Like many others, I keep my medicine cabinet very simple, highly organized, alphabetized and cross-referenced with the complete works of Shakespeare.

In fact, I have absolutely no idea what’s inside my medicine cabinet. So, as part of my continuing effort to avoid fruitful work at home, I decided to look. This is what I found:

Top shelf

An inhaler of some sort that said, on the back, “Operation of this inhaler is so extraordinarily complex you will have to score at least 780 on the verbal part of the SAT to even be allowed to try. Keep tightly closed when not in use and never use without enclosed patient information and instruction sheet.”

No patient information and instruction sheet was enclosed.

The world’s largest single lozenge, formed through millennia by tectonic plates and the congealing on many thousands of little lozenges, some of which are now on the endangered species list.

Iodine, because every medicine cabinet has iodine even though there are no records that iodine has ever been used for anything.

Middle shelf

An over-the-counter medication that is either good for bringing up coughs and relieving congestion or relieving coughs and bringing up congestion. I believe we have kept it all these years because it is the only expectorant we know that spells phlegm correctly. Also we like saying expectorant, even if we don’t know what that means.

Three prescription bottles that expired during President Eisenhower’s first inauguration. Two of them still have pills inside, although they may be the pills from the two bottles that are empty.

Two prescription bottles that specifically say do not store me in a hot and steamy medicine cabinet just a couple of feet away from the shower.

Children’s allergy medicines although the children who used them are now in their 30s and are stuffing their own medicine cabinets with stuff they don’t need.

Four tubes of creams that are either for extreme back pain or that you use to give yourself extreme back pain to take your mind off the paper cut on your pinky finger.

Bottom shelf

Band-Aids, with assorted sizes ranging from the enormous to the teeny, but never including any that you really need, particularly the one that you want to put on your fingertip when you cut your pinky finger while slicing a bagel.

Gauze, surgical tape, compresses, wraps, splints, tourniquets, antiseptics and hydrogen peroxide, just in case we have to perform major surgery.

A pill cutter that may also be a bagel cutter.

A bagel cutter that may also be a pill cutter.

The instruction sheet for a digital thermometer without the digital thermometer, but without directions or clues on where to find the digital thermometer

Three forehead instant-read thermometers that never worked but that we kept as souvenirs of the time we all had fevers of 116.

A jar of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly unearthed during archeological excavations that definitively proved ancient Egyptians also didn’t know what to use it for but thought it was good to have around.

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