by Amy Minton
Living with depression and anxiety, I fluctuate between two levels of energy: sloth-immobilization and meth-agitation. You know what I'm talking about? Sure you do. You're a middle-aged woman, and according to my gossipy pharmacist, "Honey, everybody is on the meds." And honeys, I am ON THE MEDS.
Now, in the sloth-like manner of the depressed, I allow my prescription vials to stack up unrecycled. I'm just too focused on the elusiveness of my childhood dreams to scrape off the labels and chuck them all into the recycling bin. When the meth-level anxiety hits, odds are zero that these vials will rank anywhere near "SOLVE GUN CONTROL CRISIS" on my to-do list.
If you, too, experience the overmedicated pendulum swings of the average American, may I recommend a creative end to the madness? Use those empty vials to construct replicas of all the wonders of the world!
Hell, people like us are too depressed and anxious to travel, so let's sweep the crap off the dining table and construct our very own versions of Close Encounters mashed potato mountains.
PREPARATION: First, obtain a big-ass black marker to redact any private information from your prescription labels. Yeah, you're too lazy to scrape those labels off, but you're never too depressed to take a big-ass marker to anything: walls, your face, pictures of your ex, etc. Why do this? Because you are going to post your artistic genius all over social media for the promise of sweet, sweet accolades. And so what if you're advertising your medicated state on the Internet? Remember: "Honey, everybody is on the meds."
CHALLENGE 1: STONEHENGE
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: EASY
What is Stonehenge but a haphazard circle of rocks, some standing and some leaning? This is easy-peasy, but oh-so-satisfying to create.
First, form your ring of stones. Then knock over two or three, and lean just as many. Adjust until you are satisfied with the structured-yet-ruined look to your mini-henge.
Now, for authenticity, remove the vial at the top of the circle and place at a distance. This will be the "heel" stone. Add a vial across the top of two at the opposing end of the circle. This will be a "lintel" stone.
For added fun, place a small flashlight behind the heel stone, then peek through the frame provided by the lintel stone. By golly, you just simulated of the solstice sun alignment!
A pageantry of wonders just unfolded where you usually binge on your comfort carbs!
CHALLENGE 2: GREAT WALL OF CHINA
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: MODERATE
For this you will require extra materials: two or three books of significant heights. (Look to the white male authors to provide desired effect. Here, I used Shakespeare and William Trevor, but Tolstoy or Dickens will do.)
First, remove the caps of your vials to create a winding path along your table. At random intervals, place a vial to act as a tower.
When your winding path is complete, insert the white male authors under two sets of towers to create the rolling hills.
Look! The miracle of human productivity that can be seen from outer space is now snaking its way across the table where you discomfort your dinner guests with surprise fits of sobbing!
CHALLENGE 3: ANGKOR WAT
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: HIGH
This 400 acre, 12th century Khmer city is not only an UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also the Seventh Wonder of the World. For this, you need to bring your A-game.
First, the additional materials: the lotus bud-shaped towers don't lend themselves to the prescription vial shape, so find a tall, conical item for the centerpiece. Here, sticking to the prescription-theme, I'm using my beagle's medical ear wash.
If needed, use a prescription vial to add height to what will be a central tower. Then build your external mound by encircling the tower with vials.
Here's where things get tricky. Using your mad Jenga skills, add levels of vials to the tops of the bottom layer, ensuring that they all rest slightly off center, as if sloping toward the central tower.
When you become frustrated, declare victory. Quickly photograph the model before it falls. Apply a glamourous glow filter to suggest religious mysticism and South Pacific heat [Ed: and maybe a fancy frame too!].
You know what will never be the same? Using your placemat to dry your tears of disappointment and regret! The vision of this ancient marvel will stand tall, if not slightly catawampus, before your glassy eyes!
NOW TAKE IT FROM HERE!
There's no end to the ways you can arrange your empty prescription vials to summon the miracles of our great planet as a balm for your defective brain chemistry! Within minutes, you can build a Parthenon (have fun finding a triangle thingy that rests atop a row of eight vials!), a redwood forest (just add wilted plant leaves from your failed experiment in gardening!), or Petra (aka, that rocky relief where Sean Connery almost died in that Indiana Jones movie!).
One woman's trash is another woman's treasure. In this case, though, you are that same woman... in that schizophrenic way that requires pharmaceuticals.
Next time on How to Upcycle Your Empty Pill Bottles: How to Turn Your Bookshelf Into the Mesa Verde Cliff Palace
Amy Minton lives in San Antonio with her understanding husband and Buddha-like teen son. She is the keeper of many hounds and the sipper of varietal black teas. She is friendly and bitchy.