“Drug Facts” by Brent Fisk

Brent Fisk



Allergy alert:
Ibuprofen may cause a severe allergic reaction which may include: • bee hives • ego swelling • post-coital drip • electric shock.

Stomach bleeding warning: Taking more than recommended may cause stomach bleeding or death, as many people use Ibuprofen to commit suicide but our legal and advertising departments would prefer that you use another painkiller if you plan on doing yourself in. Please see a doctor if you are considering this option. And a friendly reminder, suicide by Ibuprofen may cause stomach bleeding.

Alcohol warning: If after consuming three or more alcoholic drinks, you then consume three or more alcoholics, please slow down you gluttonous, drunken cannibal.

Do Not Use • if you swell like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, or you get tied down by little people as Gulliver did in Lilliput. Swelling of this sort may be due to a serious underlying literary problem worth exploring with an out-of-work English major. Also if you have ever had an allergic reaction to telling the truth, or you can’t tolerate direct exposure to the light or to other people’s small children. Ibuprofen may also cause stomach bleeding and is, in fact, the Latin word for stomach bleeding.

Ask a doctor out on a date. If the date leads to marriage you may not need to find a job, even if you are an English major. Just because you are an English major doesn’t mean you will understand all the legal jargon in a prenuptial, so see a lawyer if you develop serious romantic entanglements. Do not begin a relationship with the lawyer while seeing the doctor as this can lead to complications.

Ask a doctor before use if you have • been caught sleeping with his wife • have trouble urinating because strange people are following you into the public restrooms and you can’t urinate when you’re being watched • you have recently become more litigious • you have sloughed off the lining to your stomach • you have awakened with a drug company executive’s severed head beneath your pillow.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are • emotionally distant or damaged • frustrated with the childproof packaging to the point you have purchased a gun • have three or more erections at a time • have Jack’s magic beans lodged in your rectum • have been having vivid sexual fantasies about Richard Nixon and his little dog Checkers • have been thinking of picking up a new hobby, say, oh, stomach bleeding for instance.

When using this product • do not use a shotgun to administer the dosage. Take with a spoonful of lard if stomach upset occurs, or wrap the pill in bacon and trick yourself into taking it by placing it in a bowl of snack food.

Stop use and ask doctor if • he knows any proctologists who enjoy the whole “pull my finger” joke routine • If he has ever played a doctor on TV • If he finds you any less attractive just because he sees naked people all the time, because you are here in front of him, naked, free for dinner, and so lonely you have begun writing poetry and talking to the television.

If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use, particularly if you are male, if the children do not belong to you, or are over the age of eight, or if the blood from your stomach is tainting your breast milk, or you’ve decided to have eighteen children because you want your own reality show.

Keep out of reach of children. Keep children out of reach. Do not sell children on the Internet. Do not give out Ibuprofen to children at Halloween even if they fit nicely in a Pez dispenser. Keep out of the reach of Dick Cheney, especially if he is having a heart attack and an Ibuprofen might save his life.

Avoid excessive heat, particularly hell. Read all warnings and directions before use. Keep carton. Keep the faith. Keep your mouth shut. We know where you live.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010
Tribute to Humor


Brent Fisk: “This poem came out of an exercise during a summer workshop with Denise Duhamel. I just took the oddspeak one finds on the sides of most over-the-counter medications and stretched it out to its illogical conclusion. I’ve always been intrigued by the subtext behind most safety warnings, so this was a fun little thing to try.”

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