Opium and My Trip to The Doctor

Poppy Seed Bagel

September 23, 2013–

As Seinfeld fans are well aware, there is a famous episode where Elaine gets into all kinds of problems at work because she tests positive for opium (Season 7, Episode 126).  As it turns out, she tests positive because she was eating poppy seed bagels.

Many, including I, have wondered about, and the Internet is full of discussion, on the scientific possibility of Elaine’s test outcome.  So today, I asked her about the scientific underpinning of the poppy seed/opium link highlighted in the Seinfeld episode, and she told me that newer testing technology is sufficiently precise that Elaine would not have the problem today.  However, she added that the older technology was not that sophisticated so a false positive was possible.

But as they say in the infomercials, “Wait, there’s more!”  You see, although nothing like what I now know thanks to my Dr., I already had some dated “liberal arts” insight into the topic.  The Seinfeld episode was aired in 1996.  Just a few years before that, somebody I know had to postpone starting a job with a major pharmaceutical company because…you guessed it.  The person had consumed poppy seed bagels and was told by the company to clean out for a week before she could take her mandatory drug test and start.  Her new boss was none-to-pleased but understood.

So of course, as I left my Dr.’s office, I felt triumphant about the newly acquired “state-of-the-art” education about opium and testing she gave me and strolled home with my head in the clouds.  I should have known better.  About 3/4 of the way home, a group of school-girls,  perhaps 7-years old, were walking towards me blocking my path.  Before it was too late (i.e. before they ran into me), their teacher yelled at them, “Don’t knock the man down.”

My head came crashing back to earth.  Did I look that frail?  What did the teacher see when she looked at me?  My Dr. had just told me I look well.  Did she really think I look well?  Am I well?  I admit in this story that I’m not the strongest guy around, but seriously, only three (3) of the girls were totally in my path.  And anybody could tell they weren’t on the juice.  Just like Kramer is dominant as the only adult in his kids’ Karate class (Seinfeld episode 135), I really could have taken the girls.  I think.  Harumph.


(* The Big Milkshake has never tested positive for opium and will do anything to avoid fighting 7-year old girls.)

(* If you would like to read more about false positives, check out a New York pot dealer here.)