I have, somewhere in a corner of my basement, an old copy of the “Anarchists Cookbook,” most likely left behind by a post-college roommate.
It contains page after page of instructions on how to turn regular household items into things of breathtaking illegality. Spoons, FM radios, household chemicals and fruits all have the opportunity to become something new and insidious.
And yet, you can still go to the store, almost 40 years after the book was first published and buy those household items, without so much as a raised eyebrow from the clerk. You don’t even have to flash your identification if you’re paying cash.
But that’s not the case with sinus medicine. Some twerp figured out that they could manufacture methamphetamine from my favorite kind of sinus medicine, Sudafed. Now, I go through the third degree every time I get the sniffles.
Let’s be clear: This is not cancer medicine or insulin or anything my life depends upon. But at times like right know, when the back of my throat feels like cats have been using it as scratching post and a litter box and my head feels huge and bloated, I crave the stuff like a junky. All I want to do is slip into the store, get my medicine, go take a shower and know that in a half-hour or so, I’ll be back to rational and human. For a while at least.
Nope. That would be too easy.
The fat packages of medicine have been replaced by plastic cards that you must take to the pharmacists’ counter. They record your driver’s license and make you sign a disclaimer of some kind before they dispense your medicine. They look at you, too, wondering if those weepy eyes with dark circles and the nasty demeanor represent something else.
And woe unto you if you run out of sinus meds after the pharmacy is closed. You’re on you own until sunrise.
Oh sure, they still have boxes of sinus medication on the shelves, but it’s not real. It has a suitably long name that sounds medicinal. But it doesn’t work — a placebo to calm the easily fooled.
And I can only purchase a certain number of these magical pills. The state tracks how much Sudafed you purchase and apparently knocks down your door if you go overboard. This became an issue one time when everyone in my household came down with the sinus funk at about the same time. I wandered in to the pharmacy counter one afternoon only to learn that my Sudafed account was overdrawn.
Right now, I have a cold and a fistful of the life-giving chemicals that will help put things right. All is good for now.
But I know that some twerp is plotting in a basement someplace, a copy of the “Anarchists Cookbook” close by, trying to turn some useful household item that thousands love and depend on into something illegal.
I have only one thing to say to that twerp: See what you can do with flavored coffees.