Gurney's Inn
November 15, 2006

Jerry's Ink


I guess those of you who have been reading this column noticed years ago.

I'm talking about my hidden powers. You know, the famous Della Femina curse.

I hint about it when I write my annual column about those people I know who insist on getting married in New York City on a summer holiday weekend.

The marriages always fail. One day the happy couple is all dewy-eyed and holding hands, oblivious to the fact that they ruined a precious summer weekend for me and a couple of hundred people. The next day she starts to look at him as he sleeps and fantasizes about putting a pillow over his snoring, ugly face.

A year or so later the newlywed's parents tell me the couple has some "problems" and they've decided to separate. I'm sympathetic but I think to myself, "The curse worked; if they had gotten married off-season they would still be together."

Take the music industry. For years they went along selling us records and tapes and then one day some paranoid schmuck decided the best way to keep people from stealing music CDs from the store was to put a plastic shrink wrap around the whole case. They are impossible to open even when you get them home. I remember in 1995 trying to get to a wonderful Diana Krall CD called Only Trust Your Heart and almost putting a knifepoint into my palm trying to cut the plastic wrap off. I tried to smash through the case with a hammer and wound up ruining the disc.

Then one day I walked into a record store and they were selling little razor gizmos for two bucks so that you could cut through the tightly wrapped plastic and get to your music. The bastards knew all along how difficult it was to get that plastic wrap off. The wrap wasn't just put on. It felt like it was painted on. That's when I lost it and put on the Della Femina curse.

I remember thinking, "I hope somebody invents a way that we can buy music from the Internet so that we never have to walk into a music store again." I remember thinking, "Wouldn't it be neat if Apple had an on-line store and I could play the music through a little box and millions of us can walk the streets listening to loud music with little, white earphones sticking in our ears while paying absolutely no attention to traffic?" The rest is history. Steve Jobs must have heard my curse and invented iTunes and the iPod. No one has walked into a record store since.

Well I have a new curse. I'm putting it on the president of a company that makes Imodium, an anti-diarrhea product. The product, when you can get to it, works fine. The problem is these fiends have put it in a blister pack that makes it impossible to reach.

I was sick a week ago and my stomach was bad . . . really bad. I couldn't hold anything in me. I had the sphincter control of a Canadian goose. I couldn't even get to the store to buy Imodium — I had to have it delivered. I limped to the door, grabbed my box of Imodium from the delivery boy and with trembling hands and shaky, wobbling legs raced back to the bathroom. Then I opened the box and there was this hard, silver sheet that I suspect is made of steel and a clear, hard plastic cover so that you can see the friggin pills but you can't get to them.

They actually have a little picture on the back that says "Easy To Open," and instructs you how to open each individual packet. It says fold and pull. Well the minute I would fold this little tab it would break off in my hand. Pull? Pull what? I swear it was impossible to get to the little, white pills. I got so desperate I thought of swallowing the packet — plastic sections, silver foil and all.

Hours later, with the 18 little plastic tabs ripped off on the floor around me, with the little white Imodium pills staring at me, taunting me from behind their impregnable blister pack shield, I crawled to another room, reached for a pair of scissors and cut away, freeing the pills. The instructions called for taking one pill. I took 3.

I must say the stuff works like cement and I don't believe I've used the facilities since, and that was a week ago. But now the curse. I don't want the president of the Imodium company to die. I just want him to get a stomach flu that will be the equivalent and have the explosive power of having ingested a vat of Milk of Magnesia or some other harsh laxative. I want him to be surrounded by a ton of his own blister packed product and I want him to try to get the relief of one single pill while trying to get to his own friggin product open. And then I want him to remember the words that the president of an anti-diarrhea product should live by: "What goes around comes around."

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