United States Army Ranger Shane Snell held the chunky aluminum can in his hand and took a deep breath. In the course of 30 minutes, he had downed five 8-ounce servings of Rip It, a military-approved energy drink that was infamous for causing a variety of unpleasant side effects when consumed in excess. This would be can number six. It took him ten minutes to finish it.
In the boredom arising out of a cool night in Ramadi, Iraq, this was a “Case Race,” or an attempt to down as many of the cans in a 24-pack as he and his squadron possibly could. When no one was interested, he and a friend took it upon themselves. By the time he slammed down a seventh, his sergeant burst in and told him to get moving.
After 20 minutes had passed, Snell started sweating profusely. Riding in a convoy and fully geared up, the mixture of caffeine, taurine, sugar and other additives were swimming around in his intestines, undulating like the mixture inside a convenience store slush machine. He farted with such potency the vehicle’s driver started to dry heave. Forcing him to pull over, Snell ran out, crouched over and soiled his many layers of fatigues. His body hummed with a restless energy. Snell says it was “like my skin was crawling.”
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