Flaskaland
Monday, January 03, 2011
 


The cabin was in the mountains with a little clearer air.

Back when I was a kid growing up in Claremont (let's say 1957-58), you could see the mountains and hills every day and smell orange blossoms on the air. By the early 60s, smog was coming in. The mountains would be hazy and obscured as if concealed by smoke, as if there were a forest fire raging somewhere. Smog. I swear sometimes you could smell it, like the gassy exhaust smell from a car.

And the smog and pollution went high into the atmosphere. Everyone noticed it and complained about it ... even the little folk music shop would sell postcards depicting the smog bank, that you sometimes flew through and was so noticable when traveling by plane. The postcard showed a photograph of a big black cloud, and there was a clear line where the smog stopped, and then it was bright blue skies and clear on the other side. We were still on the other side of the smog belt, but that stuff was creeping in.

My sister and I both had asthma. I used to run through town as a kid to get places faster. But when that smog came in, my sprint ended suddenly with a stabbing pain in my chest, and even when I walked around town on such days, sometimes my chest would constrict and hurt. Her asthma was much much worse.

She kept asthma medication at the ready in the fridge for such days. The atomizer was clear glass and had small and large corks. You'd have to pour the medication in carefully to a delicate little bowl on the side and put a cork in. The solution was a pretty amber color, like the Blanton's or like honey. Then you'd squeeze a large bulb to beginning building up pressure. Then the medicine was ready, and you'd pull out the big cork and the medicine would be delivered into your mouth through the large end which had small holes to make a mist. And you'd have to prepare yourself, exhale all the air in your lungs, and inhale as deep a breath as possible as you squeezed the bulb to get the medicine down into your lungs.

So we'd sit around the kitchen table on bad days when our eyes were red and itchy, and our lungs would be crackling, and we'd pant for breath and wheeze between words in conversations, and cough, and take turns inhaling through this contraption in order to breathe better.

Frank would come over on days such as that. And we'd all sit at the kitchen table, and he'd say, "What's that?"

So I'd tell him it was a Da-VILLE-biss (as that was how it was pronounced) nebulizer.

And Frank would say, "A nebulizer" as if he were impressed by the very word.

And of course because my sister's nebulizer was a much more modern version than the one in the photo here, because she'd moved up through the years to that model, so I'd say it was the coupe de ville, the cadillac of atomizers. The company made bottles to hold fancy perfume, too.

So we'd move into the living room to watch television as you couldn't go out and she'd carry the atomizer carefully on kleenex over the small turquoise plastic bowl to prevent drip of expensive medication or to avoid dripping on the couch.

And Frank would sit there watching television with us, but he'd crack up about the atomizer, and my sister thought it was funny, too. Neither one of them said a single word that could be considered risque in anyway, but they thought it was. But I was young and didn't really understand. I just knew they were laughing about something.

Events like this burrowed into Frank's memory banks forever and for all times. He would always remember stuff like that.

So, you thought "Fast and Bulbous" as a song title was a double entendre or even outright obscene .... or was talking about ....

And we'd pass this contraption back and forth every few hours as we watched television. First you had to squeeze the bulb a bit slowly to build pressure, and then pressure would build and then you could squeeze the bulb really fast and the atomizer made a funny huffing sound as it built up pressure. Then you put the thing in your mouth and kind of rolled your eyes because the atomizer end was big, about 2 inches around, and took a deep breath to huff the medicine in, and then set the atomizer down and say, "Relief at last." Well. You see.

And we'd even laugh about what seemed like lousy English usage on the package. "This is "a" inhalant ... " spoken in a rednecky drawl.
 




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Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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