I Walk a Day in

I Walk a Day in Uncle Duke’s Shoes

I made a big mistake yesterday, when I was standing in the breakfast line at the deli counter. Every New York deli has a wire stand from which dangles dozens of packets of herbal and vitamin supplements. “Herbal zip!” “Buzz’s Bombers!” “NATURAL Super MEN’S PACK FOUR!” I was always mildly curious about them, especially since, every now and then, you read about some herbal supplement or other that has been banned by the FDA. Damn, too late to check out Phen-fen! Too late to check out Ephedra!

So, in a spirit of adventure, I purchased the “NATURAL Super MEN’S PACK FOUR”, pictured on the left, and took all three gel pills and all six vitamin capsules. A lot of normal stuff was there — Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Lecithin. Some more iffy ingredients, too — bee pollen, a big dose of Ginseng, Chromium Picolinate. Then there was the “Male Potency” pill: “A comprehensize combination of natural herbs designed to work synergistically with each other to give optimum results.” Uh… okay, great! Down the hatch. Herbal synergy, here I come!

Forty minutes later, I suddenly feel like I’ve caught a bad cold and downed eight cups of coffee, simultaneously. I crouched in my pod for an hour, my eyes bugging out of my head, chewing on my knuckle, butterflies fluttering around my sweaty, addled brow. That was probably the most damn unproductive day of my LIFE. After a long morning, long lunch, and long afternoon feeling like I was swimming through a fizzy bucket of sandy mineral water, I came down about four. Whew!

When in a vitamin store the other day, I overheard the guy behind the counter talking to a customer: “Now, when you take these the first few times, you’ll feel kind of weird, until you realize that weird feeling is actually normal, and how you should feel all the time.” Dear God, I hope not!

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