I had a favorite medicine growing up called Triaminic. It was the wonder cure-all. Pretty much anything that was wrong could be fixed with a little Triaminic. It had this syrupy sweet cherry flavor that wasn’t overly thick. It didn’t have the aftertaste of a Robitussin or the fleeting quality of a Tylenol. It was what I asked for by name whenever I stayed home from school. It was an elixir, a special potion which could give me back both health and confidence with a single spoonful.
I eschewed band-aids, though. They were for kids that couldn’t handle the wonderful sensation of picking at a scab. I don’t know if my kids will ever know how much I loved to pick at the places on my elbows and knees that the sidewalk had found and rubbed up against only days before. They won’t know because they love band-aids. Every time they get hurt (and many times when they do not), they ask for a new band-aid. Many times we go through several for every cut. It is almost as if they continue to get hurt just so that they can get me to put the sticker with medicine on them. Almost.
They too are magic. Band-aids for my kids instantly turn crying into thanks. They instantly cause the world to once again be in its right place. My children find the littlest wound or oldest scab and find it detrimental to their continued play, but as soon as the Band-Aid enters the equation, there is silence. The smiles return and off they are, bounding through to the play room. They are ready for the next adventure because they got patched up.
At some point I stopped asking for Triaminic and my parents stopped offering. At some point, my children will too stop begging for hello kitty Band-Aids. These wonderful fixes will lose their luster. They will no longer be good enough. But, what is that point? How long can I keep the quick fixes in circulation. How long can I keep the illusion going that anything can be solved with a simple capful of medicine or a few easily removed adhesive tabs?
And once that simple trust in these remedies is broken, it is all we can do to try and get it back. I think that our entire lives are spent in figuring out ways to make Band-Aids and Triaminic work again. We search for quick results and a simple answer to the most complex professional and personal problems. We try the same things over and over in the hopes that some of the magic will return. We “sleep on” our biggest decisions as if the mere act of sleeping will somehow provide insight. We have recurring meetings as if the fact that getting the same people together will produce innovation. We make budgets as if the fictional numbers will somehow keep our wants in check.
I know that there is no cure-all. That it is all snake water and workarounds. I know that time and working toward a better life is the only medicine at all for the present. I’ll take them, but they taste much more bitter than my Triaminic ever did.