Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Other Shoe?!

I got another one. Seriously. I got this one from a group calling itself the “Union of Concerned Pharmacists.” Can you believe there’s a Union of Concerned Pharmacists? What are they concerned about? Aspirin?

Dear Mr. Kaygil: [sic]

 I represent the Union of Concerned Pharmacists ("Pharmacists"). My client has informed me that you have a web site,, that sets forth false, derogatory and defamatory statements concerning Pharmacists and the practice of Pharmacy in general. Demand is hereby made that you immediately cease making any false and defamatory statements regarding Pharmacists, Pharmacy, Drugstores, and Chia Pets on the web site referenced above, on any other web site or any other medium. In the event that you fail to do so, my client will have no other alternative but to file an action against you for injunctive relief and/or damages. I urge you to give this matter your serious attention as these defamatory statements relate to Pharmacists' business and are defamatory per se.

The false claims you make are as follows:

Pharmacists don’t adequately state the practice of adding flavorings to medicine. Proper signage for all pharmacy practices are carefully posted on counters in full view of customers as per state law. Those signs are then covered with boxes of “impulse buy” items such as pill cases, collapsible reading glasses, wrinkle cream, etc. The failure of customers to read those signs is not the fault of the pharmacist, but the customers who don’t take the time and effort to rearrange items on the counters to find and read those signs.

Pharmacists are vampires. While pharmacists work with and frequently enjoy using blood and blood-like substances in their jobs, our Best Practices whitepaper (last published in June of 2008) strongly cautions against ingestion. In addition, pharmacists are forbidden by law from drinking the blood of customers.

Pharmacists torture animals. Your remarks are patently offensive. Many pharmacists are pet lovers and owners. In fact, only 30% of pets owned by pharmacists are brought to veterinarians to be treated for cult-related injuries.

[Blah blah blah. It goes on for THREE PAGES.]

So Peter (my lawyer) is going to get a lot of work from me this year. Although, I’m beginning to think he’s writing all these letters himself to drum up business. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad business model.

Hmmm.  Where was I?

If I had known joining Technorati was going to get me this kind of attention, I might not have joined in the first place. Ah well, I doubt they can really do me any harm. I’ll write a letter back and let you all know if anything comes of it.

It’s not like they can do anything to hurt me, right? It’s not like they can drug me or anything.

Oh, right.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Monster Song

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. -Beethoven
Our soul is composed of harmony. –DaVinci
No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music. –Billy Joel

The two musicians and one artist/inventor/musician I quote above have one thing in common: none of them have heard their son sing the third verse of The Twelve Days of Christmas repeatedly during a two-hour car ride. I have. I’ve also heard the theme from Pokemon season 3 sung nonstop for an hour and a half and the chorus of Elmo’s Song sung off key from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Music is a form of torture not covered under the Geneva Convention. When our government was trying to extract information from alleged terrorists, they tried waterboarding, hypothermia, extreme confinement, starvation, dehydration, and throwing them repeatedly into a plywood wall. Nothing worked, until they started playing the soundtrack to Barney and Friends.

Music is a constant war between yourself and your children. Children sing a lot. They sing at dinner. They sing in the car. They sing at bedtime. They sing until you’re ready to rip your own nervous system out through your nose. Sadly, that’s the only solution to the problem. None of the normal methods of punishment (shouting, time outs, threatening to buy all their clothes off eBay) can be used because in the United States we consider music to be something akin to religious freedom. If you stop a child from singing, you will be labeled a bad parent for life.

Accept the fact that there is nothing you can do to stop your children from singing. Or is there?

I have stumbled upon a subtle method for curtailing my children’s singing: the Monster Song. Whenever my children start singing Jolly Old Saint Nicholas or whatever blood-curdling song they’ve learned in school, I start singing this:

The monsters, they’re going to eat the boys.
They’ll eat them up and then they’ll play with their toys.
They’ll chew them up, they’ll spit them out,
and then they’ll fix their tile with grout.
The monsters, they’re going to eat the boys!

I only have boys, but I composed the following ditty for those of you whose children have that pesky “extra X chromosome.”

The monsters, they’re going to eat the girls.
They hate the fact their hair is filled with curls.
They’ll chew them up, they’ll eat and crunch, because that’s what they do for lunch.
The monsters, they’re going to eat the girls.

So, next time your children start singing something painful, sing the above song in a creaky-grumbly voice. If your kids complain (and if they don’t, you’re doing it wrong) just tell them that they can sing anything they want and you can sing anything you want. That’s the rule, but if they stop singing, you’ll stop singing.

Then enjoy your peace. Or, if I may quote one more time:

Music is easiest to enjoy when it's too quiet to hear. -Matthew Kagle

Friday, January 15, 2010

Caring for a Sick Child, Part 3: Emergency

Now you’ve begun treatment for your hypothetical child’s hypothetical infection. However, it takes a day or two before the antibiotics kick in. What would you do if, during that brief window, your child woke up screaming in pain and clutching his eyes? Hypothetically. Totally hypothetically. If you’re hypothetically unsure, follow these hypothetical instructions to solve the hypothetical problem:

  1. Go to the appropriate medical facility.
    • Since it’s the middle of the night, drive to the clinic’s urgent care entrance.
    • Find out from the security guard that urgent care closed half an hour earlier.
    • Drive to the hospital you passed on the way to urgent care.
    • Notice your child has stopped screaming.
    • Suggest to wife that child’s eye pain might have subsided and suggest you all go home.
  2. Check in to emergency room.
    • Fill out forms.
    • Entertain child for one hour with various magazines.
    • Follow nurse to exam room to wait for doctor.
    • Entertain child for one hour with various medical devices.
    • Greet doctor and watch her examine your child for three minutes.
    • Entertain child for one hour with keys.
    • Get new prescription
    • Check out of hospital.
  3. Go to pharmacy.
    • Go to new pharmacy.
    • Wait one hour for pharmacists to find the bottle marked “eye drops.”
    Important: DON’T SAY ANYTHING.
    • Go home.
    • Administer eye drops.
    • Clean rug.
    • Ask wife to hold child’s arms down while you administer eye drops.
    • Clean couch.
    • Ask mother-in-law to hold child’s legs down while you administer eye drops.
    • Administer eye drops.
    • Clean clothes.
    • Administer alcohol until you pass out.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Caring for a Sick Child, Part 2: Taking your child to a Pharmacy

There was a time when pharmacists were respected members of the community. Pharmacists would work tirelessly: grinding powders, hand-painting pills, blowing glass to make bottles, and writing labels with calligraphy pens. However, back in the 1930s, small stores began to recruit pharmacists straight out of school to sit in the back of their stores as a way of getting more customers. The drug store was born and the old, experienced, helpful pharmacists were gone.

You may be loathe to take your child to a drug store, and with good reason. Consumer watchdogs have long reported of the dangerous effects that Chia Pets and Snuggies can have on small children. However, if follow these simple instructions your visit will be painless. Well, easier. Er, you’ll know what to do.

  1. Enter drug store.
    • Walk to the rear of the store where the pharmacists hide, taking care to remove any crosses, garlic, or wooden stakes from your person.
    • Wait for pharmacist.
    • Ignore screaming of small animal pharmacist is killing for fun.
    • Wait for pharmacist.
    • Cover nose and mouth with handkerchief to protect from smell of human sacrifices.
    • Wait for pharmacist.
  2. Order medicine.
    • When pharmacist finally deigns to arrive, give your name, insurance card information, social security number, HMO number, date of birth, home address, home phone number, zodiac symbol, and shoe size to pharmacist.
    • Wait with child for prescription to be filled.
    • Let child pick up shopping basket as a form of entertainment.
    • Let child grab a box of cold medicine and put it in the basket.
    • Let child grab a toy and put it in the basket.
    • Stop child from grabbing fish hooks.
    • Stop child from grabbing eyeglasses.
    • Stop child from grabbing rat poison, firearms, nuclear warheads, and all the other patently unsafe things that are stocked on the low shelves of a drug store.
    • Take basket from child and return items to shelves while child wanders off towards the cane rack.
    • Take polka-dot walking cane from child and return to rack.
    • Take striped cane from child and return to rack.
    • Take polka-dot walking cane from child and return to rack.
    • Place yourself in front of cane rack and point behind child while screaming “Wow! Look at those choking hazards.”
    • Remark how you don’t understand how taking medicine from a shelf and putting it into a bottle can take so long.
    • Realize the pharmacist heard you.
    • Wait an additional hour.
    • Get bottle.
    • Pay.
  3. Administer medicine.
    • Get in car and begin drive home.
    • Receive text message from wife asking if you asked for a flavor to be mixed into medicine.
    • Text back “NO” while running a red light.
    • Arrive at home and unwrap bottle.
    • Use knife to open child-proof cap.
    • Bandage cut fingers.
    • Find out medicine has the smell of wood glue.
    • Try to fill eyedropper with medicine and realize it has the consistency of wood glue.
    • Put medicine in child’s mouth and find out it has the taste of wood glue.
    • Clean medicine off clothes, chair, floor, table, windows, ceiling, passing aircraft, etc.
    • Realize eyedropper only holds one fourth of required dosage.
    • Call doctor to ask about “down side of lifelong infection.”

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Care for a Sick Child: Part 1

Children don’t just get sick, they come down with horrific illnesses that they spread to everyone around them. Kids are the human equivalent of Petri dishes, if Petri dishes rubbed themselves on contaminated surfaces and then coughed in your face. Children are constantly sick and their parents are constantly sick with/because of them. As a result, parents tend to fit into one of two camps: ignore illnesses until they’re so major your family threatens to call the police or visit the emergency room every time your child sneezes.

If you are of the former camp, the next few postings are for you. Today, I present part 1: Taking Your Child to the Hospital.

Your child is sick and you can no longer ignore the signs. Sure, it started as a little extra gunk in the eyes, but it grew until your kid had to spend the day with both eyes glued shut. You couldn’t wait any longer, so you called the clinic and got the next available appointment (a week from next Wednesday). Now it’s time to take your child to the doctor but you don’t know what to do.

Don’t be nervous! Just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Enter the medical facility.
    • Drag your child away from the water fountain.
    • Drag your child away from the fragile glass sculpture.
  2. Go to the pediatrics department.
    • Show your child the toy train in the glass case.
    • Help child find button to make the train work.
    • Explain to child that the train fell off the track, but that he or she should keep pushing the button while you stand in line.
  3. Check in.
    • Go to the end of the check-in line.
    • Notice your child throwing magazines out of the rack.
    • Run to put magazines in rack.
    • Go to the end of the check-in line.
    • Notice your child has wandered away from “pediatrics” and is headed toward a department that looks suspiciously like “pedophiles.” Return with child.
    • Go back to the end of the check-in line.
    • Repeat until your child is distracted long enough for you to get to the front of the line.
    • Check in with assistant.
  4. Wait to be called by nurse.
    • Entertain child with books.
    • Entertain child with toys.
    • Entertain child by encouraging play with other children.
    • Entertain child with whatever daytime television is playing on the monitors.
    • Entertain child with container of snacks.
    • Clean all non-raisin snacks from the ground while resolving never to put the raisins at the bottom of the container again.
    • Go back to check-in line and ask how much longer you have to wait.
    • Find out they had forgotten about you.
    • Ask where the “homicide” department is.
    • Get called by nurse.
  5. Consult with doctor.
    • Place child on plastic reclining scale.
    • Restrain child with both hands while trying to keep him from jumping off scale or screaming.
    • Take child to standing scale.
    • Distract child from thermometer while doctor takes temperature.
    • Distract child from stethoscope while doctor listens to chest.
    • Distract child from light while doctor examines eyes.
    • When doctor offers box of stickers, remove some the child will like best so child won’t infect the entire box. Watch as your child lurches forward and grabs a clump of princess stickers anyway.
    • Put the box back, hoping the doctor hasn’t noticed.
    • Watch your child throw the stickers in the air.
  6. Sneak out of hospital