Gut Rumbles

May 06, 2006

seeing red

When I read this post, a lot of painful childhood memories came back to me in a blinding flash, much like what I once saw just before I hit the ground unconscious after my Uncle Virgil nailed me right between the eyes with a well-thrown baseball. I'm just glad that the baseball knocked me out without breaking the skin on my forehead; otherwise, my mama would have doctored my wound with mercurochrome (or merthiolate--- whichever one it was that burned like the fires of hell) and I would have screamed like a girl.

Man, I hated that stuff. Now, it's banned by the FDA, a move that occurred about 40 years too late to spare ME from it.

I remember how Mama used to swab that stuff on my open wounds and, in a futile attempt to ease the burning, blow on it, while I howled like a banshee. The stuff left a stain on the skin that resembled dried blood, and it didn't go away until it WORE off.

After I grew old enough to be conniving, I learned to hide my cuts and abrasions from Mama, lest she reach for the mercurochrome and abuse me with it. I was willing to take my chances on developing gangrene--- I was a lot more afraid of mercurochrome than I was of an amputation.

Kids today don't know how good they've got it, the ungrateful little wimps. No wonder we're turning into a nation of pussies. Instead of mercurochrome, they've got stingless antiseptic sprays for their bo-bos. And wussy-assed band aids with Muppet characters on 'em.

Whatever happened to the concept of, "No pain, no gain?" Suffering builds strong character. Mercurochrome gave you some backbone.

Of course, kids today probably don't require the kind of doctoring I got from my mama. It's hard to cut yourself on Gameboy controls.


My grandmother used to care for me during the days while my folks were at work (early 80's). No matter what kind of scrape, cut, or other injury I may have suffered in my backyard adventures, Nana always reached for one of two things: Mecurochrome (the bottle of which was easily 20 years old) or the other old stand-by, Campho-Phenique. I definitely remember the burning and the staining of skin. But mostly the burning.

I'd like to believe I did develop quite a backbone thanks to Nana and her Mercurochrome.

Posted by: DAve on May 6, 2006 10:09 AM

To ease your mind a bit... I am 34 and my wife and I just had our first child. He is 7 months old.

I am looking forward to "abusing" him by raising him traditionally... which means ass whoopings when he deserves them, no computers/video games for a looooong time, family dinners eaten together every night as a family, and a parent that will actually stay at home and be a parent. No neglecting the child in a daycare 9 hours a day.

I wish I could say that I know a lot of people who feel the same way as I about how to raise their children, but I don't.

But at least there's me.

Posted by: GORDON on May 6, 2006 10:52 AM

We always called it "monkey blood." I still remember the stinging. Sometimes, if Mom couldn't find any, she'd use rubbing alcohol. If it stings, it must work. Right?

Posted by: Dash on May 6, 2006 10:59 AM

Just so you know, kids today DO hurt themselves on thier gameboy controllers. They get repetitive motion syndrome. Like Tennis Elbow and Plumber's Knee.

It's called "Nintindo Thumb."


Posted by: lamont cranston on May 6, 2006 11:50 AM

I remember monkey blood...oh man, that stuff stung like the fires of Hell and Lord help you if you got it on your clothes. I have fond memories of whimpering as my Mom tried to convince me that "the hurt means it's working, dear. Just blow on it and the sting will go away..."

It's like the old cough syrups, that tasted like sweaty ass. They seemed to work all the better--because they tasted so horrible, your body was damn-well DETERMINED not to get sick again for a long time afterwards. Nowadays, kids think cough syrup is liquid candy. My son asks for it all the time, even when he's not sick, and then he gets upset when I refuse to give it to him without a legit reason. When we were kids we didn't have to worry about child-proof bottles, because we didn't WANT to suck down a mouthful of horehound syrup. Unless you were some sort of masochist, that is...


Posted by: Denita TwoDragons on May 6, 2006 12:27 PM

Yep, I remember the stuff and also iodine. The damn iodine was worse than the monkey blood when it came to burning. But we only got that stuff on the minor cuts and scratches, the jajor ones got doctored up with Corona..a teat balm that has lanoniln and campher in it.

Posted by: GUYK on May 6, 2006 01:03 PM

My Mom's disinfectentant / bactericide of choice was turpentine. I remember her telling us to "kwithcher bawlin, dammit, it ain't gonna kill ya" It didn't either, all seven of us made it to adulthood and none are in jail or politics.

Posted by: Gerry N. on May 6, 2006 01:53 PM

...and then there was stinky Campophenique, along with the cure alls mentioned above.

Posted by: vicki on May 6, 2006 02:36 PM

I remember Methiolate. That stuff was hideous. It had staying power. Alcohol would only sting for a few seconds, but methiolate would haaaang in there. I thought: the next time I cut myself I'm running away from home.

Posted by: Chris on May 6, 2006 06:44 PM

i rember all that stuff when i was a kid.had the whooping cough one time mama fed me a shitload of sugar with a few drops of coaloil..

Posted by: billfry on May 6, 2006 08:00 PM

When we were teens, we'd shake up a few drops in the suntan oil. Our 'tan' lasted all summer with very little effort.

Posted by: Tessa on May 6, 2006 08:39 PM

My father isn't gonna be happy there. He loves Mercurochrome when he cuts himself working in the workshop he built.

Ah well.
iodine is still around at least.

Posted by: Mythilt on May 6, 2006 10:12 PM

One of the "advantages" of being a TV junkie as a kid was that I rarely got serious scrapes. I remember my grandma kept an aloe plant on the breezeway and would break off a tip to slather on any wounds that did occur.

Now while kids today don't develop character because they're playing their gameboys all the time, they can't be said to be completely safe either. For example...

Posted by: Jason Bontrager on May 6, 2006 11:11 PM

Holy shit, I forgot about that nasty stuff. My grandma would put it on my owies too.

Posted by: Maeve on May 6, 2006 11:38 PM

The best stuff was black salve. I can't recall the technical name, but whenever we got cut or scratched up, we'd clean the wound, get out the black salve and bandage it up. I don't know that was in it, but it always worked like a charm, without burning!

Need to go find that stuff...

Posted by: the other Steph on May 7, 2006 09:16 AM

That stuff was a badge of honor, that damn bottleof cod liver oil was also killer. I think the enema and de worming for the summer months was just a local treat..

Posted by: jamesoldguy on May 8, 2006 07:35 AM

Yeah, I remember Methiolate. My dad tortured me with that crap.

Posted by: Tina on May 8, 2006 10:01 AM

The black salve is called Iodex. It has the consistency of Vaseline, but is water-soluble. It also contains black granules of I-have-no-idea, but it works better than Neosporin ever thought of!

OK, I'm done now...

Posted by: the other Steph on May 8, 2006 06:38 PM

Hey Steph, the real black salve is made of 4 herbs and it is used on skin cancers. Check out the info at Amazing stuff! I personally hated iodine as a kid, that was mom's favorite torture liquid for scrapes and cuts!

Posted by: Chris on July 20, 2006 12:30 AM

I remember both "m" medicines, proxcide and alcohol and ithimol aka black sab. They worked, we hated them, but that was what was available way back then. I dont blame my mom it is what she was taught from her real "nurse" mother. I was telling my daughter about that stuff the other day.
Too many marketed garbage that dosent work is for sale. Snake oil anyone?

Posted by: nellie on April 22, 2008 06:27 AM

Methiolate is the one that burns, Mercurochrome does not. I wish I could get some more methiolate I think it worked best.

Posted by: Bud Blasingame on July 23, 2008 04:16 AM

Nothing wrong with methiolate! It works! And it only burns for 1 minute... yep, I timed it! :-) We used it in the army on our blisters... draw out the liquid with a syringe, inject some methiolate, curl in pain for one minute and curse the medic, but the next day you can walk again. ... don't do this at home kids!

Posted by: Koos on December 9, 2009 04:45 AM
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