Bromides! Whether in the chemical or the cliche form, life isn't as savory or functional without them. But contrary to where this post might seem headed, I'm not going to poll you about your favorite bromides (David's already done that, anyway). Bromide--or 'mine--was discovered by a 23 year-old French chemist in 1826; it resembled chlorine and iodine, but was neither; it smelled terrible, thus the Greek bromos, meaning stench. As it evolved, it was used to treat "hystericals" of all sorts, usually in a potassium bromide. When I was nervous--but not yet hysterical--before a job interview, someone recommended I take some bromides. I felt as though someone had prescribed me mead. But lo, there is a homeopathic form called kali bromatum (aka the more imperial "Bromide of Potash"), and I'll have to testify that it worked. I suppose the logic was that if I injested some bromides before I went in, I wouldn't feel any compulsion to unleash any other kind of bromides.