Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Flashback: Flintstones Chewables Do Not Belong in a Pez Dispenser

Many afternoons of my childhood were spent at my friend, Nancy Rominger’s , house, jumping on her trampoline or playing in an old fishing boat that had been permanently dry-docked in her parents’ garage.

One of our favorite games, whether on the trampoline or in the boat, was a game we made up and which we called Jaws, in honor of the movie of that same title.

The game was simple, one of us was the shark and one of us was the poor sucker who was doomed to fall off the boat, right into the gaping jaws of the Great white. Blood-curdling screams and shrieks of faux-pain featured heavily in the game and, even though neither of us had actually seen the movie; we were confident that we had the story down right.

When I was nine or ten, the movie was finally scheduled for network television release and, I was stoked. Not only had I read the book (discovered in a cardboard box at a yard sale, twenty-five cents!) but; I had the game and, despite a love-hate relationship with the rubber bands operating the hinges on the shark’s jaws (things were a bitch to hook on), I was an expert at retrieving objects from the inner most depths of that plastic shark’s belly.

I was a fan of Jaws, is my point.

The show aired on a Saturday which was, coincidentally, my mother’s grocery shopping day. On that particular Saturday, my mother made an unusual purchase; Flintstone’s Vitamins. I had never had Flintstone’s before, actually, I had never taken any type of vitamin supplement before so; I was understandably intrigued by the bottle of tiny cartoon characters and, I ate one.

And then, another.

And, I sorted the characters into piles; Fred here, Wilma there, Pebbles and BamBam together (the way they were meant to be) and Dino off to the side. I counted each pile, I acted out several scenes from the cartoon, using the appropriate characters and, little by little, I consumed the entire bottle of vitamins.

Not being completely stupid, I hid the empty bottle from my mother and went about preparing my space on the living room floor for the showing of Jaws.

Opening credits rolled.

A naked lady entered the surf.

A fin sliced through the inky glass surface of the water.

Dun, dun. Dun, dun, dun, dun….

My meddling sister discovered the empty vitamin bottle and totally narked me off to my mother who flew into a panic, called the doctor and, upon hanging up the phone, informed me that I was, and I quote; GOING TO DIE.

Unless…I threw up the vitamins immediately which, didn’t take a great deal of effort given how freaked out I was about the whole DEATH IS IMMIMNENT thing.

To make a long story short (too late!), I spent the remainder of the evening hunched over the bathroom toilet, spewing psychedelic colored Flintstones’ chum into the abyss.

When my mother was satisfied that I had purged the entire contents of my stomach, if not the entire contents of the vitamin bottle, she calmly informed me that she had lied; I wasn’t likely to die. On the other hand, she said, I had learned a valuable lesson.

And, she was right, in fact, I learned two:

1. Medicine is not to be eaten like candy.

2. Fear is a powerful motivator.

For the record, it would be years before I saw Jaws in it’s’ entirety.

Also, for the record, the smell of Flintstones vitamins makes me nauseous to this very day.

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