Halls, you’re killing me with this “pep-talk in every drop” thing.
I’ve been sick with a cold for three and a half weeks. Without going into too many details, I have a sinus infection, which comes with a sore throat that makes me feel like I’m gulping wood splinters every time I swallow, a cough which has led me to pull a rib-muscle, and the kind of headache that makes you consider breaking your pinky toe with a hammer just to transfer the pain.
It’s been a rough few weeks—ones which I’ve tempered with an impressive concoction of Rite Aid’s finest medicinal offerings.
In addition to my second 10-day antibiotic prescription, I’m currently taking a cocktail of Sudafed (not the pussy PE shit), Chloraseptic throat-numbing spray, Zicam, Emergen-C (I’m a dreamer), and my new favorite food—Halls cherry-flavored “triple soothing action” cough drops. The package promises that the drops will “soothe sore throats, relieve coughs, and cool nasal passages”—all things I need.
And they pretty much seem to work—at least while they’re in my mouth. But Halls does something else, something not so soothing, that they doesn’t advertise on the bag—they make me want to cry.
In what appears to be a terribly misguided effort to make sick people feel positive, at a certain point (I think around 2009?) Halls started decorating each wrapper with “encouraging” slogans, which they are calling “A pep talk in every drop.”
A few examples: “Hi-five yourself.” “Don’t wait to get started.” “Get to it!” “Get back in the game.” And my personal favorite, “Inspire envy.”
As anyone who has ever been sick knows, these are the last—literally the last—kinds of things you want to hear when you’re suffering. They are not encouragements, but reminders that healthy people are out there right now seizing the day—tearing through their to-do lists, doing bicycle crunches, laughing over half-off glasses of Prosecco at happy hour, breathing painlessly. They’re a reminder of what you would do, but can’t because you’re too sick.
When you’re sick, you want to do things like complain in a whiny tone, watch every episode of “30 Rock” starting with the pilot, and eat strawberry popsicles until your entire face is red. Not “hi-five yourself.”
Halls’ remarks like “get back in the game” and “don’t wait to get started” are the exact opposite advice that my doctor gave me, which was, “stop working,” “stay in bed,” “eat chicken soup even though it hurts to swallow,” and “start buying lottery tickets because if you don’t get better you’re going to need to see an ear, nose and throat doctor, and without insurance, I don’t think you’ll be able to afford that.”
And lastly, “Inspire envy” is weird advice no matter whom you’re giving it to. But for a sick person it’s just mean. I’m wearing boxers, my hair is matted to my skull, I’m surrounded by snot tissues, and there’s cherry cough drop drool on my chin. What kind of condition would someone need to be in for me to inspire envy in them? And what would I have to do? The only thing I can think to do is die. Maybe then an insecure friend will be jealous of how much attention I’m getting at my funeral.
So I’m taking a moment away from my important job as a full-time news blogger to say this: Halls, I love you. Thank you for this tasty and kind of effective product. But it’s time to change your wrappers.