Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
I cracked a joke the other day, about how if Four Loko had’a been around back during my say hell no to sobriety days, I’m positive I would have accidentally murdered myself on purpose. No question about it.
Before Four Loko, though, there was a similar drink called ‘Sparks,’ a self-proclaimed alcohol & caffeine liquid energy supplement, which is still on the market right now. I doubt anybody still drinks it, however, because nobody was drinking it when I was, save for my spouse. Thing is, in hindsight, the shit smelled awful & is best described, in taste as well as appearance, as light brown-fizzy pisswater. In fact, the only difference between a Sparks & *insert beer* is that *insert beer* doesn’t give a fuck if you like the taste, because apparently neither do you. Sparks, on the other hand, had a gimmick; it contained all the components of your run-of-the-mill “energy” drink. At that time, nobody was doing it like that. &, it was an intriguing shade of vomit orange for visual stimulation. [Sidenote: I’d love to tell you if the “energy” portion of the drink really worked, but all I focused on was the alcoholic ingredients.]
Around my way, the only people who drank Sparks, self included, are/were pure-D bottle jockeys in need of the necessary energy boost to eventually walk back to the liquor store, sooner than later. At which point, fuck an energy level, if you smell my cologne. I can remember waking up early to a lukewarm, cigarette ash-covered, half-finished can on the floor. As sure as I drank it, like any true lush would if he could, it tasted exactly like it would have had it been hermetically closed in the fridge; warm & hairy. (Nhjic.) Not that that was a deterrent or whatever, just saying. Funny what you block out & what you can’t forget.
In my not-so-textbook case of constant drunkenness, getting drunk was the goal, & nothing else matters. Sparks just happened to become my weapon of choice at that time. &, as a bonus to my semi-nauseous buzz, I had a 35 minute sugar & taurine rush, in case of any “strenuous” activities. Speaking of which, one of the main reasons I even tried a Sparks in the first place was because I was always tired from drinking. Unbeknownst to me at the time, though, I was so exhausted, so often, because my liver (& stomach, & lungs, & heart, & blood stream, & brain) was literally shutting down & taking the rest of my body with it. I wouldn’t find that out until a short time later, so hold that thought**. Thinking I merely need more fortified vitamins & extra minerals, when I saw an opportunity to continue my drug of choice, AND have energy for things that normal people enjoyed, I was all for it.
Shortly after that, I almost died from alcohol-related illnesses. Long story short: I saw some things, I experienced some things, I learned some things, & here I am, some 2 years & 8 months exactly to the day I had my last drink, comparing the latest fad in novelty swill to an old one. I’m not sure if that’s ironic or coincidental, but it feels like it should be a little of both. Then again, what do I know? I’m just a writer.
Four Loko follows in the footstep of og Sparks, just as Sparks was undoubtedly born from the ghetto-ass union of vodka & Red Bull. & not for nothing, but no ode to alcoholic energy drinks would be complete without giving an honorable mention to Cisco (nobody said what kind of energy), & my personal back-in-the-day game time mixture of Seagram’s Gin &
every single diffrent flavor of Gatorade.