I was introduced to Pepto as a teen who’d consumed too much candy one Halloween. My mother produced it to silence my whining about frequent trips to the potty. When I asked what it was, she said, “It’s like concrete for your bottom.” I pictured my dad with a trowel patching up the little brick wall my uncle knocked over while backing out our driveway the previous Christmas. Can Pepto-Bismol do that? If so, it was exactly what I needed, as my backside was a gushing faucet of nasty that needed sealing, and the clear plastic cup of #PinkRelief provided just that sealant.
I never forgot the lesson I learned that day.
My relationship with Pepto rose to a whole new level my first year out of undergrad, when my new roommate, Jim Bob, and I got back from Winn-Dixie and started unloading groceries. Jim Bob put the new bottle of Pepto into the refrigerator.
Me: What’s that about–chilled Pepto?
Him: You’ve never taken your Pepto cold? Dude. It’s awesome.
And awesome it was. Given JB’s bringing a Fry Daddy into our kitchen, chilled cups of the pink stuff became a regular companion to my bowls of cereal any morning following a fried meat bender. And don’t even ask about my bowels the morning after we made doughnuts.
The only time Pepto hurt me was when our old roommate from undergrad, John, came to town on business. We took him out to Three Dollar Cafe and tore through 70 hot wings between the 3 of us. The next morning, my lower GI tract rumbled and cramped like it was gestating a ravenous lion, and our ‘fridge was out of Pepto. I went on to work with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” on continual loop in my head. After multiple trips to the IBM restroom in which I pocketed my ID badge (usually clipped to my belt), so no one in neighboring stalls would see the father of the putrid wraiths haunting our loo, I called John in a panic.
Me: John–I’m dying over here. Think you could drop off some Pepto on your way to your meeting?
John: I’m on it.
15 minutes later, security escorted him to my cubicle, which was surrounded by colleagues at my first real job after college, including my manager. He brought a small brown bag in his hand and wore a large grin on his face when he approached.
John: Here you go, honey. SOME PEPTO-BISMOL FOR YOUR TUMMY! I SURE HOPE IT STOPS ALL YOUR NASTY DIARRHEA!
Since then, Pepto has saved me from many a gluttonous decision the night before, and it even helped stitch together the blanket of freedom you people sleep under every night, as it enabled me to perform my duty while deployed to Iraq after I sneaked off base in an Army ambulance to eat on the local economy for my 28th birthday. America thanks you, Pepto.
To this day, I still keep a bottle in my refrigerator for just those moments of celebration, whether it be an old friend in town and a plate full of wings, or a family holiday with a plate full of whatever it is that my mother-in-law cooks. Its subtle whisper of “Happy New Year” is precisely the wake up juice a man needs after a New Year’s Eve of culinary experimentation.
*Pepto-Bismol compensated me with product and payment for the above, though I already had a bottle in my refrigerator. All opinions and stories are mine and are true, because I lead a life of adventure. That’s why I lifted the pink Chinook picture from the Pepto website.