The Matron has a dear friend (a wee bit older and more ribald, but they stand toe to toe in their appreciation of the male body) who knows his way around chemicals.
Fourteen years ago, when the Matron was still a Youngish Miss, she was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Girlfriend, she could not be two minutes from a bathroom! Now, Youngish Miss was deep in the black hole of graduate school and also gearing up for her wedding, which meant understanding the food chain that is her husband's family -- there are 75 first cousins and she's not kidding.
Yes, they're Catholic.
So was/is (it's in her DNA) the Matron so she gets to make that remark.
Youngish Miss's doctor gave her this very fine, fabulous, miracle pill for her IBS. God, how she loved those pills. Youngish Miss took the FULL DOSAGE, every single day. This pill made the sun shine and birds sing. Colors were brighter, strawberries didn't just taste good but burst onto her tongue, and the gods smiled. The IBS didn't just disappear: a new, tranquil spirit possessed the previously high strung Youngish Miss. Stuck in traffic? Why, that's just the right time to listen to the radio and hum along! She was that sanguine.
So the Youngish Miss had lunch with her chemically savy friend.
Youngish Miss: "Oh my God. I love these pills for my IBS. The problem is totally gone! I feel great! They're amazing. All of my problems are gone, poof!"
Friend: "What are you taking?"
Youngish Miss (first looks in her purse because she is that stupid and cannot be one second away from the next hit): "Uh. . . . some kind of stomach relaxer or bowel suppressor. . . let's see, I'm sure it works on the muscles . . Phenobarbital. It says I can take up to four a day. I do. Religiously."
Friend (gripping table): "Mary! You idiot! That's no muscle relaxant! That's a barbiturate. It's the housewife drug of the sixties. You're drugged. Sedated! No doubt, Sylvia Plath found it highly effective. You're an addict. Stop taking that pill, right now!"
Youngish Miss: "Oh that's horrible! I will miss them soooo!!" And she did.
But she tossed them out, found another doctor and tried yoga. It worked. Her friend? He volunteered to take her leftover Phenobarbital. Years later, after one of the Matron's dental surgeries left her with a steady supply of Vicodin, he offered to take those off her hands, as well.
The Matron struggled to quit smoking for many years. Finally, she knocked that monkey off her back, but only with the help of nicorette gum, which she chewed for THREE YEARS! She will never forget offering her whiskey-swilling, pill-popping, irreverent friend a piece of Nicorette gum, her personal junk, the goods she needed nearly every hour. Want some?
Friend: "Darling. Even I have my limits."
Happy anniversary, Camel Lights. Forever the addict, she misses you.