A few years ago, I watched a movie called My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It’s a comedy and, although I don’t find comedy funny most of the time, this movie made me think about things that, as a Puerto Rican, my family used to (term used loosely) do.
In the movie, the father uses Windex as a cure for everything. Pimple? Windex. Rash? Windex. One would think that the story was made up but idiosyncrasies like this are a reality in a lot of cultures. Mine is one of them although it’s not Windex that we use.
Growing up, our cure-all was Vicks VapoRub. Much to my dismay, it has recently changed.
On a recent trip to visit relatives (who shall remain anonymous for reasons known) I had a wrist splint on because of pain that I was experiencing due to a fall on vacation. When a person is injured or sick, friends and family all seem to become doctors. I was now the patient of well-meaning relatives.
Sitting around watching TV, the family member told me they had something that would help my pain. My first thought was “Oh, Vicks Vaporub” but I mistaken. A large clear jar of blue “gel” was pulled out, the top was opened and a large amount of the gel was slathered on my arm and wrist.
Hmmm … I thought. It has a menthol smell. The pain was starting to go away and for about an hour I was pain free. “This stuff seems to work, at least temporarily,” I told myself.
For the next couple of days, I thought nothing of the “gel” that was now being used on me every time I visited. Until, that is, I went to use the bathroom. While cleaning my hands, I noticed a huge tub of this gel sitting on the vanity and like a cat whose curiosity is piqued by trailing yarn, I picked up the large tub to see what was in this miracle cure. The large label read “Mineral Ice.” Oh, mineral ice, that sounds “natural.”
Hmmm … “Mane and Tail” — what a strange name. As I continued to read, my heart almost stopped. “Horses In Training: Use regularly before and after workouts.”
Oh no! What is this????!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it.
“After Strenuous Competition:
To temporarily relieve minor soreness or stiffness after racing, polo, hunting, jumping, roping, cutting, gated performances and dressage. Promotes faster, safer cool outs.”
I almost fell to the floor with uncontrollable laugher. The new cure-all is meant for animals.
I left the bathroom feeling foolish. “You should have known,” I told myself. “You should have checked. You know some people in your family have odd ideas.”
Quite honestly, I don’t believe my relative even read the label. Another relative had given them a clear jar of the gel and since it worked they continued to use it. Then this “other” relative gave them the large tub of “Mane and Tail” and they continued filling the large clear jar every time it was empty.
Upon leaving, I was presented with my very own clear jar of Mane and Tail.
Once I arrived at home, I looked up the ingredients. The main ingredient is menthol. I haven’t checked each of the other ingredients to see if they are okay for “human use.”
(Active Ingredient: Menthol 2%
Other Ingredients: Ammonium Hydroxide, Carbomer 934, Cupic Sulfate, FD&C Blue No. 1, Isopropyl Alcohol 11.2%, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Hydroxide, Thymol, Deionized Water.)
But, I just don’t think I can use it. My brain just can’t wrap itself around using a concoction that’s meant for horses. Especially since the warning tells you to see a veterinarian if you have problems.