“One pill makes you larger
One pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all”
— “White Rabbit,” Jefferson Airplane
By Randall Grantham
I went to see my doctor the other day. During the course of the exam, he asked if I had a flu shot this season. After being told that I hadn’t, he asked if I wanted one. I told him no thanks.
Not because it might kill me, as at least one reader pointed out is the point of view of a know-nothing rabble-rouser, but because I’ve already had the flu this year. And I think it was THE FLU, not just the flu, if you know what I mean.
A lot of people are scared of the flu this year, and maybe for good reason. Because of all the media reports of deaths, many are trying to get a head start on vaccinations that aren’t readily available here yet.
Some people are trying to get their flu shots online. When I first head this, without any other information, I thought, “That doesn’t sound like a good idea.” I mean, you get the viruses online, not vaccinations.
And, it turns out, I was right. The Internet is not a reliable source for such medications, especially if you’re a bargain hunter. I saw a piece on the news the other day saying there are numerous sources for cut-rate versions of the flu treatment drug called “Tamiflu.” Problem is, they’re not really Tamiflu. Some are simply talc powder and Tylenol, others can be much more dangerous.
Officials from the World Health Organization, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Ministry of Health in Dominica warn not to buy any drugs advertised as “diagnosing, preventing, treating or curing the H1N1 virus.” They say there is a higher risk that the drugs will be counterfeit, impure, contaminated or have the wrong dosage.
The FDA regularly monitors the Internet and makes purchases to analyze drug products. One test shipment they received came from India and contained two unlabeled white tablets taped between two pieces of paper. Oh, I’d take that! Not. Luckily, that was the one that was just talc and Tylenol, nothing that would really hurt you.
Actually, taking those pills might do you more good than the real thing, it seems. I recently read another report, in WIRED magazine, that said placebos, pills with no active ingredients, have been out-performing those with the “real” stuff in them when it comes to pain meds, anti-depressants and the like.
It is thought that the increase in the effectiveness of these sugar pills ironically comes from the millions of dollars pharmaceutical companies spend on ads to make consumers “believe” in their products. Researchers found that when someone is given a pill, the brain expects change to happen. Because of that, the brain will often start producing its own pain-killing endorphins and even regulate other bodily functions better.
What’s weird, though, is that the trials vary based on things like the size and color of the pill, or even the country where the test is run.
For instance, blue tranquilizer pills work better than other colors even if they have the same meds, or lack thereof, in them. Except in Italy, where the color blue is associated with the national soccer team. Those guys get pumped!
So, with that in mind, I’ve been eating multi-colored sugar pills to keep me in shape. Who needs drugs? I’m high on life. Feed your head.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about security checkpoints and their occasional overuse. I agree that there is a need for enhanced security at some places and admit I’m over-sensitive about excessive use because of my titanium hip, which causes me to be pulled out of line every time.
A recent episode in one of the courthouses I frequent made me wonder what guards have to put up with and what kinds of weird stuff they see. It’s bad enough in Dade City that guards wear gloves to grab people’s stinky shoes out of the machine, but it is more interesting in New Port Richey.
I was behind a squat, middle-aged woman, who after emptying the pockets of her jeans still beeped when she walked through the checkpoint.
“Oh, it must be this,” she said as she took off her baseball cap and removed a piece of tinfoil that had previously been lining the top of it.
The guards and I looked at each other, shaking our heads. But the fact that they were unfazed by this woman who apparently believed the tinfoil lining might protect her — from what, aliens or the government’s secret mind control experiments — made me think.
So I asked officers manning various security points what kind of weird or funny stuff they see while X-raying people’s stuff all day and checking them out if they beep when walking through the metal detectors. It was a learning experience.
Piercings obviously rate high on the list. Just as my bionic hip sets off the machines, people with enough metal objects, inserted in various locations on their body, will also cause quite a ruckus.
Verifying the fact that they are, in fact, piercings and not some other sort of metal can be, shall we say, challenging in some cases.
One time, a metal container caught the attention of a screener in Tampa. After questioning the woman whose purse it was in, they found it contained the ashes of her father. And, weirdly dissimilar from my tinfoil lady in New Port Richey, there is the homeless guy who wraps himself in barbed wire and regularly visits the courthouses in Tampa. He’s explained that it’s just his “fashion statement.”
Speaking of fashion statements, there was a guy in Tampa who set off the walk-through alarm. As the guard passed the wand across his lower torso and asked him to raise his shirt to see the belt buckle, the guard was stunned to see that the man had his fly open and his “junk” hanging out! He was told to take that back out to his car.
But, after extensive interviews and research, the overall winner is … drum roll, please … women with battery-powered sex toys in their purses. You might think that they wouldn’t show up because they’re plastic or rubber, but deputies see the batteries and the wires and have to ask the owner what it is.
They are, to say the least, embarrassed in having to pull them out and dispel any concern. Guards, however, after establishing that there is no threat from that “friendly” weapon, spend more time wondering why these gals are carrying the things around in the first place.
Randall C. Grantham is a lifelong resident of Lutz who practices law from his offices on Dale Mabry Highway. He can be reached at . Copyright 2009 RCG