Do the remedies hide in plain sight?

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 4/19/19

A few days ago, I was rummaging through the various drugstore aisles that contain the medicines and cures you can buy without a prescription. I was looking for a particular eyedrop that the eye doc …

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Do the remedies hide in plain sight?

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A few days ago, I was rummaging through the various drugstore aisles that contain the medicines and cures you can buy without a prescription. I was looking for a particular eyedrop that the eye doc said would help control the agony of pollen in the eyes since the recent monsoons hadn’t completely eliminated the issue.

Naturally, I couldn’t find it. And, just as naturally, I was busy doing the male thing and looking for it without any luck or without asking for help. See, for you folks out there who aren’t male, here’s a little secret: we boys never need any help or get lost or can’t find what we’re looking for or anything like that...sometimes.

For instance, I have been on trips with my children’s mother and get us to someplace we weren’t planning to go. At that point, she will usually say something to the effect of, “Why don’t you stop and ask someone?” — as if I were lost or needed the help. You must also understand that I don’t have one of those little boxes with that woman inside who tells you where and when to turn. I cut my directional teeth on road maps and still love them, except when my official 2011 N.C. map doesn’t have all the up-to-date info.

That attitude is the same as what I use when looking for something on shelves in groceries or drug stores or any store. I simply most of the time can’t find what I’m looking for. Of course, there’s a flip side, namely, for instance, that when I’m not looking for something, I see it immediately — like fried pork skins or chocolate chip cookies.

After much consideration of that phenomenon, I have concluded that part of the problem lies in the fact there are many kinds — too many kinds — of the similar item. How many different kinds of toothpaste or Band-Aids or painkillers do we need? And why is the store brand of pain killer not as costly as the name brand? Is the name brand that much better or are we paying for the company president to make a seven-figure salary or paying for the latest ad campaign? And who make the store-brand? Is it the name brand guys trying to make all the bucks?

By now, I should be used to it. Years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was a soda jerk at McCrimmon Drug Co., located on Pittsboro’s bustling main street. Today, I hope I’m not just a jerk. Anyway, in those days, we had an abundant supply of, for instance, painkillers and products designed to make you feel better — tonics, they were called.

There was, for instance, SSS (ad campaign of “Yes. Yes. Yes. Take SSS”), Beef Iron and Wine (I guess a combination of beef liver extract and a bottle of Ripple), Lydia E. Pinkham’s Compound (it came in a pink carton; I have very little idea what was in it), and a host of other products. And there were a ton of pain-relieving products from aspirin to zebra tail (not really, but it makes the point). And there was a common ingredient — alcohol. If you don’t believe it, just read the label...and that goes for today’s products, as well.

It was at that age that I knew them all. Had to so we could be customer friendly.

“Which one of these do you take?”

“Well, none of them really since I don’t ache but Mrs. Kadiddlehopper swears by . . .”.

Today is a bit of a different story. I have some aches and pains given to me by my father and mother so that I might remember them. And I’m trying some of their remedies, ranging from some only the pharmacist can give you to those old standbys from over the counter or even old wives’ tales. Funny thing, though, not sure I ever met any old wives but I’m not about to ask a lady her age.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s a silver bullet out there on a shelf somewhere.

Maybe I ought to ask the young lady at the drug store counter what she uses.


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