Flintstones vitamins have changed. Which isn’t surprising, they’ve been around for forty-eight years. When I was a kid, they were chalky, hard candies. Sweet and enjoyable, but with a medicinal aftertaste. Sort of like baby aspirin. Now they’re gummies, the aftertaste is gone. They just taste like gummies.
I recently finished a bottle of them. Eli didn’t want the knock-off product we bought; he insisted on the real-deal—so we bought him the Flintstones. Sophie could eat the generics. As it turns out, Sophie’s bottle had better flavor; Eli decided to eat those. I ate the Flintstones.
I’ve been off vitamins for years. For a while I took One-A-Day with Minerals. I was anemic. My doctor told me it was from all my running. I sweated out my minerals. So I took my One-A-Day; a bitter horse-pill I couldn’t swallow without water. And then I nursed an upset stomach for twenty to thirty minutes. Eventually I quit the vitamins. Getting a cold seemed less distressing than eating the vitamins.
I’m anemic again. I found out while giving blood. They have a test. A drop of blood in a vial: if is sinks, you’re fine. Mine floated. Sort of hovered—it couldn’t decide whether to go up or down. I’ve been running some big mileage. The Flintstones were timely.
I’m a good candidate for vitamins. I respond well to a placebo effect. When it isn’t summer, I eat four of those 100% Vitamin C suckers every morning. If I miss a day, I’m sick by lunch. My throat gets scratchy, my joints ache. As soon as I get back on the suckers, it all goes away.
Right, I know. It’s all in my head. Medical studies indicate that vitamins do nothing but cost money. But they’re cheap. And if they trick my mind into being healthy, what’s the harm.
In 1992, George H.W. Bush, banished from society for years as Reagan’s Vice President and then as our President, went to a grocery store to prove to America he was a regular guy—his reelection campaign was underway. In the check-out line, his reaction to the bar-code scanner proved he wasn’t remotely regular. Scanners, a fixture at almost all super markets during Bush’s decade-away, appeared to him as so much magic. He stupidly asked if this was a newfangled way to check out groceries, and he lost his up-coming election (I might have made a leap right there).
At times, I seem no less clueless than President Bush. As I gobbled up my Flintstones vitamins, two at a time for sixty days, I lamented that only kids get candy vitamins. Not only did my Flintstones taste great, but my stomach didn’t protest. As I used up my bottle, I decided to dive into the generics my kids were eating. We quickly killed that bottle, too. I went shopping for more.
They make gummy vitamins for adults! At Costco, there’s a whole aisle of giant containers of them. I grabbed a two-pack for me, and a big bottle of One-A-Day for Women for Susan and Sophie to share. Unimportant fact: The serving size of One-A-Day vitamins is two.
We joined Costco two months ago. My New Year resolution list included buying hearing aids, and the year was starting to wind down. It was time to get moving. My father has been talking about Costco hearing aids for years. I don’t know if they’re any good, but they’re half the price of other stores. We shelled out $55 for the privilege of shopping at Costco and saved $2,500 on hearing aids.
Gettysburg doesn’t have a Costco. The one we go to is an hour away. It’s such a pain in the ass that it gets listed as a weekend activity. “Hey Jeff, what do you have going on this weekend?”
“Well, on Sunday, we’re going to Costco.”
I feel sorry for people who ask me about my weekend. People expect to hear interesting plans. We’re going to try the new Noodle House that just opened. We’re planning to see that Beatles documentary. We’re driving to DC to visit my brother’s family. That rarely happens. What they usually get is: “Oh, I’m planning to go for a run.” And “we’re taking a family trip to go grocery shopping.” Really lame stuff. But these are the biggest things on my schedule. My Saturday morning runs are anywhere from two to five hours. And that trip to Costco? Four hours minimum.
Some really cool stuff we’ve bought at Costco (besides vitamins and hearing aids):
- They have a decent hot dog and a twenty-ounce soda for $1.50
- A two-pack of Nutella (twice)
- A box of twelve frozen pizzas (we’ve bought three of those)
- A case containing forty-eight single servings of Lays chips
- A variety of granola bars in quantities greater than twenty
- A giant bag of Halloween candy that we’re already eating even though Halloween is four days away
Essentially, we’ve bought a bunch of junk food. We did buy a forty-pound bag of basmati rice that we’ve put a pretty good dent in. Oh, and they also have really cheap gas, which is appreciated since the round-trip uses a quarter tank.
Tomorrow’s Saturday, and Costco isn’t in the mix. I’m still thinking of driving an hour away, this time to visit a bookstore. I’ve got a hankering to start doing crossword puzzles again. Based on this essay, my brain could use some exercise. And like Costco, a bookstore just isn’t something we have in Gettysburg.