July 15, 2005
Another sleepless night, but not for a good reason.
This time, it was because just before going to bed, I drank a cup of Sunkist soda. A bottle of soda pop comes for free with a dinner order from our local Chinese restaurant "Golden China", so Grandma Ivy picked out a bottle of the orangey stuff. "Don't get a Coke," said I. "Get something without caffeine."
On the Sunkist website they explain "There's something about fresh citrus fruit that makes people feel energized!"
Sure, well, that may be true, but after being up all night, I'll tell you what it is about Sunkist that makes you feel energized, and it has nothing to do with fresh fruit. Kid-orange-colored Sunkist Soda is loaded with added caffeine. Sunkist Soda is not to be confused with caffeine-free Minute Maid soda. And don't mix it up with Sunkist fresh oranges, which are sold under the same name with the same logo.
As I have learned tonight, a couple of cans of smooth orange mild-mannered Sunkist will blow away a single can of that yucky bitter Jolt stuff. Being up all night I have had plenty of time to read up on it - Sunkist weighs in at 40mg of caffeine a can - 17% more than a Coke. Jolt gives you 71mg in a can, which is the legal limit for a 12oz can in the USA. If you are curious, there are a few other caffeine surprises that you can find on the internet.
So after my one cup of innocent orange Sunkist, I haven't gotten any sleep tonight, and this all upsets me more than a little bit. So while I am up, here is another story for you.
I went to high school at a boarding school called Exeter - it is a terrific school, and you should all consider sending your kids there. There are all sorts of great people there and great things to do. It's very educational, both inside the classroom and outside. For example, usually there are a couple kids in each dorm that run a small business for the dorm - a little snack bar. A little lesson in entrepreneurship.
So a few times a week our buddies Art and Anmol would open up the Wentworth Hall Grille for business in the basement of our dorm, and all us night owls would take a break from homework or listening to music or whatever we were doing and go and congregate. You weren't allowed outside the dorm after a certain hour, so we were sort of a captive audience. They would sell us candy bars and soda pop, and we would complain when they ran out of Twix or Cherry Coke. And they used to stock an old soda machine in the basement too - it was a terrific deal - stick in a quarter, get a Pepsi. So every night I had a Pepsi or two. I imagine it must have made it harder to sleep, but as a 16-year old boy doing sports every day and going to class 6 days a week I didn't really notice. I must have gotten used to it because I don't remember anything but sleeping soundly.
One day, as high-schoolers do, I ran out of quarters. Lucky for me, at boarding school Laundry Does Not Depend On Quarters - at Exeter the laundry service is prepaid by Mom and Dad. Bags of dirty clothes are picked up by a weekly truck and dropped off a few days later, crisply cleaned, folded and pressed. So no problem, I thought - I don't need money. No quarters, no soda pop. I went back to drinking milk and water and lemonade.
Immediately I had trouble sleeping.
I also had trouble functioning while awake. I had headaches all day long and could not get out of bed or get motivated to do anything.
If I scrounged up a couple quarters and got another Pepsi out of that infernal machine in the basement, I was fine again. But just for a few hours.
I could only scrounge so much. So the headaches persisted. I was miserable. I fell into depression. I missed classes and skipped out of sports and and got into arguments with everybody. I had no idea what I had done to myself. I was an addict. Withdrawal was hell.
And then, after a few weeks, it passed.
Since then, I have never wanted to have anything to do with caffeine again. At Starbucks (sort of the Wentworth Hall Grille for grown-ups I suppose), I only order decaf. And even then, I try to stay away from drinking too much.
So I am a bit peeved that Sunkist is selling "Fresh Fruit - Healthy Recipies" with the very same product logo as a 40mg caffeine delivery liquid. The orangey sweet concoction seems specially designed to mask any bitter caffeine taste. I am absolutely sure that the only reason they do not put more caffeine in Sunkist is that then you would taste the bitterness of the drug; otherwise I'm sure they would go right up to the legal limit to make it as sweetly addictive as possible. But there is only so much bitterness that citrus and sugar can hide.
When you drink Sunkist, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. But as a recovered addict, I am sensitive to this stuff. I am telling you now.
Stay away from the Sunkist, man.
It's bad stuff.Posted by David at July 15, 2005 07:21 AM
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