Thursday, September 21, 2006
Thank Goodness for St. Joseph
How long do you hold a grudge? I know we're not supposed to hold a grudge at all, but some grudges are important to hang onto. Isn't that what a boycott is all about?
Here's what happened. Sister Mary Fiacre takes an aspirin every day to help guard against heart attacks and strokes. So far, it's working. Whatever health related train wreck she has endured, she hasn't had a heart attack or a stroke. We don't think. I have been militant in making sure she gets St. Joseph's aspirin. In the first place, it's St. Joseph, the patron saint of everything: travel, a happy death, old age, families, dads, workers, aches and fever reduction, Italy...the list goes on. And secondly, because I have been boycotting the Bayer aspirin companyfor years since a Jewish friend of mine told me to.
I'm generally not so wishy washy that I would just boycott a whole company by taking someone's word for it. I don't boycott a book without reading it first.
But she was so vehement, I just went with it. I knew it had something to do with the Second World War. Chances are, contrary to what the President of Iran believes, she wasn't making anything up. AndI can always take St. Joseph aspirin, where my loyalty lies.
Since I broke my toe and couldn't do things I normally do for us here, I have been relying on the church ladies and other kind souls to hunt and gather and fetch. We ran out of aspirin and Mrs. Morris brought us some. Bayer. oops. I can't just toss them out. Mrs. Morris paid good money for them. So I have been giving Sister Mary Fiacre Bayer aspirin all week, feeling just a little guilty.
One of my normal duties is digging up patron saints for people. I have so often mentioned that there really is a patron saint for everything...beer, disappointing children, toothaches....that people ask me all the time what saint to turn to in their time of need.
One of the church ladies was concerned about her drunken nephew and what would happen to him if he ever stopped drinking and we were talking about the DT's. I figured, given the fact that there is a patron saint for beer, there must be one for the DT's.
What do I unearth? St. Barbara.
The man who invented barbituates is none other than Adolph Bayer (also spelled Baeyer). He named his new wonder drug by putting together the name of the saint's feast day on which he made his discovery, the feast of St. Barbara. He called his new compound Barbara's urates (urates=a salt of sulphuric acid).
Not so bad really. Sleeping pills, badly needed for people who were getting no rest because of diseases like TB.
The Bayer company also invented two other wonder drugs, aspirin and heroin, in the same two week period. Heroin was the more promising drug, for the same need, to help people with severe breathing problems get some sleep, a huge problem of that time. The only had morphine, which is habit forming.
Bayer was also the first company to do heavy duty testing on animals and humans. The researchers all tried heroin and said it made them feel 'heroic' which is how it got it's name. The head of the company became a regular user. Heroine was selling by tons for 3 years or so when doctors started reported it's addictive nature. oops.
Seems the company thought heroine would be the most lucrative, so they pushed that. Pardon the pun. No one dreamed the big money would be in aspirin.
The company was still testing on animals and humans during WWII when they also bought Jewish slave labor from the Nazi's and haggled that $80 was too much to spend on a person. And even if we could leave them off the hook for all of that, they also fought restitution just yesterday....yesterday in the grand scheme of things.
Now I feel really, really guilty giving Sister Mary Fiacre the Bayer aspirin. I can barely look at the bottle. I'll have to limp to the Walgreen's myself for the St. Joseph's and offer it up for all the pain and suffering caused by the Bayer aspirin company.
Thank goodness we don't drive a Ford.