Friday, September 21, 2007

SOME THINGS YOU JUST SHOULDN'T READ
(WHILE ON COLD MEDICATION):
Nuclear Winter, Buck Rogers, and the Not So Purple Haze All in My Brain...


NyQuil, NyQuil, NyQuil, we love you, you giant fucking Q!

- Denis Leary,
Actor and Comedian, c. 1992

* * * *

Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships.

- Andrei Sakharov,
Soviet Nuclear Physicist & Human Rights Activist, c. 1968


OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- The walls explode into a billion points of light, white flame melting away the paint and the drywall and the studs, an entire apartment building gone in an instant.

Everything for miles is illuminated, irradiated, decimated.

The attack could've come from anywhere - from the former Soviet Union, from China or Israel, from Iran or North Korea. Or maybe it wasn't an attack, merely a friendly mistake, an accidental discharge of warheads, an error by NATO or the Air Force or NORAD.

I heard the air raid sirens, the old Civil Defense horns that almost everyone had forgotten, wail moments before detonation. I was still in my bed, no time to react, the alarm clock chirping along to the sounds of a Cold War death knell.

In the infinite nanoseconds between the time the searing radiation melts my flesh and the time my nerve endings register momentary pain, I remember making fun of the old Duck and Cover drills my parents were forced to endure during their childhood.

I think about all of those 1950s post-apocalyptic science fiction movies, the ones where giant cockroaches and one-eyed mutants inherit a scorched, glowing Earth. I wonder, in my final moments, what those mutants and cockroaches will do with their new kingdom -

Suddenly, I'm nothing more than a disembodied wraith, ripped apart atom by atom, radioactive snowfall in one hell of a Nuclear Winter...

Regardless, this the way the world ends.

T.S. Eliot, that old Benedict Arnold of an American poet, had it all wrong. The world does, indeed, end with a bang. Hiroshima and Nagasaki made going out with a whimper an impossibility decades ago.

* * * *

"It's the NyQuil. Goddamn shit always makes me hallucinate."

NyQuil, the Green Death in a Bottle illness killer, one of the great pharmaceutical marvels of the 20th century.

While it certainly helps relieve the symptoms of the flu, it does so at the expense of one's sense of reality.

A copy of Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom, Andrei Sakharov's 1968 treatise on the dangers of the nuclear arms race, rests underneath my left hand, on top of the bedspread.

"Way to go, genius! Pass out reading about the goddamn threat of nuclear war!"

I awake to a world that has yet to be annihilated in a nuclear war. My flesh is still attached to my bones, my atoms still in place, the giant cockroaches and mutants nowhere to be found.

NyQuil and Sakharov's writings fueled my catatonic nightmare, danced together in my brain as I lay unconscious, fed lies into a thousand neurons and fragmented thoughts...

One should never read about the insanity of a world filled Mutual Assured Destruction and anti-ballistic defense systems while on cold medication.

Trust me.

* * * *

I stare up at the ceiling, trying to focus on something other than my nuclear holocaust of a nightmare. The mucus starts to wake from its drug-induced slumber, too, starts to creep back into my nostrils and sinus cavities as I regain consciousness.

Ten whole hours of uninterrupted rest.

An over-the-counter, drug-induced coma of a slumber.

And all I can think about is the end of the world.

"Well," I tell myself, "At least the fever's gone...

"Maybe you can get through a whole day at the office today..."

Jesus fucking Christ.

What a hell of a way to start the day.


* * * *

I, of course, couldn't make it through a solid workday.

I went home at lunchtime, on a Tuesday, and sprawled out on the living room floor. Another vial of magical Green Death melted away the mucus and body aches, melted away reality once more.

I flipped on the television, popped in a DVD copy of an old television series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

I haphazardly watch as a fictional 20th century astronaut adjusts to life on a fictional 25th century Earth - a post-apocalyptic future where talking robots dance to futuristic disco and all of the women wear skintight jumpsuits.

Science fact doesn't mix well reality-altering cold medications.

But science fiction, on the other hand...

* * * *

Erin Gray in the Famous Blue Catsuit, waiting on the other side of a fictional Nuclear War?

Or Sakharov-inspired visions of one-eyed mutants and killer cockroaches?

C'mon, now.

Not a hard choice.


- # # # -

14 comments:

Coyote Mike said...

Oh, Nyquil. It never really bothered me, but there was a guy on my freshman year dorm floor who, when he had to take a shot of the glowing green vileness, would get into bed first. He knew from past experience, he wouldn't be able to walk the two steps from his desk to his bed before passing out.

It is always fun on the first Thursday of the month when school starts and all the freshmen come to town. Every month on that day, the town tests it's civil defence sirens, which usually are reserved for tornados. The out-of-staters tend to get this wide-eyed look of panic. An ill-intentioned local could easily take advantage of that by sending them down to the basement with a survival kit, cutting the lights, and volunteering to go "keep watch" for the storms. With the sirens going, they will believe anything :D

Jessica said...

Sweet Pea,

We need to get you on a vitamin schedule. September through April you should take at least a 1000mg of C a day, unless you are sick - then it should be 1000mg every 4 hours, plus some Echinacea. You will pee out what your body doesn't need. And a decent multi-vit everyday. Trust me on this.

I can't take NyQuill - makes me sick as all get-out.

Feel better.
J

max said...

It cracks me up you have Buck Rogers on dvd.

eleKtrofly said...

i once had a prescription for straight codeine, unmixed.

thats a month of my life i can't remember...

Woeful said...

NyQuill does a body good. Doing a shot of it is like being kicked in the face by a mule, but after that, it's all good.

BTW, I've always been a fan of Princess Ardala.

Miz BoheMia said...

I have never tried the stuff... anything that's not natural freaks me out... though hypocrite me will take all the novocaine she can get when at the dentist... though after whatever torturous procedure they perform on me, I return to refusing any medication and decide to ride the pain... oy...

Which explains why that is one, of oh so many, reasons I loved this post, the first and foremost being the beauty of your poetic prose my dear friend... 'tis a beautiful piece!

Years ago, back when I was a 15-year-old bohemian, my mother's friends came over with their cute-guy-I-SO-had-the-most-ridiculous-crush-on 16-year-old son who was chugging down his Nyquil religiously and appeared totally drunkish and out of it at our home... it made for quite the entertaining evening indeed... can only imagine you on it... a laugh or two would most definitely be had methinks!

Hope the Nyquil-induced stupor has worn off and that you are as well as well can be amigo mio!

Mucho love...

xboxgirl said...

Jeez, what did you do drink a cup of that NyQuil stuff...I've never taken NyQuil or any meds when I'm sick or in pain in my life (yet anyway).

Vitamin C does seem to help when you are sick, but I wouldn't go taking 1000mg every 4 hours though.

Hope you are better sweetie.

EsotericWombat said...

Daaamn. I've been meaning to check out Buck Rogers and I may have too now

That state of mind sounds something like me when sleep deprived, drunk, and caffeinated. And I have to say that science fiction can cause a turn for the worse when it's presented as science fact. *cough* missile defense *cough*

I thought it was sort of funny when in sixth grade I read one of the science-type books in one of my classrooms about how it was expected that missile defense lasers would be operational by the late 90s. It was 1998. I got funny looks whenever I was reading it because everyone knew that it also contained before and after shots of a boob job. It made sense somehow...

Miz BoheMia said...

Dude!!! Stop taking the goddamned Nyquil and COME BACK!!!

Where y'at???

coyotemike said...

I'm afraid we may have to stage a Nyquil intervention for Jason. Everybody sign up to bring refreshments :P

The ZenFo Pro said...

I apologize for not getting to responding to the comments... between the flu and my quick "Homecoming" (posts forthcoming...oh lord, this is gonna be a long week), and, of course, work, I've been a bit of a slacker. - Jason

Mike:
Lol, well, I think it had a bit todo with the sheer amount of the vile stuff I was using. I normally don't touch the stuff, but the congestion with this bout almost- literally - choked me to death in my own snot.

Dude, if our sirens went off (Oxford's on the far eastern reaches of Tornado Alley), I probably would've freaked the fuck out :P


Jessica:
You know, it's funny - I take a B/C Complex every morning, work out, and virtually live off probiotic -heavy foods. But now, when I get sick, it almost frigging kills me. When I was a shlub, at least, things like the Flu didn't make me feel like I was on death's doorstep.

Or maybe it's just getting old.

Sigh.


Max:
Lmao. Yup.Goes well with the Star Trek Fan's Choice box sets.

;)

Elektro:
Hey, a new commenter!

Yeah. Codeine and I don't play well together, either. Goes along with being a former cokehead.But, lord, do I hear ya.

Woeful:
Heh. Or two mules and a one-legged prostitute :P

Oh God... Ardala...

Rawrrr....


MizzyB:
Why thank you, ma'am! Doing much better!

Lol, I'm the same way with drugs. I friggin' hate when I have to use things like NyQuil, but, ugh, this sucker was resistant to just about every holistic decongestant known to man. No fever, just ick, snot, and fatique with sleeplessness.

And the Big N Little Y Big Fucking Q?

Lol, it's 10 percent alcohol, which makes it a 20 proof shot of booze, complete with sleepaids. Not good for ya.


Xbox:
Lol, well, not a CUP cup. Just one of those little shot glasses that come with the bottle...

Just get your flu shot. This year's gonna be a doozy once this sucker makes the rounds.

Wombat:
Three words sum up the Buck Rogers series:

Hot SciFi Women.

We're talking old-school, 1970s science fiction.

G said...

I really miss Leary's standup days. Classic.

The NyQuil and Sudafed combo works like a f***ing charm, BTW. Too many people think they have to go through all the trouble of getting prescriptions such as codeine to 'get their dreams on' as the fellas used to say ... when in fact the better (and longer lasting) mix is available right there in the cough medicine aisle.

Just don't down 'em with a bottle of Jack's, whatever you do. Unless you have a death wish, that is. Or you have the tolerance level, immune system, and stomach strength of a reinforced brick wall. That's how dudes tend to get the nicknames 'Tank' and 'Machine', and 'Psycho Bob'.

Cheers bro,
G

The ZenFo Pro said...

G:
Oh hell yeah it does. In the States, thanks to the friggin' tweakers, it's hard to get ol' pseudoephedrine in anything!

Lol, I felt like an ass having to show my damn ID to get real NyQuil - a store brand that still offers the old-school formula.

Jack????

Christ.

G said...

I guess Freedom really isn't free, at least not when it comes to cough medicine.

NyQuil is still right on the counter here, no ID req'd. Same for Sudafed. Beautiful country, this place we call Canada. I think the gov secretly wants everyone high because that way we will continue our slacker ways, and basically not bother to bother anyone.

Like I said, beautiful.