Thursday, April 02, 2015
B is for BC Powders
I grew up in the South, hearing the commercial for BC Powders. In the commercial, folks are encouraged to take BC Powders and come back strong. I just laughed at it, not thinking that I would ever take one of those powders. After all, they’d taste bad, and I don’t ever put anything in my mouth if it tastes bad.
For years in my early-to-mid-adult years, I suffered from migraines. Actually, I wouldn’t admit that they were migraines because it sounded so wimpy to claim that problem. I eventually went to a doctor and was indeed diagnosed with classic migraines, whatever that means.
I can’t even count the number of nights that Frank took me to the emergency room or a “doc in a box” to get a shot of Imitrex. It would knock me out for several hours, and I’d awaken with what I could imagine a hangover would be like. Just terrible! Eventually, Imitrex became available by prescription, and I could give myself a shot. And then someone “invented” Imitrex pills. Ah! Much better.
But I didn’t want to get addicted to strong medicine, so I decided to find something over the counter. Who knows how I discovered BC Powders?! But I did, and I found that if I woke up early in the morning to grade papers before going to school and if I had a headache, I could take a powder, drink a strong cup of coffee, and head to school, with my headache gone!
A couple of funny things that I remember concerning my miracle cure come to mind. I went to Panama City for some kind of teacher meeting and roomed with Wendy Bennett, our Language Arts Supervisor. She asked if I still had headaches (I was famous or maybe infamous for them!). I said yes but that I had found a cure. BC Powders! Wendy was mortified. She said that she thought old black women were the only ones who took them, that her mother and her friends got together every afternoon for BCs and Cokes. Strange, huh?
When I retired from teaching and started working for McDougal Littell as a sales rep, the other reps and consultants discovered BCs and me. Many a day at a meeting somewhere, they’d come to me for a “fix.” BCs worked for them, too. Once we tried to get lady from the home office to take some home with her, but she was afraid the airport people would find them in her suitcase and think they were cocaine. We got a big laugh out of that, I can assure you!
A sweet memory that I have associated with my BCs, though, is lodged in my heart. When Jay died, Wendy Bennett and her husband, Rod, appeared at our house early the day after. Many people came to see us and brought food of all sorts. But Wendy brought the biggest box of BC Powders that I’d ever seen. She didn’t want me to be overcome by a headache at a time when I needed to keep myself together.
Today, probably close to forty years after my first swallow of the bitter white powder, I still take them. I can anticipate a headache a mile away, and if I feel the slightest headachy, I pop a powder. Do I worry about taking too many? Oh, yes. But not so much that I’d let a headache overtake me. So what are these BC Powders? Ground up aspirin and an extra shot of caffeine. That’s all. And, indeed, when I take one, I come back strong.