Tylenol And The Collapse Of The America I Once Knew

We have been told by our experts in these matters that we are an interconnected electronic global village…whatever happens here impacts there, and conversely… I have nothing but a furious belief in their somewhat melodramatic pronouncement…but right now I’m pondering why the damnedest littlest things from one event can so perfectly mess up an entire life of events from then on.

I’m talking of course about Tylenol…!

That first-of-it-kind scare some years ago when some obsessive-compulsive migraine sufferer decided to slip a wisp of poison into his local drug store Tylenol, sitting there perfectly perky in their benign little red bottles.

Here’s the McLuhan question: How did that one isolated bit of pathology turn into today’s nationwide pathology for locking, sealing, and damn-sure securing absolute supermarket safety at all costs? I leave that cosmic inquiry for others more cosmic-minded, but I do have this much to say. That pill pathology for security fits precisely today’s terrorist pathology for anyone with a beard or a Burka.

Airport scanning and NSA tapping may be defended. But why in the name of every Walgreen and Jewel store in my world must I return home with pill bottle I can’t pry open? medicine packets that call for a hunting knife to unseal? cereal boxes wrapped in scientifically unbreakable something-or-other plastic? even my Italian red wines now thrice-dressed in steel meshing?

Look, I’m as much for safety and security as the next paranoid! But I beg for the days when I could get to what I brought home from the store without pliers and goggles!

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