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Charlie Hatton
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Bitter, Bitter Pills

When you get to be my age, it’s important to get every extra little edge you can. I’m nearly thirty-seven years old. So it could all go up in smoke tomorrow; I’ve got to grab life by the short and curlies while I’ve only got the one foot in the grave.

Of course, sometimes those extra edges come back to bite me in the ass. Like today, when I made a trip to my local drug store to restock on magic elixirs and rejuvanatory tonics.

“According to the gubment, I might as well be snorting Skittles.”

Specifically, I went to grab a new bottle of glucosamine and chondroitin. That’s the snake oil du jour for decrepit old bastards like me with wonky joints. The doctors tell us these big three- and four-syllable words keep our knees and elbows from swelling up like throbbing ouchy cantaloupes. Again.

The bottle says this:

These nutrients promote long-term joint flexibility and ease of motion.

That’s near the top. After that, there’s an asterisk, which references this leetle itty-bitty text at the bottom, barely visible with the naked eye:

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Jeez. Thanks a lot, Dr. Bringdown. Can’t a man enjoy his placebo in peace? According to the gubment, I might as well be snorting Skittles.

Anyway, I’ve been taking these sugar pills for a while and my knees have felt pretty good for a near-cadaver, so why stop now? In fact, I decided today to up the dose, for that extra ‘edge’ I was talking about earlier.

That’s where the aforementioned ass-biting comes in. You’d think I’d have learned by now. People in their golden years are supposed to fear change. Must be the Alzheimer’s.

At any rate, I noticed at the druggist’s today that the pills come in a new ‘triple strength!!‘ style. And the bottle was only a couple of bucks more than my puny old wussified ‘single strength’ pills. Of course, the important math didn’t occur to me. If, as the FDA suggests, the pills are doing zero good in the first place, then zero times three still equals zero. But I didn’t go there. The Alzheimer’s, remember?

(Well, one of us has to remember. Try taking notes or something.)

So what went wrong? It’s the pills. I was ready for them to be three times the strength. I might have understood if they were three times the price. But I just shook one out of the bottle, and I’m pretty sure it’s three times the size of the old pills. The regular strength kind are caplets, smallish and soft and easily swallowable. The new ones?

They’re huge. Huge. They look like horse pills. And I don’t mean ‘pills you feed to horses’, either. I mean, they’re the actual size of freaking horses. Saddles and all.

Look. I’ve done a lot of thinking tonight about these pills. And quite a bit of online medical research. And I have yet to identify an orifice I can fit these things into. Not a bodily orifice, anyway. Maybe — maybe — I could stuff one into the fireplace. Or the bathtub. Short of that, I’m not seeing it. And neither is my esophagus.

On the other hand, I’d prefer that my knees not snap in half, if it’s at all avoidable. And at my age, those leg bones are like cardboard. If the pills are doing anything at all, it’s worth a shot. So I’ve got three choices: trade these stupid footballs in for a bottle of the old caplets, slice them up with a pizza cutter into manageable pieces, or find some way to swallow the things. Like stuffing them down my throat with a plunger, or washing them down with water from a high-pressure fire hose.

Come to think of it, it’d probably be easier to just stop walking now, or using my joints at all. I can’t have that many years left, right? How much worse can it get?

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “Bitter, Bitter Pills”

  1. shelley says:

    “Saddles and all”? Now, that’s big.

  2. #Debi says:

    Yeah, I take those, too. The ones I take have a nice smooth coating to make them slide right down your throat. I hardly gag at all…

    I begin to wonder if age is now measured by the number of supplements one takes. If so, I think I’m getting up there…

  3. Lori says:

    Hmm, I picked up some of those pills for my dogs yesterday.

  4. Drew says:

    To mis-quote Lewis Black… “If it weren’t for them pills, I wouldn’t have spent that hour in the bathroom…”

  5. hazelhazel says:

    It’s such a bitch to get old. I’m downing more pills a day than Elvis did.

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