Saving Dougie from Chronic Laziness Disease

Nov 29, 2004

RAY: Our erstwhile Producer, Dougie Berman, was diagnosed recently with a rare disease -- chronic laziness. If not treated, it could be fatal.

The doctor, prescribed two different kinds of pills, and said, "They have to be taken simultaneously, at bedtime, every night. Take one from one bottle, and one from the other. It's the interaction of the two pills that is the key."

Dougie's got 10 pills in each bottle. But, if he makes the mistake of taking two of the same pill, he's done for.

TOM: What if he only takes one pill?

RAY: Done for, again.

He decides to convalesce at his remote mountain cabin, and he begins the six-hour drive to get there. But his car breaks down, and he has to walk the last 20 miles clutching these two bottles of pills -- the only thing between him and the Grim Reaper.

He arrives after dark. He's so weak that delirium has begun to set in.

TOM: How would he know?

RAY: Good question.

As he makes his way to the kitchen sink, he stumbles and falls and, you guessed it, he spills all the pills. When he wakes up, he finds that one of the containers has two pills in it, the other container is empty, and there are 18 pills scattered all over the floor.

He begins to gather up the pills. As he's looking at them he discovers to his horror that they all look alike. They're the same color, shape and size. There's no way to tell them apart.

He's getting weaker by the minute. But, he remembers that he has his very own, very accurate, "analytic" scale—the kind that a pharmacist would use.

But, by the time he weighs the 11th pill, his worst fear is confirmed. Not only do they all look and feel and smell alike but they all weigh the same.

There's absolutely no way to distinguish one pill from another.

Is there a way for him to take the recommended dosage and save his life, or should we let the Grim Reaper in and start looking for a new producer?
TOM: The first think he does is to take the two pills out of the bottle, right?

RAY: Right. The only hope he has is to take the pills that he has, all 20 of them, and grind them up into a powder, mix the powder up, and then divide the powder into 10 equal piles.

He can do it either by eye -- or better still --

TOM: He can get the scale!

RAY: Right. And he can take one, little pile of powder every night at the right time. Who's our winner Tommy?

TOM: The winner is Linda Jo Lockner from Black Hawk, South Dakota. And for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Linda Jo gets a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at Car where she can order the number one album on our charts right now, the new CD called Maternal Combustion: Calls about Moms and Cars.

RAY: Number one album on our chart? What charts?

TOM: I started keeping charts myself. We only have about six albums. It's easy. I do it on the graph paper, see this, look.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter