I tend to have a rock solid constitution. I’m the guy who goes to a dinner party to partake in an experimental meal of chicken tartare and river water imported from downtown Kathmandu, and walks away without getting sick.
I can survive a trip on a city bus when an entire class of grade two students, with runny noses and dripping disease, decides to sneeze and cough on me all at once whilst screaming “Teacher, teacher, there’s an old hobo on this bus!”
I would be the guy who accidentally walks into the level six containment area at the International Centre for Infectious Diseases thinking it was a coffee shop and expose himself to a super virulent version of Ebola while ordering a venti-mocha-latte-cino from the strange barista in the yellow hazmat suit (I was acquitted due to improper signage).
But every once and awhile, about every two or three years, a 76 hour shift at the Drama Factory combined with a Canadian prairie blizzard with sustained winds of mach 7 and a temperature of -35° Kelvin, is enough to knock out my immune system and give my throat a tickle… and a fever of 105.2°F.
This usually results in a dreaded trip to my local Mega Drug Store chain to peruse the forty three aisles of cold remedy and related products.
I wander in, bleary eyed and dizzy, happy I’m so stuffed up that I can’t smell the inundating perfume counter that is ALWAYS at the entrance to the store and can’t be avoided. Very happy that I am spared the new Chanel Number 86 and Justin Bieber’s prepubescent musk fragrance that smells like unjustified entitlement and bubble gum.
Bouncing off of various displays of two for one Twilight DVDs and stale Valentine candy, I make my way to one of the aisles to stare at millions of brightly coloured packages, desperately seeking the one that has the cure to the plague that I currently have.
A clerk kindly recognises the insane confusion bordering on hallucination that I have and asks “Can I help you sir?”
“Yes, I hab a bad coad and am wond-ring whish of these is right for me.”
“None of them sir.”
“Because this is the feminine hygiene aisle sir.”
“You want aisles 22 through to 57, someone there can help you… don’t touch me.”
I stumble to one of the aisles marked by a life-sized cardboard cut-out of a certain ice hockey analyst who wears ugly suits. He proclaims the unproven medicine that he was paid to endorse is the only remedy required. I take it into consideration.
Beside him is a bin full of marked down remedies, and across the aisle is the wall of lozenge. I start looking at packages and unpronounceable ingredients and wildly differing dosages and side effects.
Someone who I think is a pharmacist, but more likely an underpaid student trying pay her way through college, asks me if she can help.
I hold up a package and say “Please tell me these aren’t tampons.”
The confused clerk runs away to call security, leaving me to decipher the dosage recommendations of children’s methylene-dioxymethamphetamine in the shape of spaceships…. I like spaceships.
Soon a middle aged man with a name-tag that says Manager Bob approaches me. “Sir, you need to make a purchase, otherwise you’re going to have to leave”.
“I’m trying to find somefing for dis coad! What’s with the stuff in the bargain bin?”
“That particular remedy has recently been banned by the FDA in the States and it’s only a matter of time before it’s banned here too. It’s currently marked down… 75% off.”
“Why is it banned”
“Apparently a laboratory rat fell into a vat of this stuff and came out super-intelligent, a trait that the U.S. government doesn’t want to befall their citizens”.
“Does it work?”
“Well, it comes in lemon flavour.”
“Set me up. What about the wall of lozenge, why don’t any of these have dosages?”
“Most of them are just overpriced lemon flavoured candy, so you can have as many as you want.”
“Any side effects?”
“OK, give me a few bags. What about the Hockey Night in Canada recommended medicine?”
“That’s just ground up Quebec Nordiques jerseys with a little lemon flavouring.”
“OK, a couple of bottles of those too.”
After I’m walked down the entire cold section, and I pick up all sorts of lemon flavoured potions, lemon flavoured pills, and lemon scented salves, I proceed to the register.
“That will be $216.89. Will you be putting this on your Mega Drug Mart lemon flavoured credit card?”
I realise that they have been taking advantage of my condition by offering false hope with lemon flavouring and I abandon the basket and cross the street to the grocery store to pick up a dozen lemons for 4 bucks.
But I cut them into the shapes of spaceships before consuming them… because spaceships are cool.