A couple of weeks ago, Bill and I became the last people on earth to watch The Queen’s Gambit, a miniseries available on Netflix. I’m exaggerating, of course. I’ll bet there are some people in Tibet that have missed this popular series.
It was exceptional, and we binge-watched it, at least to the extent that two people who are in bed by 9 every night can binge-watch. (It took us a week.) It made me both want to learn to play chess and realize that I would never be able to play chess. My grandkids beat me at checkers, and I’m not “letting them” win. Plus, when I look up at the ceiling, all I see is the dust on my ceiling fan. (That comment won’t mean anything to those Tibetans who haven’t watched The Queen’s Gambit.)
Anhoo, besides being so intrigued by the main character Beth Harmon’s amazing ability to play chess, I was almost equally impressed with Beth’s ability to swallow six or seven tranquilizer pills at a time without benefit of water, and without gagging.
When I was a child, my mother gave us a vitamin pill to take every night. This, I have subsequently learned, was infinitely better than the cod liver oil that Bill’s mother made him take daily. Yuck. When we were little, Mom gave us some sort of children’s vitamin. Flintstone’s vitamins didn’t come out until 1968, so it probably was some sort of liquid. When we reached the double-digit age, we left our childhood behind, and graduated to adult vitamins. I don’t even vaguely remember the brand that she gave us. But I do remember the pills were red and oval, and probably about the size of an ibuprofen tablet.
The first time I (tried to) take the adult vitamin, I gagged. Nope, I told Mom. I can’t swallow a pill that big without throwing up. Since Mom hated to clean up vomit as much as I do, she crunched up the vitamin and put it in a spoon with some 7-Up. Now that I’m an adult, I know that crunching up the pill totally did away with the extended release aspect of the vitamin. Perhaps Mom knew that as well, but see above: she hated vomiting. I took the pill that way for quite some time before I finally was able to swallow the teeny tiny little tablet. Bec, of course, swallowed the pill perfectly, probably dabbing her mouth with a tissue afterwards and looking at me like I was a zombie.
That ability to take pills has not changed for me. I no longer have to crunch up pills and take them in a spoonful of 7-Up (though that would make a good Mary Poppins song), I still have to take my vitamins and medications one pill at a time. And I still gag. At night, I take a baby aspirin, a glucosamine tablet, a calcium tablet, two Advil PMs, and two prescription medications. It takes me awhile between brushing my teeth and finishing taking my meds.
On the other hand, Bill — who, because of his Parkinson’s — takes a handful of pills every morning, noon, evening, and night. And I mean a handful, and he takes them all at once without gagging. I watch him in amazement.
“What?” he says.
“How do you do that?” I ask.
“Years of drinking beer,” he says.
Actually, I made up his answer, though it might be true. What he really says is that he wants to get it all over with at once.
I read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood when I was a teenager. I vaguely remember that it was about a family who was murdered by two guys in a small town in Kansas. The book probably had some deeper meaning, but my biggest takeaway from that book is that the one bad guy was addicted to aspirin. That was weird enough, but he chewed them.
He should at least have used some 7-Up.