Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Laughter is the best medicine

Monday night, my phone rings and I answer it.

It's my wife and she's flustered.

Not the normal level of flusteredness that comes from being my wife and mother to two little sometimes-more-than-you-can-handle girls. More than that.

"What's wrong?" I ask.

Emily has an earache and my wife wants to know if I can go pick her up from Daisy Scouts.

This job has some definite ups and downs, but one of the real ups is a flexibility that you just can't get from Mickey D's.

So I fly from here to pick up Emily and take her home, but we're out of ear drops, so I have to fly back out to the drugstore.

All the ear drops say they soften ear wax, not alleviate earaches.

Confused and bewildered (two states I live in), I make my way back to the pharmacist's den to ask her if they're the right ear drops.

She tells me earache medicine is prescription only.

"Cause we usually know ahead of time when we're going to get an earache?" I quipped.

The "you-little-S.O.B." look in her eye tells me she was serious.

She tells me that in order to get a prescription, I'll have to take Emily to the emergency room.

Yeah, for an earache.

"When I was little, my mother used to give me drops," I said.

"You must have had a prescription," she tells me.

For some reason, I doubt it.

Anyway, she said people could overuse their earache medicine and become immune to it.

So let me see if I can get this straight: You need a prescription for earache medicine, but beer and cigarettes are over the counter.

We're all going to go out and OD on earache medicine?

I can just picture the new fad. High school kids all around the country with cotton balls in their ears and heads tilted. What a rush.

While I'm on medicine, what's the deal with medicine commercials?

Let me set the scene: Flamingos playing in the background while two senior citizens dance in the foreground. Pink clouds fly by at light speed.

"Ask your doctor if Man-naise is right for you."

Then, "May cause nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, red eyes, pink eye, chlamydia, balding, excess hair growth, itching oily skin, and toe jam."

But what does it do?

They never say that.

If fast food companies had the same regulations that pharmaceutical companies apparently do, McDonald's commercials would be much less fun.

Let me set the scene: Kids playing on playground equipment while two middle-aged parents dance in the foreground. McDonaldland cookie-shaped clouds fly by at light speed.

"Ask your nutritionist if McSandwich is right for you."

Then, "May cause nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, red eyes, pink eye, chlamydia, balding, excess hair growth, itching oily skin, and toe jam."

But at least you don't need to go to the emergency room and get a prescription.