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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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A Potent Purple Potion

My wife’s been a bit under the weather this week. It seems she’s picked up a ‘summer cold’, which has her coughing and sniffling despite the warm weather.

I’m all about the helping, so I went digging through the medicine cabinet, to see what we had left over from the last cold ‘n’ flu season. The picking were fairly slim; apparently, we assume that we’ll be fever- and phlegm-free for nine months out of the year. We’re not really into the ‘contigency planning’ concept around here.

(You should see our retirement fund. I’m not sure how we’re going to manage in our ‘golden years’ on three dollars and a Netflix coupon. I assume it’ll work itself out.)

“All I knew was that it didn’t obviously make people sleepy, agitated, cranky, woozy, or taste like the saliva of a large antlered mammal. So it went on the ‘maybe’ list.”

There were a few curative candidates in the medicine cabinet, but most were vetoed by my sniffly missus. There was a swig of NyQuil (‘It makes me groggy!‘), a couple of Contacs (‘Those keep me awake!‘), and the last dregs of a bottle of Robitussin (‘It tastes like minty moose spit!‘).

I didn’t have the heart to ask how she knows what minty moose spit tastes. Maybe when she’s feeling better. I don’t recall her going on any Canadian ‘wildlife toothbrushing’ excursions, so I’ll be interested to hear the story.

(It’s not like she’d have to go all the way to Canadia for that kind of thing, anyway. There are squirrels here in our own back yard with rancid acorn breath. She could at least start there, and work her way up.)

Anyway, most of the analgesics and expectorants — or is that anti-expectorants; I always get those confused — were rejected. That left one lonely bottle of scary purple Tylenol Cold something-or-other, gathering dust in the back of the cabinet. I can’t say how long it’s been there; maybe it came with the house when we bought it. Or even when it was built, a little over one hundred years ago. All I knew was that it didn’t obviously make people sleepy, agitated, cranky, woozy, or taste like the saliva of a large antlered mammal. So it went on the ‘maybe’ list.

I investigated further, and opened the bottle. There was a cap liner, which should — as the name implies — have come off with the cap. It didn’t. Instead, the cap liner was glommed onto the mouth of the bottle, clinging for dear liner life and keeping me from having a look at the contents.

I tried to pry the plastic liner up — when this happens on most bottles, you can *pop* the liner right back off. Not on this bottle, though. On this bottle — of medicine, formulated to cure people — the liner disintegrated like a Kleenex soaked in gasoline. Whatever’s in that bottle had, over time, degraded the plastic coating into a mushy, sticky lavender lump.

I showed the bottle to my wife, explaining that I feared for her safety should she ingest any of the contents. She grabbed it from my hand sniffed it, and took two deep gulps. She paused for a second — checking her own vital signs, I imagine — and explained:

If whatever’s in that bottle can do that, then it’ll sure as hell kill whatever damned bug I’ve got. G’night.

Here’s hoping her logic holds. Not to mention the lining of her stomach. Still, if she’s right, she should wake up tomorrow purple-tongued and fully cured. And if not… well, on the good side, if she’s swallowed any plastic in her life, she’ll finally have it digested. That’s something, right?

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “A Potent Purple Potion”

  1. Simon says:

    I hope your wife gets better soon.

    If the gunk doesn’t kill or cure then you can try getting her to read the blog. Nothing like a good laugh to sweat out the germs.

    Oh, hang on. Was that laugh or something else. Now I’m not sure.

    Another summer sniffles cure is honey in warm, creamy coffee with a slug of whisky. I absolutely swear to a 100% success rate. Although I often skip the cream, the coffee and occasionally the honey.

  2. #Debi says:

    This little insight into your wife’s logic makes one understand how you all became the perfect couple…

  3. kerry says:

    my husband swears by a teaspoonfull of honey, as well, but i think i like simon’s remedy better. lol

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