In the category of truth that is stranger than fiction, I’ve recently learned that over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medications—the kind of thing you’d take when you have a stomach virus or put in your travel kit in case of Montezuma’s revenge—are being used by addicts. According to a New York Times article, opioid addicts unable to get painkillers are resorting to the mild high found in huge doses of the active ingredient— loperamide. A few have died from constipation. I don’t want to think about how painful and disgusting that sounds, but pushed to the brink, there is no telling where people will go.
As the cliché goes, truth is stranger than fiction.
Given the right mix of person and circumstances, crazy events unroll. Jim Jones and his paranoid philosophy brought his followers to mass suicide with poisoned Kool Aid. This is the origin of the phrase, “Drank the Kool Aid” as a synonym for blind obedience. It’s true and strange!
Ideologies, passions and even fads seem to float on the air and overtake people. From the benign, infectious, and annoying dance craze—La Macarena to unhealthy fashions.
Long before the dissipated waifs of heroin chic of the late1990s, there was the idealization of the dilated eyes, pale-to-the-level-of-transparent skin, and sickly thin bodies of consumptives—in the late 1780s to the 1850s. The period’s romantic ideal of beauty reflected the misconception that TB was an inherited sensitivity to miasmas and therefore something tragic and desirable. Think about Mimi in ‘La Boheme’ and Violetta in ‘La Traviata.’ These romantic consumptives wasted away—although the sopranos in these classic roles usually carry enough weight to project the soaring notes of these favorite operas. Strange and true!
Another mystifying phenomenon is the fear of black cats and the subsequent lower adoption rates. This is crazy! I’ve read a bunch of articles all with varying stats on both the fear and the relatively slow/low adoption rates of black cats. As every cat that has entered my life was a stray, kitten from a litter looking for a home or a rescue cat, the color of the cat has never been a major issue. I can’t imagine being afraid of a black cat. But people are superstitious and cats get rejected and sometimes euthanized.
Strange and also, unfortunately, true.
Truth & fiction/truth IN fiction—things writers think about.
Morse is as mystified as I am…