This morning, we reported on the shocking accident suffered by editor Jonathan Dorn late last night after he apparently and unknowingly self-administered a near-lethal dose of a powerful prototype electrolyte salve from energy-gel maker GU. An outpouring of concern ensued on Backpacker’s forums and Facebook page, with many readers and industry friends wondering if this report was, in fact, an April Fools’ prank.
Reporting from Room 499 of the ICU ward at Foothills Hospital in Boulder, Colorado, we’re here to tell you that Dorn’s alarming convulsions and loss of consciousness was not a joke, as the photo above proves. However, we are also pleased to report that our boss emerged moments ago from his daylong coma, suffering from what appear to be withdrawal-like symptoms but otherwise as lucid as a retired NFL linebacker.
Our reporter spoke with Dorn shortly after doctors concluded their exam, which included a vigorous scrub with special bamboo-bristle brushes to remove the tenacious residue of the GU Dermacharge Transdermal Electrolyte lotion that Dorn apparently applied in excess to his torso, arms, and legs during an intense elliptical workout. Made from a unique formula developed in secret in GU’s California labs, Dermacharge is intended to be soap- and sweat-resistant for maximum staying power during high-intensity exercise.
“The last thing I remember was a pleasurable tingling up and down my chest as the Dermacharge took affect,” said Dorn. “It was like my ribs were being tickled by a thousand caterpillars with cayenne-spiced massage oil on their furry little legs. Then everything went black and I slipped into a dream state. In the sequence I remember best, I was slacklining across a great chasm—maybe Hells Canyon, because it smelled like potatoes—with Jessica Biel riding piggyback. It was hard to keep my balance, because she kept nibbling my ear and whispering about Justin. And then suddenly, it was Timmy O’Neill nibbling my ear, and he was singing a Ramones song, and then Marucs Mumford appeared out of nowhere and punched Timmy in the nose and we all tumbled off the slackline. Then it got weird. I remember falling for a long, long time, and landing in a redwood grove that looked really familiar but was full of satyrs. One of the pranced over to me, and I recognized him as Charlie Sheen, and he handed me a tube of GU Dermacharge, but when I looked at the tube it said Tiger Blood Balm. And one of his goddesses tried to slather some on me, but she couldn’t reach me because I was doubling over and curled up with a pain in my side like someone had shot a pineapple out of a cannon. That was probably when my liver shut down, by the way, but I didn’t know it because by then my physical being was comatose with a sugar overdose. Right before I woke up, a guy who looked a lot like Ueli Steck appeared and offered to remove “the tumor” with his customized Wenger knife. Fortunately, I came to before he could make the first incision.”
The chief endocrinologist at Foothills told us that Dorn’s vital functions are all checking out well, and that he should suffer no permanent damage from this odd episode. Doctors are keeping him overnight, however, because of the concussion he suffered from hitting the Stairclimber when he convulsed, and so they can modulate Dorn’s glucose levels with a tapered administration of Dermacharge (“Tenacious Tomato” this time, for the lycopine) around the navel, where doctors believe the osmotic effect is most efficient. The gauze in the photo covers 12 stitches, and the oxygen tube, say doctors, is mostly precautionary.
When reached for comment, GU publicist (and founder of the BAAR Brawl, for which Dorn was assiduously training) Gordon Wright had this to say: "GU is powerful nutrition. Their products are not intended for someone who edits copy all day and then jumps into the kind of workout demanded by the BAAR Brawl. We're just lucky Jon pulled through and think that GU's forthcoming Taurine Sunblock may be a better fit for him. Mostly, our hearts go out to his wife, Heather; what that poor woman goes through..."
All we can say is, phew—that was a close call.