All drugged up and nowhere to go
Microcosmic savages are pounding at the inner walls of the ears, the head is throbbing, pressure is building, the nose is perpetually on the verge of bursting, and I can’t help thinking that my immune system is being soundly routed on the physiological battlefield.A few nights ago, in an attempt to squash the viral army of barbarians invading my body, I drowned my entire microscopic world in thick, cherry-flavored syrup. Like hot tar poured over the castle walls, I thought the syrup would quell the rebellion and put my manor back in order.I was dead wrong.Cough syrup is a like agent orange or napalm: you can’t aim it. With all the precision of a stampede of elephants, my liquid reinforcements obliterated the entire field of war, making stumbling idiots of both foe and friend. It seems that, since I couldn’t really help my immune system, I did the next best thing: I got it drunk on NyQuil.I bought the red stuff (a.k.a. the red-liquid slide) at my favorite local Quick-E-Mart, and strolled to the counter with all the naivete of a 5-year-old girl scout knocking on the door of a Detroit crack house. Little did I know that my jittery paws held one of the most potent drugs known to mankind.Silly me, I figured that anything available over the counter can’t be all that powerful. Lesson learned: the FDA (like oh-so-many federal bureaucracies) is not to be trusted. Thirty minutes after my dirty little Quick-E-Mart drug deal, I was prone on my kitchen floor, eyes rolled into the back of my head, a red-tinted pool of saliva collecting around my cheek while “White Rabbit” droned in the background.True, I can’t say I felt any cold symptoms but I couldn’t feel my legs, either. I had wonderful dreams about little couplets of T-cells and viruses square dancing through my sinuses, and dancing turkeys, and talking noses.Sometime in the middle of the night (who knows?) I became temporarily conscious, pulled my heavy head from the floor and stumbled to the couch. I felt like Rip Van Winkle after an opium binge. By the time I awoke, heavy-lidded, I felt I had lost my innocence somehow. The world seemed gray, unfriendly, and devoid of meaning. I stumbled into work, drowsy for the entire day, trying to push keyboard buttons that felt like miniature marshmallows.Driving home last night a policeman passed me by. Instinctively, shamefully, I hid the NyQuil in the glovebox, just in case. I wouldn’t want him to know I was around that kind of drug. Only then did it occur to me that this stuff is legal. My god, I thought, how can we justify putting someone in jail for 10 years for possession of a naturally occurring hallucinogen, and then sell this wicked red stuff over the counter and call it medicine? Maybe it’s the NyQuil talking, but something about that seems terribly wrong.Tom Boyd, a lifelong Vail local, is assistant editor of The Vail Trail. He can be reached (maybe) in his cloud at (970) 390-1585, or firstname.lastname@example.org.