RECENTLY, the Wall Street Journal broke a curious story of such catastrophic social significance that no one could figure out why it was important. Bayer Aspirin is no longer putting plugs of cotton in its bottles.
No one, according to the Journal, has much noticed. I didn't, but in my own way I'll miss those useless stoppers. They were originally put there to prevent tablets from chipping and turning into powder as they jiggled in the bottle.
All the jiggling in the world wouldn't break the aspirins with the new high-tech coating. Goodbye cotton, another victim of relentless corporate efficiency.
I assume drugstores all over the country will follow suit with prescription bottles. I never understood why cotton was used, except as little symbols of stability in a changing world. I felt care was being taken for a good cause I could not fathom. Such steps will no longer be taken.
I'm on my own now, a little lonelier, a little more frightened. Progress.
Arnold Rosenfeld is editor-in-chief of the Cox Newspapers. His e-mail address: email@example.com.