So - when you were a kid did you pretend you were a magician and stir up a magic potent. Did you wish you had a homework drink that would give you speedy homework finishing powers? How about one to make you smart enough to make straight As? Did you dream about the elixir that would make you beautiful? strong? rich? fast? Something that would turn you invisible or let you fly? That would bring your dolls to life or activate your G I Joe or Masters of the Universe action figures?
I was prompted to remember those days and those longings after reading today's dailySpark blog on energy drinks.
Those things really creep me out. Fear not - this won't turn into a rant, mostly because rants stem from a failure to control other people while I believe we all have free will and don't get much out of letting others tell us what to do. Nevertheless, energy drinks really make my flesh crawl.
Yes. I am a black pot commenting on a kettle's ebony hue. I do drink coffee. Cookies pass my lips at an alarming rate. I can quickly fall victim to the siren song of the Cheeto bag.
It's just that I don't expect coffee, cookies or Cheetos to make me feel stronger, healthier, more powerful - to give me 'quick' energy. I might foolishly want them to comfort me, to make me feel like the booboo is all fixed - even to indulge some urge to disobey, to break some constraining rule - to resist a truth that I don't like. But junk food and junk drinks are always going to be just that - junk - and to paraphrase the old computer data adage - junk in, junk out.
Fortunately, the packaging in those energy drinks also offends me, creeps me out, turns me off. The black and silver and red zig zags streaking across the back view of some model's biceps; the red and yellow star bursts - these colors and shapes have a hostile look (to me) that are enough to keep me from even walking down those display aisles, much less picking up the product. Even the energy bars and protein bars are packaged that way and if I decide to buy one I have to make myself pick it up and read its label. Usually I put it back, too and hunt around for a banana.
That packaging is supposed to make the consumer feel like she has aggressive power - that she can beat the other, win the contest and yes, resist constraints. Mostly, though, it makes me feel like it's encouraging a world of bullies and victims. It's the food equivalent of those old 90 pound weakling ads for weight lifting programs that used to be in the back of comic books.
I am SO grateful that I've come to the point in life where if I want energy I think Dark Leafy Greens and if I want stamina I think Protein.