Cough, Cough

February 1, 2002

When I was a kid cough medicines came in just one flavor: licorice and arsenic. Cough drops were still a new thing at the time, since the synthetic plastic and mint compound (known as "mucolyptus") had, only a few years before, fallen to Earth in a meteorite that landed in the alley behind a drugstore dumpster. Now, oddly enough, cough medicines come in all sorts of flavors. When I was a kid, being sick and staying home from school was a joy that was ameliorated slightly by having to take dark brown liquid from a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it.

Now kids have all the benefits of not only being able to stay home from school, but they can take their pick from cough medicines with flavors like bubble gum, grape, cherry, buttered toast, toffee, baloney, and vichyssoise. Even cough drops come in a variety of flavors. I remember when cough drops came only in mint flavor and were the color of solidified airplane model glue. Now the artificially flavored ones look so much like gemstones I don’t know whether to eat them our wear them, and there’s a whole line of "natural" cough drops supposedly made by Swiss sheepherders who are hoarse because they spend all their time yelling at each other from mountain peaks. These natural cough drops come in flavors like lemon (lemons are very common in the Swiss Alps), honey, honey and lemon, lemon and honey, and honey-lemon-and turmeric. Basically they all taste like mucolyptus.

But I digress. Looking at kids’ cough medicines, it’s a wonder they don’t try to get sick on purpose just so they can take cough medicine. Cough medicine abuse could in fact become the next big drug problem–at least until the kids grow up. We adults still have horrible tasting cough medicines. Back in the good old days they were made from a combination of vodka, molasses, and morphine, but now scientists have created a substance that tastes exactly like that concoction with none of the benefits of the resulting coma. And the worst part is they’re divided into fifteen different types based on the type of cough you have. Here are some of the questions you have to answer before you can decide which cough medicine is the one that will stop you from coughing for fifteen minutes: Do you have a dry cough or a wet cough? I haven’t felt my lungs lately, but I have a feeling anything that comes out of them is going to be wet. But why should I take dry cough medicine if I have a dry cough? Maybe I have the kind of cough that responds to reverse psychology. Maybe I could trick my cough by taking wet cough medicine. Here’s my favorite question, though: Do you have a productive cough? Yes. My cough is so productive, I stayed home and it went to the office for me. Yeah. If I had a cough like that I wouldn’t be taking cough medicine–I’d be trying to stay sick.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise" –Unknown

"Some days you’re the dog; some days you’re the hydrant." –Unknown

"Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot about puppies." –Gene Hill

"In dog years, I’m dead." –Unknown

"To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs." –Aldous Huxley

"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down." –Robert Benchley

"Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that’s how dogs spend their lives." –Sue Murphy

"I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven’t got the guts to bite people themselves." –August Strindberg

"No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation." — Fran Lebowitz

"Ever consider what they must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul–chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!"–Anne Tyler

"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." –Rita Rudner

"My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That’s almost $7.00 in dog money." –Joe Weinstein

"If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons."–James Thurber

"You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets." –Nora Ephron

"Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." –Ann Landers

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." –Robert A. Heinlein

"In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him." –Dereke Bruce, Taipei, Taiwan

"When a man’s best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem." –Edward Abbey

"Cat’s motto: No matter what you’ve done wrong, always try to make it look like the dog did it." –Unknown

"Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail." –Unknown

"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does." –Christopher Morley

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." –Josh Billings

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person." –Andrew A. Rooney

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. Picking up after him is a small price for such devotion." –Unknown

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man." –Mark Twain

"Things that upset a terrier may pass virtually unnoticed by a Great Dane." –Smiley Blanton

"I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." –John Steinbeck

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