The Best Air I Ever Huffed

Oxygen Plus O+Stick

Oxygen Plus O+Stick

I Paid: $19.99 for three spray cans of oxygen (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 1 stars

I have loved many stupid products in my day: mint-chocolate-dipped holiday Oreos. Three-pound flats of pasta from Pizza Hut. Even supposedly hangover-proof vodka. But the Oxygen Plus O+Stick is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever consumed and genuinely liked.

Here’s the story: You spend $20. You get three spray cans. These spray cans are full of air. (I know, I know, oxygen is different from air … it’s more flammable, for starters.) So, yes, you have just paid $20 for three basically empty cans filled with “90% Pure Oxygen” and, potentially, a flavor —Peppermint and Pink Grapefruit were the two I sampled, figuring that Natural would be sort of a flavor letdown.

You spray the air out of the can and inhale it. That’s it.

Except—and this is important—there is a bit of a rush of energy that follows each deep inhalation. Potentially a placebo effect, sure. That said, in this case, the placebo actually tastes (well, smells) kinda good. The two flavors are remarkably restrained: Peppermint is pleasantly reminiscent of the nondrilling aspects of a dentist’s office, and Pink Grapefruit evokes a healthy breakfast.

However, at $20 for three cans (with an estimated 8 to 12 uses per canister), maybe it’s worth considering whether this stuff really works—or what works even means. The Oxygen Plus O+Stick doesn’t claim to do anything in particular. Its tag line is “90% Pure Oxygen Concentrated for Natural Recovery.” Recovery from what, exactly? It claims to help you restore and refresh without going too deeply into the how and why. There are also a series of cryptic icons (with labels) on the box: a car (Auto), a plane (Travel), a chair (Office), a mountain (Elevation), a dude running (Play), and a martini (Recovery). (Incidentally: Despite the airplane icon, I dare you to bring one of these on your next overseas flight and start huffing away on it. Send me a postcard from Gitmo!)

Additionally, each box features a long, weird disclaimer that I regret only being able to quote in part due to space reasons. Highlight number 1: “Do not allow leaked oxygen to become trapped in fabrics, hair, or enclosed spaces.” (“Oh no! The living room sofa’s oxygenated! It’s gonna bloooooooooowwww!”) Highlight number 2: “Do not use underwater.” Oh, God. I so want to try using this underwater now!

In conclusion: If you’ve got $20 and you want to occasionally perk yourself up without coffee and weird everyone in your life out while doing it, boy, are you in luck.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.