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  • Writer's pictureJerry Della Femina


I guess those of you who read this column regularly noticed years ago that I have hidden powers.

You know, the famous Della Femina curse.

I hint about it when I write my annual column about those people who insist on getting married in a hot, sticky New York City hotel on a summer holiday weekend when everyone prefers to stay in the beautiful Hamptons.

The marriages always fail. One day the happy couple is all dewy-eyed and holding hands, oblivious to the fact that they ruined a precious summer weekend for a couple of hundred people and me. The next day she starts to look at him as he sleeps and fantasizes about putting a pillow over his snoring, ugly face.

A year or so later the newlyweds’ parents mutter something about the couple having some “problems” and that they’ve decided to separate. I’m sympathetic, but I think to myself, “Great! The curse worked. If they had gotten married off-season they would still be together.”

And let us not forget what I did to the music industry. For years they went along selling us records and tapes and then one day some paranoid schmuck decided the best way to keep people from stealing music CDs from the store was to put a plastic shrink wrap around the whole case. They were impossible to open, even when you got them home. I remember trying to open a wonderful Diana Krall CD called “Only Trust Your Heart” and I put a knifepoint into my palm trying to cut the plastic wrap off. I tried to smash the case open with a hammer and wound up ruining the disc.

That’s when I lost it and put the Della Femina curse on the music business.

I remember thinking, “I hope somebody invents a way that we can buy music from the internet so that we never have to walk into a record store again.”

I also remember thinking, “Wouldn’t it be neat if Apple had an online store and I could buy and play the music through my cell phone, and millions of us could walk the streets, paying absolutely no attention to traffic, and bump into each other listening to loud music with little white earphones sticking in our ears?” The rest is history.

Pffffffft: Record stores have disappeared along with CDs. They no longer exist. Good riddance.

Now it seems that many of the over-the-counter pharmaceutical companies have decided to use blister packs that make it impossible for a person to get to the frigging little pills these bastards are charging a fortune for.

Take Benadryl, those little pink allergy pills. You could be choking to death from an allergic reaction to a few cat hairs, or from eating some kale you didn’t know you were allergic to, and there you are – down to your last breath – and you can’t get a Benadryl pill out of the blister pack to save your frigging life.

Well, I have a new curse. I’m putting it on any pharmaceutical company that puts their product in individual blister packs where ancient people like me can’t get to them.

I have a special super-duper curse for the president of the company that makes Imodium, an anti-diarrhea product. The product, when you can get to it, works fine. The problem is these fiends have put it into the mother of all blister packs, which makes it impossible to reach.

I remember a time when I was sick and my stomach was bad ... really bad. I had the control of a Canada goose. I couldn’t even get to the store to buy Imodium — I had to have it delivered. I limped to the door, grabbed my box of Imodium from the delivery boy and with trembling hands and shaky, wobbling legs I opened the Imodium box and there was this hard, silver sheet that I suspect is made of steel, and a clear hard plastic cover, so that you can see the frigging Imodium pills but I couldn’t get to them.

They actually have a little picture on the back that says “Easy To Open,” which instructs you how to open each individual packet. It says fold and pull. Well, the minute I folded this little tab it broke off in my hand. Pull? Pull what? I swear it was impossible to get to the little white pills. I got so desperate I thought of swallowing the packet — plastic sections, silver foil and all.

Hours later, with the lousy little plastic tabs ripped off on the floor around me, with the little white Imodium pills staring at me, taunting me from behind their impregnable blister-pack shield, I crawled to another room, reached for a pair of scissors and cut away, individually freeing each and every pill. The instructions called for taking one pill. I took three.

I must say the stuff works well. One pill works; three pills work like cement.

But now the curse. I don’t want the president of the Imodium company to die. I just want him to get a stomach flu that will be the equivalent of, and have the explosive power of, his having ingested a vat of Milk of Magnesia or some other harsh laxative.

I want him to be surrounded by a ton of his own blister-packed product and I want him to try to get the relief of one single pill while trying to get his own frigging product open.

And then I want him to remember the words that the president of an anti-diarrhea product should always live by: “What goes around comes around.”

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