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[personal] An odd thing just happened - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-02-05 21:01
Subject: [personal] An odd thing just happened
Security: Public
Tags:health, personal, weird
I'm not paranoid, in either the casual or the clinical sense of that term, but something odd just happened. I take a baby aspirin tablet every night for heart health. Threw out the empty bottle yesterday, set the new bottle out with the fish oil capsules and the Lovastatin. (It's an exciting life I lead.) Tonight, opening the new bottle, I found the safety seal had been torn off.

I had to think hard about whether I'd opened it last night and simply forgotten. But the cotton wadding was in there, pulled aside as if the pills had been fished out. And that is not my habit. I always get rid of that stuff.

I threw the bottle away, but now I'm wondering if I should dig it out and try to remember which of three possible stores I bought it at, and contact them. Throwing it out seems cautious and mildly paranoid. Calling people up seems a lot more paranoid.

Especially since it's still possible that I did open it yesterday and simply didn't do my usual thing with the cotton. I have that kind of memory — I'll forget I performed small, routine actions quite literally as I'm performing them. I'm the kind of person who sometimes has to check the stove three times.

I'm old enough to remember the Tylenol killings. I'm sad that I have to think of that sort of thing now.

Originally published at jlake.com.

Post A Comment | 18 Comments | | Link

Kelly Green
User: saycestsay
Date: 2009-02-06 05:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Glad you tossed it.

Hey, where would you normally throw the foil/plastic seals? Can you check your garbage for them? It might help with peace of mind.
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A large duck
User: burger_eater
Date: 2009-02-06 05:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fish it out of the trash, says me. You might save someone's life. Probably not, but still, better to be too safe than shrug it off and regret it.
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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2009-02-06 05:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'd say you should maybe try and work out where you got it. Certainly the last thing you should do is take a tablet.

It's entirely you took one and didn't do your habitual removing-of-cotton thing, but think of it this way: if you were running on automatic and thus forgot about taking one, isn't it more likely that you would've done your usual habit-trained thing rather than something anomalous like this?
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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2009-02-06 05:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"It's entirely possible..."
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Sargent: scifi
User: sargent
Date: 2009-02-06 05:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Those would be the Tylenol killings where they never caught the perpetrators, yes? It is sad that you have to factor that into your thinking, but taking that as a given: I agree with the others. Notify the store where you purchased your drugs.
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Twilight: Daria
User: twilight2000
Date: 2009-02-06 06:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I remember those too -- and I'd take the bottle back to the store - better to be overly paranoid than have to think "i wish I had..."
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User: todd_vandy
Date: 2009-02-06 08:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Someone had a headache in the store, fished out two tablets, and set it back on the shelf.

Or a Borgesian madman is on the loose. Not a serial killer mind you, but someone who sneaks into sf writers' homes and fiddles with tamper resistant bottles to prove that resistance is futile.
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User: willyumtx
Date: 2009-02-06 14:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

And I would take it back to the store for a refund and to explain to them what you think happened (it was opened before you bought it). Just in case.
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Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.: curious
User: slithytove
Date: 2009-02-06 09:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For what it's worth, similar things happen to me sometimes, and I generally chuck the item. I tell myself that I'm being paranoid, that I probably just opened it and forgot about it -- but I still chuck it.
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User: autopope
Date: 2009-02-06 10:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fish it out and put it in a baggie. Then stash it somewhere.

If it subsequently turns out that Tylenol Killer 2.0 is on the rampage, you'll be able to give the bottle direct to the police investigators.

But if you take it to a store their likely reaction -- in the absence of a known problem -- will be to assume you forgot you opened it yourself. (which is a lot commoner than mad poisoners.) And they're likely to put it somewhere and forget about it, or to toss it themselves, or for someone to come into the dispensary or office who doesn't know what it is and tosses it, or ... any number of ways for it to get lost.

You're less likely to lose it than someone who receives it at second-hand.

Edited at 2009-02-06 10:12 am (UTC)
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Lawrence M. Schoen
User: klingonguy
Date: 2009-02-06 13:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fish it out, return it to the store, and then go back home and write the story about what really happens over the next six month period.
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JoAnn Cox
User: unnamed_horror
Date: 2009-02-06 15:10 (UTC)
Subject: Tylenol tampering back in the news
Funny that your post coincides with the day the Boston Globe had this story -- it was all over the news in Boston:

I am also old enough to remember the scare -- our teachers even talked about in the classroom, trying to warn us without trying to frighten us.
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Matt Ruff: Bad Monkeys
User: matt_ruff
Date: 2009-02-06 15:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Bad Monkeys
A person I once knew who claimed to have knowledge of the spy trade said that a standard trick, if you wanted to mess with the head of someone whose house you'd broken into, was to replace the cotton in the aspirin bottles. The subject finds the cotton, and they know it shouldn't be there, but because nobody retains specific memories of discarding packaging, they get stuck in a paranoid loop: I always throw out the cotton. But maybe this time I forgot. But I always throw out the cotton...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-02-06 15:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow. That's cool.

Which reminds me of a story I heard years ago, friend-of-a-friend, about a guy who'd come back from Vietnam and gone into business as a freelance 'fixer'. He'd been hired to really mess up a middle-aged businessman who was sleeping with the client's teen-aged daughter. Not to kill him, just to mess up his life.

The fixer cased the target for a while, realized the guy was an ex-smoker who had the habit of popping a stick of gum every time he got in his Porsche and drove off. The fixer got a pack of the same brand, laced about six tabs of acid into each stick, rewrapped them, broke into the target's car and replaced the existing gum sticks with the same number of acid-laced gum sticks.

Target gets in, pops a stick, drives off, trips out bad, wrecks his car half an hour later and tests big positive for drug use.

Looking glass warfare indeed.
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User: irismoonlight
Date: 2009-02-06 17:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
er eek? Wow. That's a hell of a story.

I'm with those who supported your going with your instincts. Much better safe than sorry.
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User: karenjunker
Date: 2009-02-06 20:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, I always keep all my receipts, so I'd be able to figure out the store and then I'd go there with all the packaging and let them know the bottle was already opened. That's just what I'd do...
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Mister Eclectic: Sgt. Redbeard
User: howeird
Date: 2009-02-07 00:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Sgt. Redbeard
Since you can't remember what store you bought it from, just dump those aspirin in the toilet and buy a new bottle.

As you recall, the Tylenol killings completely effed up the pharmacy business for months, and you really don't want to start up that mess again unless you're certain.
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farmgirl1146: CoCo up a pole
User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2009-02-07 00:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:CoCo up a pole
I STRONGLY support those who say return it to the store. The Tylenol killings are back in the news. In Seattle, there was a copy cat who I think was caught and went to jail, and a copy cat suicide. People are nuts. At my house, all I have to do is dig through my wallet or the garbage for the receipt. It will be listed on there.

Also, you might ask the police what you should do. Sometimes stores cover up problems.
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