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14 Cans of Coke

June 4, 2012

I called Laura on my way home from work.  “I’m going to do coke all day tomorrow.”

Suddenly a weird robotic sound beeped in the background of our phone conversation.

“If this is the federal government listening in, let me just clarify:  I am going to drink coca cola all day tomorrow.”

You know, this stuff:

What you’re looking at right there is the world’s most recognized logo.  Apparently about 94% of people in the world know would recognize it.  I know I would… and tremble.

fourteen cans of coke.

I drank two cans in the car while driving to work.  I arrived feeling slightly flustered and a little too energetic.  I popped a third can, drank it and started feeling like $100.  Seriously, euphoric.  Jokes seemed hilarious.  Even though it was cloudy I just knew the sun was shining down somewhere.  Somebody was playing dance music and it was all I could do to not just bust out a few embarrassing moves.

It was a busy day.  I had 5 kayak trips to lead, and I fueled them each with a can of coke.  I was hungry, but energetic.  The sun came out, and it started getting hot.  No worries, I broke out a giant bottle of ice and poured my cans of coke right in there.  Refreshing?  You bet.

According to one study that I didn’t read, the half life of caffeine in an average healthy adult is just under 6 hours.  (Source)  According to several websites of somewhat questionable reliability there is a condition called “caffeine intoxication” and it sets in at around 250 mg of caffeine.

Well, I passed that threshold pretty quickly, and kept  building my levels all day long.  My sense of euphoria kept building too.   So did my need to pee.  Holy smokes, I was peeing all day long.

After clocking out at work I stopped off to empty my bladder before getting in my car.  I drove to a park about 30 minutes away where I was going to test the performance.  The discomfort started about 15 minuets into the ride and built in a serious hurry.  This is how I was feeling:

I started speeding just to be safe.  It was getting critical.  By the time I got where I was going I just dived out the door of my car and ran full tilt into the woods, keys still in the ignition, car door wide open.  I made it, but barely.

Once I started jogging rather than dashing for cover I felt pretty good… mentally.  I had a can of coke on ice, and I thought I could take on anything.  I started planning ultra marathons and iron man triathlons for the end of summer.  I stopped after a quarter mile to water another tree.  At about one mile I was still feeling awesome in my mind, but I got a nasty side ache.  I wondered vaguely if that was why people tend to drink things like gatorade or water as opposed to soda while jogging.  No worries, I was on top of the world.  A side ache never stopped a real athlete.

I powered on through the pain and started noticing something strange.  The ache in my side was intense, but somehow also felt far away, like it was happening to somebody else.  My sense of reality was slipping, just a little bit at a time.  Within a few minutes it was like I was playing a video game, or maybe watching through someone else’s eyes as the trail meandered under a pair of feet with pounded away, distantly and automatically.

My altered reality trail run.

At this point I decided it would be a great idea to go exploring, so I turned off the marked trail up a path with horse foot prints.  The trail divided, and divided again.  Soon I was just running through the woods thinking “Well, if I were going to build a trail, this is where I would put it.”

I crested a giant hill broke out of the woods and found myself in a corn field.  The corn is still about a foot tall, so I picked a row, pointed towards where I thought my car might be parked about two miles distant, and started running.  Whoever planted that field, however, didn’t have direct travel in mind.  I ran a couple hundred yards and found myself headed in a completely different direction.

Like my tie?

The corn field ran out and I was in a patch of poison ivy.  I powered through that, through a ravine and into another field.  This one had grass growing up to my shoulders, but I could see more corn ahead.  I headed for it, but something weird was happening with my body.  Any time I tried to lift my legs up high I was getting a nasty cramp in my upper rear thigh.  It was like, as some runners say, my mind was writing checks that my body couldn’t cash.

Also, I thought that the term “diuretic” didn’t have anything to do with actual diarrhea.  The run proved otherwise.

At this point I was walking a fine line between euphoria and worry.  I was cramping up, out of coke, semi-lost, and trying not to poop myself in a sea of shoulder high grass and poison ivy, in a place that if anything were to happen nobody would find me until a cow wondered what that gross thing was in his hay bale.  On the other hand the sky was amazing, there was an indigo bunting flying around, and I was really happy to see that whoever owned or leased the land I was on was sticking to some pretty respectable agricultural practices.

My potential search party

Side Note: If you ever get lost anywhere on the east coast, here is a surefire way out:  Go downhill until you find a stream (trust me, you’ll find it) Go downstream until you find a road (It’ll be closer than you think).  Walk down the road till you come to Walmart.  Buy a Rand McNally Atlas for $4.88 and Bingo!

I took a while to study the shape of the hills, and put my plan into action.  By the time I made it back my legs were torn up and I was seriously thirsty, but I had the perfect cure for that!  Three cokes to go.

My plan was to finish drinking by six so that I had a shot at getting some sleep eventually.  I had those last three cokes back to back and it pushed me over the edge.  Dysphoria set in.  I was fidgety.  Nervous.  I hung out with friends but was miserable.  My hands wouldn’t stop moving.  My feet wouldn’t stop tapping.  I picked up a ukelele and played the bass lines to hip hop songs on the stereo to try to keep myself occupied (obviously, I am very cool).  I was nauseous, tired, wired, slightly sweaty.

On the drive home it was raining, and I was terrified.  What if a tree fell on me?  I called my friend Bryan at 1 A.M. and canceled a whitewater trip we had planned for the next day.  It just seemed too dangerous.  What if my young beautiful wife drowned?  I instantly regretted my decision.  What if I had just ruined what would have been an awesome day?  Did I do long term damage to my friendship with Bryan?  I was a mess.

The next day I still felt weird.  My butt muscles were sore.  I was achy.  My stomach felt weird.  I was tired.  I needed some caffeine to wake up…

Cost: $5

Taste: Sweet and Refreshing.

Performance:  Terrible and dangerous.  See above.

Fulness Factor:  Bad.

X Factor:  Cammels like coke.  I can prove it:

So do monkeys:


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