Today I freaked my students out by chugging generic DayQuil from the bottle. I’m not sure exactly why they were so shocked by this. Granted, it’s not like I take medicine in their presence very often, but it wasn’t even the idea of me taking meds in front of them that troubled them. It was the fact that I drank straight from the bottle.
At first I thought they were grossed out by this. Sort of the drinking from the communal two litter of soda disgust I get with my husband (even though I know it is fairly irrational as we are married and share plenty o’ germs). I quickly explained to them that I was the only person who’d be drinking out of the bottle. I had gel caps at home in case my husband got sick. That’s when I learned they weren’t worried about germs. What bothered them was the fact that I didn’t know if I was getting the right dosage.
One of my girls exclaimed, “How do you know how much to drink?”
“I drink until I can’t stand the taste of it anymore.”
“What if you get too much?” she worried.
“Well, it’s DayQuil. It’s not like I’m going to overdose. Plus, have you tasted this stuff? I never drink enough to do any real harm.”
I guess when I was there age I was probably very aware of dosages too. As I’ve gotten older and had an increasing number of ailments (and no parents to baby me), I’ve found I just take medicine until I feel better. Sure, I’m smart enough to know I shouldn’t swallow the entire bottle of Advil, no matter how much my head hurts. But I also know that if it’s a particularly bad ache or pain, I can take three or four at once without doing any damage. Come to think of it, at 16 I wouldn’t have taken more than the two the directions prescribe.
It’s funny the things that disturb my kids.They don’t even bat an eye at a pregnant teen walking down our halls, but they freak out while reading “To the Virgins” by Robert Herrick because he’s trying to convince women to give up their virginity. They have no qualms about eating 80 pieces of candy in one day (one of my kids swears it was all he had to eat on Halloween as he bemoaned the fact a faculty member took away the rest of his candy), but spaz when I down some medicine without carefully measuring it out in those stupid plastic cups. They curse like long shoremen, but show a clip from The Joy Luck Club with the word “shit” in it and the gasps abound.
Sure, I know it’s because when they read it, see it or hear it from a teacher it is sanctioned. And somehow they like to think that their vices are secret and rebelious.