The little man with the sweetness of Nirvana written in the creases on his face had given me the pill I’d long prayed for. It was the pill with the answer to life, happiness, why we are here, why there is evil, whether there is an afterlife, how to cure the common cold, and the meaning of it all. I swallowed it down with a shot of whisky, as he had instructed, and began the 24-hour wait for it to take effect.
That night, a resonant voiceover interrupted my dreams to warn of unintended side effects. “Caution—this pill may cause blurred vision, dizziness, tortured breathing, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, diarrhea, constipation, hallucinations, palpitations, sheer frustration, indignation, anger all around the nation, strange visions, delusions of grandeur, feelings of utter despair and insignificance, nightmares, daymares, I-just-don’t-caremares, myopia, dystopia, give-up-hopia, and the common cold. If you experience any or all of these, do not call your doctor—it is too late!”
As I awoke, the strange little man’s face appeared floating in the air like a balloon. “Perhaps I should have explained that the 24-hour period for this pill to take effect is a metaphor,” he said. “The actual waiting period is an entire lifetime, from dawn to dusk of the body and soul.”