Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rerun Rant

...even so, it needs to get out.

Yesterday my eyes were ridiculously itchy and red and I was sneezing like someone was tickling the inside of my nose with a feather. It had a lot to do with the thin green layer that coats everything around here this time of year. So I needed allergy medication. Bad. I like Claritin. It works well, lasts a long time, and is rather trustworthy.

So I go to the K-Mart down the street and head for the pharmacy section. They have no Claritin out on the shelves - just little cards that you take to the pharmacy. So I did as directed. I gave the card to the pharmacist, who whips out this scary-looking clipboard and heads for his computer. He asks for ID.

Now I'm still young enough where I occasionally get carded for alcohol, but I know there's no age limit on allergy meds. So the following exchange occurs:

Me: (sniffle)(rubbing eyes) You aren't going to do a damn background check on me, are you?

Pharmacy guy: It's federal law, sir.

Me: (sniffle) Fuck it. (sneeze) (walks off, rubbing eyes)

Now I don't know about you, but it pisses me off when I get treated like a goddamn criminal when I buy medicine. Yes, fuckfaces, I have allergies! Does that make me eligible for surveillance? Can my indiscriminate Claritin purchases land me on the no-fly list if I'm not careful?

Seriously, does the government need to track every box of allergy medicine that leaves the shelves? Can you assholes not assume that I'm cooking up a fresh batch of drugs every time I need my eyes to stop itching? Looking for meth addicts? Good job, you narrowed your list of suspects to everyone in Wake County with allergies and/or a cold. I'm sure that'll be an easy stack of data to sort. Is it that hard to tell the difference between someone running a meth lab and someone with hay fever? Here's an idea: instead of making the lives of those of us with allergies miserable, you could actually do a little police work and go after real, honest-to-God meth labs. Or better yet, you could end this half-baked, absurd, psychotic, tyrranical, hysterical waste of my time and money called the "drug war" and get back to actually fighting the real crime that makes our streets unsafe! Using police resources to stop murders and robberies - what a concept!


And if I were the makers of Claritin, I'd be pissed off as fuck. You know why? Because when I went back to the allergy aisle, there was a box of Benadryl anti-allergy medicine sitting there beneath where the Claritin would be if the government hadn't shot itself from a cannon over the shark. Now who wouldn't buy the Benadryl rather than spend five minutes to have your personal information end up on some data list in God-knows-what government building being scrutinized like you just bought a semiautomatic rifle from Osama bin fucking Laden? How is this fair competition? Did the big pharma company that makes Benadryl pay off the federal government to cook up some half-assed legislation so they could screw over their big pharma competition? "Just say it's part of the drug war," they'd say. "These idiots will buy anything if you put 'drug war' in front of it." Yeah, I know it's a crazy conspiracy theory, but it's no less crazy than having a stupid, ridiculous, insane, outlandish law like this on the books that makes us jump through metric assloads of hoops and undergo police surveillance when all we want IS FOR OUR GODDAMN EYES TO STOP ITCHING!!!!!


Oh, and here's a fucking brilliant one. It's illegal to buy more than 7.5 grams of Claritin in a month through the mail, and nine grams a month in person. Each box has 3.6 grams in it. Here's the thing about allergy medication: during March and April, you need two boxes a month. Okay, that's 7.2 grams. But what if there is someone else in the house who has allergies? You know, like maybe - and I know this is crazy, just bear with me here - someone has a kid who also has allergies? And that kid needs a box too? No, of course not!

Your kid's got hay fever too? So does the wife? Talk to the DEA, bitch! That third box makes you a big, bad meth dealer! You'll get your door busted down and an assault rifle shoved up your ass by Raleigh's finest! We can't have scumbags like you trying to keep your eyes from itching!

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Jim Talent (R-MO, no longer in the Senate) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). So I say we all gather up as much pollen as we can and send it (labeled, of course, so no dumbasses mistake it for anthrax) to Feinstein's office. Maybe after a few weeks of red-eyed, runny-nosed, ear-aching misery, she'll see what her little piece-of-crap law does to the rest of us.

Rant over. Phew.


Barzelay said...

Interestingly, I don't even have allergies, but I went and bought a box of Claritin for my girlfriend the other day. But I didn't know which kind she wanted, so I actually bought TWO boxes of Claritin at the same time, and I wasn't sniffly, or runny, or red-eyed. And I didn't even have my ID checked, let alone have a background check done on me. This was in the District of Columbia. So maybe this isn't a nationwide law, maybe it's an NC-specific addition to the national meth law.

Jeff said...

Barzelay - I've done a little research, and I found that according to the law, it's a national requirement that everyone who buys anything with pseudoephedrine has to sign a register and show their ID. It's relatively new (it was part of the Patriot Act reauthorization in '06 and has been in effect for all of six months), and enforcement is still spotty, which is why I was somewhat surprised that that K-Mart had complied. But it is required. Here's a brief description from Sen. Feinstein's website - it was part of the Patriot Act reauthorization in '06.

Here's the bill; it's Title VII of the Patriot Act reauthorization (109th Congress, HR 3199). Apparently there's no full background check required, but they do have to verify your ID.

Mike said...

You know what doesn't suck? Living where I am in Florida, where there's almost no pollen.

You know what does suck? Coming up to Atlanta where all the cars are this greenish yellow puke color. It's been a long time since I've felt these allergies.

Claritin is probably the best, but I usually get by on Sudafed.

Either way, my former Senator can take her bill and blow her nose in it.