recreational analgesic abuse


While we were biking on the beach yesterday, I told Tessa that Sean and I used to sabotage each other’s bike rides by coming up from behind and hitting the back tire of the bike in front of us with our own front tire. After a few months of this, we discovered something: almost always, the guy in back was the one who ended up crashing. So – I confidently assured Tessa – if she was ever thinking about doing it, suffice to say the research had been done, over twenty years ago, and it just doesn’t work.

There are plenty of things you do as kids that you would never dream of doing as an adult, but the upshot is that a lot of pretty decent research gets accomplished. How else would you know that an egg explodes in the microwave? That’s just something you don’t do when you’re 36.

However, I had an experience today that I reprint here in the interests of science. Namely, I had three giant extra-strength Excedrin caplets go directly into my lung.


I get these headaches that only three Excedrins can manage, so I popped some while driving down Abbot Kinney Road in Venice Beach. Some pedestrians walked out onto the road, so I braked, and in doing so, sent the white capsules into my bronchioles. Unable to breathe except for a tiny passageway of wheezing, I pulled over, and gave the “choking sign” to a driver who was pulling out of a restaurant.

He basically looked at me and told me to fuck off. I’m using this blog, right now, to send him really, really bad karma. Thank god another woman, a pedestrian, came over to me and gave me a small Heimlich and basically talked me down. I was wheezing mucous, in a cold sweat, and she calmly explained that the pills were beginning to break up, and that the passageway would clear gradually. I managed to croak out “are you a doctor?” She said, “I’m studying to be one.” I never got her name, but I’m sending her much love and yes, good karma.

Here’s where the science comes in, just in case any of you were thinking “what happens when you snort three Excedrins at the same time?” First off, the caffeine in three of those pills is equivalent to two or three big shots of espresso squirted directly into your brain. It’s not far from the sensation cocaine might give you: agitation, dizziness, feelings of euphoria mixed with paranoia, and road rage.

I drove to Arcadia and played one of the best basketball games of my career, nearly got into a fight with a missionary at the church, and now I lie awake in bed at 2:10am writing this blog with explosions of horrible spelling.

So that’s what happens. Just so you know.

11 thoughts on “recreational analgesic abuse

  1. rhonda

    This story reminded me of my own bicycle incident that falls under the category of things I would never do now. As a child I was pathetically “good”, very timid and even if I had an opinion chances are i’d not share it. In 1977 my family moved from MA to OR, and we ended up moving into a house a couple doors down and across the street from my cousins. A great couple years in that all of a sudden I had three cousins all within a fairly close age range of myself and my sister. Well as kids do, while we had a lot of fun we would also disagree and argue. My cousin scott was five years older than me and would occasionally like to tourture us as he was the only boy and the eldest of us kids. One day he comes over and decides he is going to take my new ten speed bike for a test run. He didn’t ask me first and at 12 I was pissed that he’d think he could just ride off into the sunset on my new bike. I was standing on the front law yelling at him to stop and return my bike and he of course was laughing at me. I look down and see a stick lying on the lawn, I pick the stick up and throw it out into the street. Now mind you, I was aiming at him – but in the sports department I’m not exactly the star pitcher. That stick flew out of my hand and into the wheel spokes. The image of scott and my brand new ten speed bike lifting off the ground and doing a mid-air flip will forever be imprinted on my brain. As mentioned above, I was the quiet, good child…I started laughing hysterically. It must have been my inner “don’t screw with me” attitude that was thrilled I’d just bruised scotts ass with the toss of a stick. I look over to his house across the way and my uncle is staring at me. Not much was ever said about the incident. Scott picked himself up off the street and limped the bike over to me. I told him I was sorry, neither of us could believe what had just happened. The what if factor is what haunted me, what if i’d really hurt him?
    Just so you know, after dinner out with the “preschool moms” to discuss summer play groups – I’m up reading at this ungodly hour because the fish I had for dinner decided it was not happy residing with me. Woke me up at 3:15 and left the body. Vomit is just gross.
    Regarding the caffine, I love excederin!

  2. cathie

    i have to disagree that we get over our silly ‘experiments’ as we age – one of our beloved family stories is when, only a few years ago, my dad put a roll of paper towels in the microwave to ‘dry them out’ after dropping them in some water. the resulting fire was something to behold….

  3. Sean

    The only thing I remember thinking was funny when I was a kid that I am horrified about now is that I used to sneeze directly into Michelle’s face, without covering my mouth or anything. If I had to sneeze, I would find Michelle and sneez as explosively as I could. I only stopped late in high school when I did it once and it made her cry.

  4. Sean

    The only thing I remember thinking was funny when I was a kid that I am horrified about now is that I used to sneeze directly into Michelle’s face, without covering my mouth or anything. If I had to sneeze, I would find Michelle and sneez as explosively as I could. I only stopped late in high school when I did it once and it made her cry.

  5. cullen

    Arcadia generally references a happy place if I recall; nothing’s happier than being In The Zone and making good ‘plays’, athletic and dramatic. You must have been pretty hyped up to nearly come to blows with a clean-sweating Mormon missionary. Keep your pre-game snorting from now on to Afrin or a paper-bagged beer or flask of something-something like you might used to detect occasionally in outdoor pick-up games in and around the greater Triangle. Reminds me of watching most of the members of Chapel Hill’s own “Liquid Pleasure” (who could forget them?) use their esprit and ‘spirits’ to help hold court at Umstead Park.
    As for yesterday’s search, I’m reminded of a Jellystone trip to Mammoth Cave, KY that Kristin and I took with my parents some years ago. Amid the group tour’s flashlights and headlamps, the tour guide sequestered questions and in a dingy moment, my mom asked if it stayed dark in the caves all the time.
    My beautiful, then-soon-to-be fiancee followed up with “Has anyone ever asked a dumber question?”
    Then and there while pissing himself, I think my dad lost some trepidation about my marrying a Yankee. My story list for something like this is long and since I’m a day late and
    Sesame Street is over, I’ll save it.

  6. cullen

    Kristin tried a new low-everything recipe for a breaded turkey meatloaf the other night. It was downable, but I took to calling it “BREAT” instead of meat cause it tastes like feet. Sounds like something from the 70s show.
    Ok I’ll stop.

  7. Jennifer

    Two of my adult “experiments” –
    A few years ago, I was volunteering at the local battered women’s shelter. My contribution was to play with the kids to give their mothers much-needed breaks. It was Christmas and I decided we were going to bake cookies and decorate them. I’m awful in the kitchen, but how hard could it be to make the precut Pillsbury cookies in a tin, right? Well, I’m reading the instructions on the can, trying to focus, while the kids are getting the supplies opened and ready. It says something about pulling the cookies apart and putting them on waxed paper. I do that. Then I stick them in the oven. I leave the stove and start chatting up the kids. Next thing I know, a kid pipes up and says, “Miss Jennifer, I think the cookies are burning.” No, no, I reassure him, they’re just baking. A few minutes later, all the kids are pointing at the stove shouting “fire, fire” and I turn around only to see smoke streaming out of the oven. I guess I missed the part about taking the cookies off the wax paper before putting them in the oven and that sucker was a few seconds away from bursting into flames. All I could think about as I’m grabbing the charred remains was “Local woman burns down shelter – no Christmas for the kids.” Go ahead and punch my one-way ticket to hell…
    In other kitchen adventures, I was asked to make brownies for a company picnic. Again I think, okay, Betty Crocker – no problem, I’ll just carefully follow the directions. So on the way home from work, I pick up a box with walnuts and a box without. True to form, I procrastinate and end up making them about 10:00 pm. In the midst of the first batch, I realize I only have olive oil (heart-healthy, you know) – no vegetable oil. It’s too late to head back to the grocery store or call on a neighbor, so I forge ahead hoping that the brownies don’t have a weird Italian aftertaste to them. I move on to the second batch. Now I’m starting to feel a little worried about the olive oil batch. I peer into my cabinets again. Hmm, that can of Pam is vegetable oil…dare I? Oh yes, I do. So I measured out a full cup o’ Pam (we’re spraying…we’re spraying…) and added it to the mix. It worked like a charm, though they were very strange-looking brownies and likely chock full of carcinogens. Amazingly, every single brownie from the olive oil batch AND the Pam batch were devoured by my coworkers. Of course, I waited until the brownies were all gone before saying, “Hey y’all, do I have a funny story for you…” Oddly enough, I was demoted to plates, cups and napkins after that.
    Oh, then there was the time I decided to make an omelet for my husband’s breakfast the morning after our wedding, right before we left on our honeymoon. I had eggs, I had ham, I had milk, I had cheese…and I had the incredibly stupid idea that vanilla and orange extracts (yes, extracts!) might provide an extra special kick. Yeah, it pretty much sucked rocks. But this is why I love this man – with a bottle of ketchup in hand, he ate every single bite.
    Yes, feel free to be shocked and awed by my MacGyver-like existence in the kitchen.

  8. rhonda

    hahaha – oh the things we have said and done, and will continue to do so… as is life. Jennifer, girl you need to get yourself a mormon friend to share all her homemaking skills with you! :)

  9. Jennifer

    A Mormon friend would be good. I’m also considering trading one of my dogs for a Keebler Elf. Or perhaps I could engineer some sort of work release for Martha Stewart.
    The pathetic thing is that I come from a long line of excellent Southern cooks, women who truly thrive in the kitchen.
    Well, I can crochet wash cloths and baby blankets, so at least I’ve got that going for me. ;-)


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