The worst thing about being sick is this:


I have a chest cold, one of those that manifests three nights ago as a little tickle in the back of your throat and overnight turns into wheezing and coughing like I’ve just run the Dust Bowl Marathon. It’s not the kind of sick I can deal with easily, either. I have chronic migraines, and while those constitute their own little circle of hell, at least I know how to cope with them: avoid bright lights and loud noises, lie down if I can, and meds, meds, meds. I’m a big believer in the pharmaceutical industry. Their marketing may be unconscionable, but anything that helped in the invention of Demerol gets the benefit of the doubt from me.

But like I said, Tylenol…

When did everything OTC suddenly have to have a flavor? Who even wanted it to? I’m of the ’70s generation, when NyQuil was only available in “green death flavor” (with apologies to Denis Leary), when a pill that rendered you unconscious for the entire allergy season was accepted and loved, when parents everywhere looked at any scrape or cut that didn’t go all the way through the body as a put-a-Band-Aid-on-it opportunity. It was medicine’s job to  taste disgusting if you let it sit in your mouth more than the two seconds required to raise the glass to your lips. The only flavored medicine I remember from my childhood was Robitussin, available in Cherry Unconsciousness. It clung to your lips for hours after you swallowed it, like the poison from Snow White’s apple.

Tylenol, that old warhorse, has apparently discovered everyone’s inner child and now makes their OTC cold/cough/allergy remedies “available in new Cool Burst flavor.”


I didn’t think anything of this ’til I popped a couple of these in my mouth and was rewarded with the pitiful shadow of mint, like water in which a cheap after-dinner mint dissolved sometime last Tuesday. It was foul and vile and completely took my mind off my coughing and wheezing for as long as it took me to dig a Luden’s Throat Drop (now there’s cherry flavor for you!) out of the junk drawer and pop it into my mouth. Cool Burst, my ass; more like watered-down nausea.

I just wonder who came up with this and why. Am I the last to know it’s become fashionable to let plain old Tylenol-flavored Tylenol dissolve in your mouth now, like some kind of hazing ritual? Was there a great backlash against plain Tylenol from the Mint Growers of America? Had licking tablets of acetaminophen suddenly replaced licking toads as sport among the oxycontin-for-fun set?

I don’t know what prompted the question, but Cool Burst Tylenol isn’t the answer. Except it is — it’s the only way Tylenol specialties come now, Cool Burst or nothing. I’m reminded of an inventive vampire novel I read recently, in which vampires had become the world’s majority population and old useless items like boxes of cereal and bottles of aspirin were hot collectors’ items on eBay.

Where, come to think of it, I haven’t yet looked for plain old Tylenol, but it doesn’t seem like a bad place to start.


11 Responses to “Tylenolicious”

  1. I loved this one! I don’t use Tylenol. I’m of the Excedrin persuasion but I have seen so many of our old stand by meds enter the gimmick world of flavoring and colored coatings. Yuck. Just pop the pill in your mouth, swallow, and forget it already!

    BTW, try the deep discount stores for unflavored Tylenol. Stores like the Dollar Tree or Big Lots. They buy out the old stuff when it’s replaced with new packaging or new flavoring. Chances are you can find it there.

    Feel better!

  2. Wanda Rizzuto Says:

    When I was little (like, preschool age) my mom made me and my brother take this medicine called Silence is Golden. It tasted like honey-flavored vomit. It tasted so bad that I can still taste it 35 years later.

    Try gelcaps. They don’t taste like anything and they have the same effect. If I could meet the guy who invented NyQuil gelcaps I’d give him a big wet kiss.

  3. Nothing works better than tea with lemon, brown sugar, and as much scotch as you can fit in the cup.

    I was delighted to discover, the last time I was hacking up a lung, that you can get the active ingredient of cough syrups (guaifenesin) in a tablet. No nasty tasting anything, and then you can supplement with decongestants and your analgesic of choice, rather than being stuck with a multi-symptom formula that tastes like ass and won’t work anyway.

  4. Oh, my poor dahling.

    Nyquil LiquiGels are the fucking bomb, FYI. Daytime (orange!), Nighttime (green!), it hardly matters. Good shizzle.

  5. I’m with Jackie. I’m unable to take such wonderful elixir as Nyquil LiquiGels because I need to be functional for the kids, since you have no such problem. The cats and John can take care of themselves for the most part.

  6. eclecticheretic Says:

    Yes, that’s what was missing in medicine, deliciousness. Liver fatigue? No worries. We have
    bubble gum flavored liquid Benadryl. That’s the stuff.

  7. My God, I’ve finally acquired a group of friends who are as pharmaceutically well versed as I am. I’m home! I’m home!

  8. Vicodin… sweet sweet vicodin.

  9. Oh, don’t even get me started! If I had a Demerol every day, I’d be such a nice person none of you would recognize me.

  10. Kris — yes, I knew it was you. 🙂 I have you in my blogroll, but under a somewhat creative designation, as is occasionally my whimsical way.

  11. Makes me wish Willy Wonka was on the job – wasn’t there a candy that was an entire meal – think about it – chicken soup followed by a nice cool cup of jello. Everything a sick soul could want.

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