Monday, April 6, 2009

Tylenol Terrorist...

Is it just me, or does anyone else out there continue to hate and despise the Tylenol Terrorist from 1982?

I don't really carry that kind of information around in my head; I had to look up the year.

But I remember the scare that occurred when seven people died (yeah, I looked that part up too) after taking Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide.

Up until that time, one could simply buy a jar of pickles at the supermarket (which we don't call a supermarket around here, we call it a grocery store and I don't know why I typed that), bring it home, and open it up. The only warning on the label was to return it to the store if the depression in the center of the lid didn't pop up, which meant the canning seal was broken.

Suddenly, though, following the mysterious deaths eventually attributed to tainted Tylenol, packages all over the world were different.

To open a bottle of ketchup or salad dressing, for example, one must remove the plastic covering on the outside, unscrew the cap, search every one of the kitchen drawers for an ice pick, and try to break the foil seal covering the opening without stabbing one or more of your own fingers. Then replace the cap and hope you didn't mix your own blood with the ketchup or salad dressing.

Woe be unto the unsuspecting fool who thinks that removing the plastic from the outside of the bottle is enough. You can squeeze that bottle to the point of a major hernia, but ain't no ketchup coming out until you remove that foil thingie.

And peanut butter. Until the recent salmonella outbreak, it was assumed that the foil seal was necessary to prevent toxins from being placed in the peanut butter after production. Little did we know that the villain was within the peanut processing plant itself. So in theory, the foil seal actually kept the contaminants IN the peanut butter.

Naturally, Tylenol, vitamins, and other pills are almost impossible.

There's the plastic covering on the outside of the box, almost impossible to find a place to tear it. Then the box, then the bottle, which may or may not have an additional plastic ring around it, the cap which must have its arrows aligned perfectly while you squeeze the sides of the bottle and hold it pointed toward 37 degrees north longitude, and after you get the top off, the real fun begins. Unless you happen to have a supply of crochet hooks, getting that cotton ball out of the bottle can require one act of Congress, one of God, and some old-fashioned luck.

I do have to admit, though, that the situation did provide some dinner table humor at our house a couple of months ago.

Hubby was trying to open a jar of pickles one night. He strained and strained, muscles bulging and his face turning red. I think a vein on top of his little bald head may have stuck out for a moment or two. There was just no opening those pickles. I said, "You want me to open those?"

"Sure, smartass," he said, handing me the jar of pickles.

And that's when I removed the clear cellophane ring around the seal.

He was NOT amused.

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