Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz

Article excerpt


It's funny how our senses embed our instances.

Instances that have been dormant for years can suddenly be resurrected and become part of our psyche. The smell of freshly baked cookies can bring back flashes of grandmothers orchestrating in the kitchen. The feel of a leather baseball mitt can conjure up images of summer camp. And a few bars of a commercial jingle can propel you back to another time. I'm plagued by an old TV jingle from the 1950's that I just heard on the radio. I'm currently considering electro-convulsive shock therapy to return me to neutral ground.

"Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz" was a popular TV jingle for the pain relief medication Alka-Seltzer. This popular aspirin based tablet was dropped into a glass of water and initiated an effervescence reaction. The "bubbling" effect was caused by a mixture of baking soda and citric acid reacting to form sodium citrate and carbon dioxide gas. The "Plop Plop" represented the sound of the one inch diameter tablets hitting the water followed by the "Fizz Fizz" sound of the dissolving tablets. Some radio program was playing famous TV and radio jingles of the past and I've been singing "Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz" in my head for several weeks. I even tried calling Bayer Schering Pharma, the German pharmaceutical company that owns Alka-Seltzer for assistance. I was hoping that their outgoing instructions would include "Press four if you can't get the "Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz" jingle out of your head. No such sophistication.

In my attempt to rid myself of this affliction I decided to learn everything I could about AlkaSeltzer since its launch in 1931. So here are some "take home" points about this panacea. The name "Alka" comes from the word "alkali" since it was designed to neutralize excess stomach acid, while the "Seltzer" comes from the production of carbon dioxide gas. In a brilliant Rube Goldberg design, this produces enough agitation to allow the active ingredients to dissolve slowly.

"Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz."

This is the equivalent of pop culture hiccups.

It was marketed as a cure-all with early ads suggesting taking it for something called the "blahs." While I live my professional life babbling in descriptive terms, words and phrases (why not call the curled up IV line an "Angulation obstruction" instead of a kink) the term "blahs" has universal appeal (probably not used in medicine due to reimbursement codes). …

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