The Flintstones Caper
Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s there were numerous ads on television for children’s vitamins, which were geared toward both mother and child. These ads offered statistics to frighten mom, and well-known cartoon characters to entice kids. My Mom bought into the hype and decided that it would be Flintstones vitamins that would give her children the necessary nutrients that they didn’t get from their daily meals.
My family’s morning ritual was something like this: at 7:30 a.m. Dad came in, gave each one of us a shove and told us to get our butts up. We fumble around for about an hour doing our bathroom rounds, fighting over turns at the toilet and getting dressed in a school uniform that we’d been wearing for a couple of weeks. Finally, after a few shoving matches and “two for flinching battles,” we would stumble out to the kitchen. There on the countertop would be a row of four Pop-Tarts and four Flintstones chewable vitamins.
Somewhere along the line it was decided the car shaped vitamin was the coolest one and if you got the it then you were number one and all was right with the world; at least for the day. It became a grudge match from then on to get the car shaped vitamin. We would rush to be the first to obtain the car, clawing, biting, and shoving to get to our prize and claim the glory.
In an attempt to save her sanity and keep us from killing each other over a chewable vitamin, Mom proposed a fair compromise. We would take turns receiving the car. It was a grand idea, at least in theory, and it worked for a time. There were days, however, when there was no car placed on the counter. When we asked about this diversion from the “Flintstones peace treaty,” Mom told us there weren’t any more cars in the bottle. This was a travesty of justice, and it had to be investigated.
My brother Joe and I utilized our brother Adam’s skills as a master thief. We snatched a brand new bottle of Flintstones vitamins from the cabinet. Hastily we broke the seal and laid them out on the floor and began to count. Our first mistake was, as it is for most children up to mischief, that we were too quiet.
Mom came to investigate what we were doing mid-count. We were on the verge of a major discovery and we were going to get busted. There was no way to get the bottle back to the kitchen and she would keep grilling us till she found out what we were up to. We decided our only course of action was to consume the evidence and discard the bottle.
As fast as we could we shoved all the vitamins we could into our mouths and began to chew. We had between the two of us consumed all the vitamins and we hid the bottle before Mom got to our room. We knew we could play off the loss of the bottle by convincing her it never existed making her doubt whether she had actually purchased it.
We had gotten away with it, or so we had thought. As it turns out when a person has more vitamins in their system than they can use, the body then gets rid of the excess. As our guts began to rumble and our bowels began to cramp we knew we had screwed up big time.
There were only two toilets in our house, and my bother Joe and I occupied them for the entire night and into the next day. I believe that we did permanent damage to the commodes, leaving the backs of them looking as though they had been shot with a poop shotgun. I have never to this day suffered with such a pain in my bowels as that day and I pray to whatever powers that be that I never do again.
I could have poisoned myself, all for the sake of a car shaped vitamin and fairness. As a permanent reminder of this I have decided to keep a bottle of Flintstones Vitamins in my medicine cabinet.
A lesson from what I call the Flintstones Caper, is that fair is a subjective concept and like truth, everyone has their own version. Most of the time, you have the same thing everyone else does, it just takes a different form.
Another lesson, if you consume a lot of any thing you don’t really need to get a sense of fairness, you not only waste your time, but you can hurt yourself in the process.