed, half were deemed serious and four life-threatening, plus there were two deaths. Nine cases involved alcohol, but which cases and what the impact of the combination was hasn’t been reported.
  • A Dalhousie University study shows that when students combine energy drinks and alcohol, they double their alcohol intake. Wow! That’s exactly the effect I was looking for when the lightbulb flashed this morning and my one or two neurons decided booze and stimulants were better than Fred and Ginger. Health Canada says no, LB, no!

It’s probably a good thing these combo drinks are off the market, because I would go ahead and drink them in massive quantities, and my little furry body would probably disintegrate.

Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press

But in the certifiable absence of common sense, what’s to prevent me from buying some Red Bull and mixing it with alcohol? “Good taste,” says my mum, whose car window was once smashed by a hooligan who pitched a Red Bull at it from a moving vehicle. Pregnant and emotional, she stood wailing on the sidewalk beside the shattered glass, vowing hatred against Red Bull simply because the perp was long gone and she had no other target for her outrage.

Could I order the recipe at a bar?

It depends where you live. Some states have banned drinks like the Jägerbomb (Jägermeister and Red Bull), as have some areas of Australia. Canada classifies Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar as foods and Jägermeister as alcohol, warning against the upper/downer mixture, but ultimately it’s up to the consumer—who usually turns out to be a young party animal whose cerebral cortex hasn’t developed the capacity for sober second thought. These are totally my people! But I don’t want to steer anybody toward bad choices. Personally, I don’t enjoy impulse control at all, so don’t heed my ideas. Here I defer to the government and advise picking either the energy drink or the booze.

You know which one I’ll pick.

Afternoon Comfort

My Fellow Inebriates,

It’s pouring rain outside, making the outdoors no place for furry bear with a beanbag ass. I fear water like nothing else. Weighing less than a pound under dry conditions, I manage to shuffle around through willpower and/or my parents’ deranged imaginations. But I manage. Add water and it’s all over.

With some liquid courage in me (an Island Punch actually: rum/orange and pineapple juices/grenadine in a collins glass), I decided to research the washing of “stuffies,” the somewhat pejorative term for me and my cohorts. You see, my friend Violet Purplebunny recently had a washing-machine experience that changed her personality permanently, robbing her of all empathy and converting her from a partial to a complete sociopath. Ever since then I’ve been haunted by questions about the pair of LG machines that lurk in our upstairs closet, and what really goes on in them.

Violet’s people put her in the Maytag because—picture my relief, humans—she does not possess a beanbag ass. Unlike me and lots of my friends, her bum doesn’t crunch when she sits; it’s what we call a foam ass and will dry as fast as your underwear will. Shudder…

My friend Scarybear has the biggest beanbag ass I’ve ever seen. Because of this he will never go in any washing machine, unless he is completely saturated with vomit or feces, and then perhaps his people would opt to dry-clean him. Of course that would add to the brain damage he’s already developed over the years through his violent lifestyle. Just as he lives with that dread, so do I fear the dry-cleaner, although I could probably trust my parents to be too cheap to cough up for it.

Where was I? Let me sharpen up my Island Punch with some green-apple Bacardi. Oh yeah, the machine…

For animals such as myself, the washing machine is our Room 101. I cannot bring myself to fully imagine the agitation, the cold, the hot, the wet, the poisons, the scents. So I did an innocent search for washing info, hoping to find some kind soul with a solution for dirty animals that would not be quite so…final. Instead my horror was reinforced by

And this seemed gentle compared to the following psychotic advice (

“You can wash them in the washer. If they have any stains on them, spray with whatever stain remover you use and then put the stuffed animals in a pillow case and tie a knot in the pillow case and wash on gentle cycle and then throw in the dryer while still in the pillow case and they will come out very clean and fluffy…used this method for years and they come out great….”

Holy shit, people!

Whatever sobriety I entertained a notion of is out the window as I medicate myself back into a calm state with the following:

  • 2 oz amaretto
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort peach
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 3 oz sweet-and-sour
  • Red Bull

Ahhhh, I feel safer now. But I’d better not spill any on me.