The length of my caffeine habit goes back almost as far as I can remember. I think I must have had my first cup of coffee before I took my crayons out on the first day of kindergarten.
There’s barely a way I can imagine that I haven’t tried caffeine.
I’ve had coffee every which way you can get it, from spooning freeze-dried crystals down my throat during finals in college to sipping fair trade, organic coffees possibly harvested by Norwegian elves. While I can’t say for sure that elves were involved in the coffee-making process, elves are big in Norway, I hear.
In a pinch, I’ve swallowed caffeine pills and chewed caffeine gum. Perhaps that why I’m fond of the sort of energy drinks that could stop a charging cow right in its tracks.
I drink coffee for the flavor. The caffeine is a bonus. I drink energy drinks because they turn the inside of my head into a brightly colored pinball machine, and I get stuff done.
They all taste like the bottom shelf of an old medicine cabinet. The good ones taste like carbonated cough medicine. The bad ones are more like sweetened iodine or mercurochrome.
One of the worst-tasting energy drinks I’ve tried was Neuro Fuel. But it was also the best at what I wanted it to do.
I loved it. One can was like Popeye’s spinach. I felt like I could wrestle a city bus and win, or hammer out 5,000 words of copy in a single afternoon (coherence could be hit or miss, however).
It did make me feel a little sick afterward, sometimes.
I used to buy cans of Neuro Fuel at Smith’s Food Fair for as little as 50 cents a can.
Nobody else I knew drank this stuff, but the drink’s lack of popularity never stopped me. I stocked up, though I was always careful never to drink two cans within a 24-hour period. I was pretty sure a second can would explode my heart or turn me into a giant squid.
But then right after the June 2016 floods, Neuro Fuel became scarce. Nobody carried it. It was just gone.
As far as I can tell, the company went out of business.
There’s a slim chance eventually I’m going to see a late-night commercial asking people who drank one or more cans to call a number, but there’s also the chance that someday Neuro Fuel will return.
A couple of months ago, while bemoaning the disappearance of BarNone chocolate bars, I heard the original recipe had been picked by a candy maker specializing in retro treats.
BarNone candy bars are now available at select Cracker Barrel restaurants.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to get Neuro Fuel in the same place you can buy a “Best of Conway Twitty” CD.