When I heard about the new caffeine inhaler (yes, inhaler), the one that lets you breathe in the equivalent of "a large cup of premium coffee," a few thoughts raced through my mind.
Has society become so work-crazed it can't even take the time to savor a hot latte?
FDA, you have your new Four Loko.
And, lastly: MUST TRY IT.
(Coffee makes my stomach woozy, and I needed a boost of energy to do big, important things, like, um, write this column.)
Developed by a Harvard professor, AeroShot Pure Energy packs 100 milligrams of calorie-free caffeine in a sleek, lipstick-like tube. The packet gives illustrated instructions, which basically tell you to pull the tube open, place one end between your lips and gently puff the stuff into your mouth. Each tube contains six to eight puffs, and maker Breathable Foods claims you can inhale up to three tubes per day. You know, for maximum Jessie Spano effect.
Mid-workday, slumped from a lunchtime pizza party, a couple of guinea-pig colleagues and I went for the shot. Here's the play-by-play:
"WATER!" we all cry, our faces contorting into ugly shapes as tears start to well.
After realizing nobody is getting up to help (yes, this is why we need more energy), we start scrambling around our desks for other chasers—candy, gum, pizza scraps, nontoxic glue, anything.
Still heaving, one co-worker utters, "I'd rather snort cocaine."
Another finds a single Starburst in her drawer and offers to split it three ways.
It's bad. Like being in a gas chamber infused with Pixy Stix bad. Apparently, as we should have known, natural caffeine is really, really bitter, which is why we don't simply ingest it. The consistency is less like a hookah vapor (which is what I was imagining) and more like flour. Saliva alone doesn't stand a chance of getting rid of the aftertaste.
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A few minutes later, though, I felt something. A buzz. It came on strong. The other test subjects said they felt it, too. Whoa. Dude. I was awake. What would I do with this new sense of alertness? Go running? Clean my closet? Start writing a screenplay?
Before my list could go any further, the buzz started to wane, and half an hour later, I was back where I started, feeling sluggish and blah. A cup of coffee had never sounded so good.
This column appeared in print as "Inhalable Caffeine?"