In a column fretting that prescription painkillers "have become more plentiful than popcorn," it quotes Dickinson as having written: "First we seek excuse from pain."
Actually, excuse from pain was second on Dickinson's list. Here's the poem:
The heart asks pleasure first,Also, wouldn't "excuse from pain" be the fortunate lot of those who don't need painkillers? It's "those little anodynes" in the third category that the D-News worries are too ubiquitous.
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering,
And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.
I've got a toothache today, so I can totally relate to Dickinson.