It’ll Cure What Ails You

Week 34: Written August 25, 2016

When Sharon asked Chandler to go pick up her medicine, he was happy to help. She wasn’t the easiest patient to take care of. She always over-exaggerated her symptoms, moaning and groaning with every sniffle. A drive to the pharmacy would help both their ailments.

There was new one just down the street. It looked like a mixture of a traditional pharmacy and a new age healing center. But Sharon’s medicine was over the counter, so Chandler thought he’d give it a try. If it took him a little longer to find what he was looking for, all the better.

“Good evening,” an employee greeted him at the door. The high school student flashed her bright, pearly whites and waved him through the entranceway.

There were teenage employees stationed at every aisle. Three more waited patiently, and happily, at the registers. Otherwise, the place was empty.

“I just need some cold and flu medicine. Where can I find that?”

“Aisles four, five, and six.”

“All three?”

“We offer a variety of different treatments for that kind of illness. I encourage you to explore all three.”

Ordinarily, this sort of establishment would’ve driven Chandler crazy. He was an “in and out” kind of shopper, not the kind to waste time. Just tell him where the Tylenol is, dammit! But again, the invitation to wander was welcome on this particular occasion. He just didn’t envision shopping at this pharmacy again. Ever.

Aisle four was very symptom specific. There was a sore throat shelf, a sniffles shelf, a runny nose shelf — yes, somehow those last two were completely different symptoms. And as Chandler focused in on the products themselves, he figured out why.

One of the sore throat “medicines” treated a nagging wife. Another was specially designed for kids that throw tantrums. Yet another, to Chandler’s surprise, was the perfect treatment for excessive “oral stimulation.” The phrase “deep throating” appeared on the otherwise nondescript packaging five times.

He thought they might be gags or something, but the employee in aisle four assured him they were all 100% guaranteed to work as prescribed.

“My dad buys some of these religiously, for my mom and my younger sister. Take it from personal experience: they work wonders.”

Chandler nodded, and browsed the shelves some more. He found the perfect one: a “drama queen” treatment. “To heal sore and scratchy throat from the effects of overdramatizing the common cold, including whining, moaning, and bitching.”

Perfect.

As he dropped it in his basket, the aisle floor attendant assured him that the cashier will replace the packaging with something less suspicious.

“It’ll look like any other sore throat medication.”

Maybe he would shop here more often after all.

Aisle five dealt with congestion. Chandler grabbed one box of medicine here, too: to treat “nasal pressure due to a heightened sense of importance.” Apparently, there was a cure to narcissism now. Maybe this would make Sharon feel better and knock her down a few pegs at the same time. Win win.

Aisle six was a packed one. All the medicine there revolved around pain, and Chandler wound up finding something for himself. “The unauthorized transformation from spouse to servant can be a torturous one,” one box advertised. “Eliminate the pain, and regain your rightful status!”

He grabbed four boxes of those, all that they had left in stock.

The cashier rang him up, and peeled a layer off of each box so that they looked no different than your average store-brand OTC medicine.

“Your wife won’t be the wiser,” she said with a wink. Chandler couldn’t remember telling anyone about his wife, but figured it was obvious just from his choice in items. He nodded and headed for the door.

There were products behind the checkout counter, too, like condoms that promoted “seminal osmosis” and cigarettes with heightened cancer risks (from 5% all the way to 50%, the latter costing over $200 a pack). Combined with all the smiling teenage faces staring at him from all angles, he felt suddenly uneasy. He practically ran out the door and back to his car.

“What took so long?” Sharon moaned when she heard Chandler walk through the door. “I’m on my death bed here!”

He groaned and dug through the shopping bag for the congestion medicine. He also grabbed some pain meds for himself, too.

“Here you go,” he said, handing her three pills — the recommended dosage — and a glass of water.

“What is this, Tylenol?”

He simply nodded.

“Doesn’t look like it.” She swallowed all three in one gulp.

“It’s a new version. Extra strength.”

“Ohhh.”

The effects were almost instantaneous. She grew quiet, peaceful, sliding back against her pillow and under the covers.

Chandler went back downstairs and took some pills for himself. They were fast acting, too, making him feel happier and more relaxed.

And despite the discomfort he felt leaving the pharmacy, he made a mental note to return the follow day and explore the other aisles. He was angling for a new TV and Sharon might need some…convincing.