Renaissance Column

MAY 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 5



Sacred Ceremony Or Strip Show?


James L. Iannone
Anthony Marciano
Kevin Ridolfi


CRIS COHEN, is staff humor columnist for Renaissance Magazine. His work is also published weekly in three California newspapers and four online humor magazines.




Too Much To Swallow


Something that has really never made much sense is the habit of drug companies to create pills that are the size of thermonuclear warheads. Michele, my wife, just got some that don't look like something you should swallow. They look more like those plastic buoys you see hanging off the sides of docks.

Pills this size are often referred to as horse pills because taking them is only slightly less traumatic than getting smacked in the butt with a riding crop. It's also the pharmaceutical company's way of saying that they don't think of you as being any more evolved than an animal that uses a feed bag. And that's their standard. If the pill they create isn't large enough to have asphyxiated Secretariat, then it's just not good enough.

And they don't make allowances for kids either. When my family took a trip out of the country once (it was for tax reasons), I had to take these pills that would have been better suited for sinking enemy naval vessels. They were huge. They were big enough that I felt my throat expanding as they went down. Now I'm not an M.D. In fact I don't have any extra letters after my name, but even as a kid I knew enough that you should never swallow any object that makes your throat bulge like a bullfrog with a glandular problem.

Actually the whole thing was pretty hypocritical. Especially when you consider that there were numerous occasions when I was a kid and adults reprimanded me for taking bites of food that were too big. This usually occurred when I was having lunch with a friend and we wanted to run off and play. Thus we decided that the meal would be over a lot sooner if we took the fewest number of bites possible. For instance, we reasoned that if you could somehow finish an entire roast chicken in three bites, then you would free up most of your afternoon. However the adults said this was bad and unhealthy. Of course they saw no problem with forcing us to swallow pills the size of large overnight delivery packages.

Part of the problem could be that the pills come in a container with an opening like the Holland Tunnel. In reality, though, the opening to the pill bottle should be the size of the average human throat. That way the drug people know that if they can't get the pill in the bottle without the help of a plunger or a compressed air gun, then it's not going to work with the patient either.

Of course probably the best solution is to just make every pharmacist and drug scientist have to swallow every pill they create or sell. And I mean any pill. I don't care if the scientist is a guy and the pill in question was created to help with menstrual cramps - get the man a glass of water. If he expects someone else to swallow it, then he has to show that he can get it down without the threat of closing off his windpipe. I think a plan like this would really motivate the scientists to pay closer attention to the size of the pills. After a week of suffering through the Heimlich maneuver every hour on the hour, you would see some radical changes being made in the area of design.

They might want to try something as simple as just making the pills smaller and having people take more of them. Nothing says that you have to shotgun the entire dose without coming up for air. Often times that's counter productive anyway. If someone is taking pills to help lower his blood pressure, he shouldn't have to take ones that produce a panic attack. Having heart failure as a direct result of taking medication is a bit more irony than people want in their day.

Once the medical community has taken care of this problem, then maybe we can move on to the bizarre habit of doctors making you wait for extended periods of time in a small room while almost completely nude.

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