Stars aligned for this vitamin-chewing, bargain-hunting 40-year-old

By: Tony Overbay
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Let me start with four confessions. First, I’m a bit of a vitamin junkie. Second, I have a hard time swallowing pills. Third, I’m a sucker for a bargain and fourth, I just turned 40. These random bits of information will all come into play in the next few paragraphs. First, the vitamins. I like the kid kind. If I can chew it, I take it. Our cupboard features chewable dinosaurs, gummy bears and good old vitamin C. Until ice cream and In-n-Out are fortified with vitamins I figure I might as well do my part in adding them to my diet. Normally, one who likes vitamins wouldn’t have a problem with pills. But again, I like the chewable kind. I’ll get a prescription for a pill and the first question I ask the doctor is, “Let’s just say somebody were to chew this up instead of swallow it? Still effective?” It’s at that point that I’m given the gallon jug of penicillin or whatever else usually only comes in horse pill-sized doses. I’ve had some decent streaks of being able to swallow “big boy” pills and I’ll think my problems are in the past, and then I choke on one again and I’m chewing them up for the next couple of years. On to the bargains. I never thought I’d turn into that guy who tells everybody how much I paid for items. I haven’t paid retail in over a decade and I’m not about to start. When Christmas comes around, I find myself surfing a couple of bargain Web sites daily. Normally, this is OK, but occasionally, I buy stuff I don’t need. Like a couple of weeks ago. There was a vitamin site selling bottles of various vitamins and supplements for $1 each, free shipping even! I had just turned 40. I’ve never felt better, but perhaps the comments of others were creeping into my subconscious. “You fall apart after you hit 40!” Leading up to my birthday, I heard this on a daily basis. So put all of this together and it was a moment where the planets aligned. Vitamins, on sale, for this over-40-year old. I ordered 10 bottles of everything from dried up berries to the roots of various plants, some crushed up mushrooms, some type of yeast, you name it, I was going to be seriously healthy. I even ordered fish oil! I started taking the vitamins immediately. Honestly, I felt no difference, but maybe roots and barks and plants take a while to kick in. The pill I hesitated on was the fish oil. The pill was the size of the small fish I used to use as bait when fishing with my dad. It was huge! The first two times I tried, the pill went down surprisingly well. I was cured! Then, one day, I was heading to work. I forgot to take my pills in the morning so I grabbed them and took them with me in the car. I threw them all down except the fish oil. I knew I was 2 for 2 taking the pill, but I had never taken it sitting down. I tried to pretend it was no big deal. I put it in my mouth and panicked. I counted to three and swallowed! As soon as it started down my throat, I knew I was in trouble. It stuck immediately. My mouth started filling with saliva. The roads were packed. I tried to swallow the saliva and it kept coming back up. I was in trouble. I made a plan to pull off at the closest gas station. By the time I arrived, my cheeks were puffed up full of saliva, my chest was burning. I opened the door and got rid of the saliva much to the chagrin of an elderly couple just starting to enjoy a donut. I stood up to make my way to the bathroom and I felt immediate relief, the capsule must have popped. Quickly after I felt the sense of relief, I was reminded of what was inside of a fish-oil capsule. Fish oil! It tasted like I had just spent 10 minutes licking a fish lollypop. I imagined this was what it tasted like to drink the water out of a sardine can. I was happy to feel the sense of relief, but at least four or five times throughout the day. my stomach gave me a quick, but powerful reminder of the just how fishy that fish oil was. At one point, I stifled a belch, I felt successfully, only to have a client ask in the middle of a tear-felt confession, “Do they serve fish tacos at the Mexican Deli next door?” I now have 27 fish-oil pills sitting in a bottle. I think I’ve finally found a pill that I’ll neither be chewing or getting in the one-gallon liquid size. Tony Overbay is a father of four and 16-year Lincoln resident. You can read more of his writings at