Saturday, Marchipelago 25, 41 A.B. ... 

"Like all days of its class, Saturday is a temporal concoction made up of 24 hours frequently divided into two parts called day and night for easy reference, handling, and application.  Common uses include shopping, yard work, drinking, and a wide variety of courtship activities.  Although no deaths have been directly attributed to its recommended weekly application to all areas of one's life, care should always be taken during its use in order to avoid such common side effects as sore muscles, ruined credit, hangovers, and unintended pregnancy.  In present-day America, the average male is entitled to 3816 refills and the average female 4139...." 

- From "The Really Complete Physician's Desktop Reference Book"

     So I read in the paper today that an advisory committee has recommended to the Food and Drug Administration that it approve the sale of a new antibiotic called Zyvox.
     Yes, its makers (Pharmacia & Upjohn) want to call it Zyvox.
     Fun, isn't??  I could say it all night - and I just might.
     Just because Zyvox is much much much more fun to say than its generic name, linezolid.
     And, quite honestly, I was getting a bit tired of the z-named medicines I've had to settle for saying repeatedly up until now.
     You know: Zaditor, Zafirlukast, Zagram, Zalcitabine, Zaleplon, Zanaflex, Zanosar, Zantac, Zantryl, Zarontin, Zaroxolyn, Zeasorb, Zebeta, Zebrax, Zefazone, Zemplar, Zenapax, Zentel, Zephrex, Zerit, Zestoretic, Zestril, Zetar, Ziac, Ziagen, Zidovudine, Zilactin, Zileuton, Zinacef, Zinca-Pak, Zincate, Zincon, Zithromax, Zocor, Zofran, Zoladex, Zolicef, Zolmitriptan, Zoloft, Zolpidem, Zomig, Zonalon, ZORprin, Zostrix, Zosyn, Zovia, Zovirax, Zyban, Zydone, Zyflo, Zyloprim, Zymase, Zymenol, Zyprexa, and Zyrtec.
     How I ever managed to keep my tongue entertained with a mere 55 choices, I'll never know....

     Hard to believe that when I was a boy, my tongue had to settle for alternating endlessly between Methiolate and Mercurochrome.
     It's no wonder that kiddies these days chuckle when they see me at a bus stop, absent-mindedly muttering those two pillars of my youth just out of habit.
     Spoiled brats, lucky enough to be growing up in a world in which 528 new medicines with funny names have been approved since 1980 alone....

     I'm not sure why medicines that begin with a "Z" seem especially popular now.  
     And I surely don't know why every new drug that begins with a "Z" or any other letter has to sound like an alien refugee from the studio of George Lucas or Star Trek.
     It wouldn't have to be this way, you know.
     We could have Bayer's Kid Tonic or Sanity PM instead of Ritalin or Zoloft, after all.
     We could have Industrial Strength Bug Bash or Germ-B-Gone instead of Vancomycin or Zyvox.
     If new medicines were always named after their inventors, McCreevy's Ointment and Strict's Anti-Inflammatory and Tamashito's Anti-Rejection Injectible might now be giving Doan's Backache Pills and Dodd's Pills and Carter's Little Pills quite a run for our brain space.
     Of course few inventors are as egotistical as Doan and Dodd and Carter.  I'd like to think that if given the opportunity, they'd wave off the idea that their own silly little name is worthy of being attached to an immortal product and instead suggest the name of some idol, like the astronomers often do when it comes to the naming of new planets or stars.  It's too bad in a way that the same method isn't used when it comes to pills, since I kinda like the idea of taking a couple Madame Curies every time I get a headache or a sore back.  
     Or course, things being what they are, I suppose that if two drugs were ever used in combination,  they'd force the poor smaller drug to take the larger one's name.  I wouldn't like that.  
     And I wouldn't like it when they forced us to always refer to really expensive drugs by their full name, including a pretentious middle initial.  I'll take a short generic drug from the poor side of the test tube over one of those any day.

      Come to think of it, those scientist types like to give things Latin names, don't they?  Well, thanks, but no thanks, guys.  The lawyers have forced me to deal with habeas corpus and the like when I'm out and about.  I'd prefer not to have to also deal with Laxorium or Spumesco when I'm fumbling around in my medicine cabinet in the middle of the night.

     If new medicines were named after the place they were discovered, well, that would be swell with me.  Unless London, Paris, or Tokyo start coming in a bottle, I'll probably never get to see 'em.

     On the other hand, I suppose we can all be glad that the people at Procter and Gamble aren't in charge of naming our medicines, otherwise everything we take to make us feel better would be called Health or Heal, Vim or Vigor, Pulse or Paradise.  And everything would be NEW and IMPROVED, and come in real big, bright bottles.  If I'm ever in the market for Viagra, I'd just as soon I didn't have to leave the pharmacy with it in a giant-size neon blue jug with big yellow lettering on the front proclaiming "Helps Old Men Out THREE Great Ways!"

     And we sure can be glad that the pharmaceutical companies don't follow that alleged Indian practice of naming a new thing after the first old thing they see after the new thing comes along.  If those companies did follow that practice, every new medicine would be called Dollar Signs.  They'd have to attach a number on the end so we could tell 'em apart, and personally I don't think there are enough numbers to do that.
     Maybe the ancients had the right idea all the time.  They refused to give their healing agents a name at all for fear that the evil spirits responsible for illness would learn what they were and run away to fight another day when they saw 'em coming.  I'm not generally in favor of sneaky, Pearl Harbor-style attacks, but I think I can morally be excused for making an exception for the evil spirits that gave me my last 10-day cold.

     Of course I wouldn't be writing any of this at all if God had told Adam to name all the drugs once he got done naming all 10 million or so species of animals.  Although it may not seem like it when you're in a hurry to find the Pepto Bismol, there really aren't even half as many drugs cluttering the aisles of the local Rite Aid as there are animals species on earth.  I'm sure God and Adam could have handled naming each and every healing pill and potion if they'd really wanted to do something useful with their time.  After all, it's a pretty rare thing to have your life depend on the name of some sub-species of Australian wombat.  The one time I thought my life did depend on such a thing, it turned out that my doctor had just misspelled Zithromax when he scribbled out the prescription.

     So I guess the bottom line is: Don't like this entry?  Blame God.
     Want a second opinion?  Be my guest to go search for one.
     I'll be right here if you need me.
     Doing some what I do.



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And not that anyone asked, but....

That story about the committee recommending that the FDA approve the sale of Zyvox wasn't the only one I read today.

I also read about how a U.S. federal judge has ordered Iran to pay former hostage Terry Anderson and his family $341 million for the pain and suffering he experienced during his 2,454 days of captivity in Lebanon.  Although Anderson was held in Lebanon, the judge figures Iran was really responsible.  Or maybe more able to pay $341 million, since its gross nation product is over 26 times that of Lebanon.

Anyway, that comes to $138,956.80 for each day Anderson was held.

Ok, I know it's no fun being kept cooped up in a small room for years at a time by cruel overseers who just might end up killing you.  But $138,956.80 a day?  

How many Americans are in more or less similar circumstances right now and getting just minimum wage?

And I'm not even gonna mention the 12 years I was confined in a confusing series of small classrooms for no pay at all.

But I will say this...

Anyone who knows the name of Anderson's lawyer, drop me a line.  If things play out as I think they should, I'll gladly make it worth your while.  

I mean to tell ya, it's not every day that you get a shot at a free lifetime supply of Zostrix in exchange for a very few minutes of your time!