Sunday, January 22, 2012


At what point in life do we automatically become walking pharmaceutical reference manuals? This seems to sneak up on you. One day, someone makes a comment about their dose of Lipitor, and you actually know what they are talking about. Not only do you know what it’s for, you wonder if it’s something that should be in your morning arsenal of tablets and capsules.

I never noticed my parents doing this when they were my age, but then again, I would have been ten, and who cares at that age about what weird things your parents discuss. There are some things you just do not want to know about, and while the contents of the medicine cabinet might not be at the top of the list, it’s definitely in the top ten.

To be fair, part of our ‘knowledge’, and I use that term loosely, comes from television ads and full-page spreads in golf and travel magazines. We are inundated with people telling us all day long what pills we should be asking our doctor about. The fun thing about that here, though, is that where medications that require a prescription are concerned, the drug companies can advertise, but they cannot use the name of the product and the condition it’s for in the same ad. We get to see the man skipping down the street, and the Viagra logo at the end of the twenty-second bit, but we cannot know what it’s for. All we know is we have to ask our doctor for it because it will make our lives so much better... despite the side effects of liver disease, kidney disease, loss of vision, incontinence, confusion, high blood pressure, body parts falling off, stroke, heart attack and death. Not to worry, though – they have pills for all those things too. Soon we will be like the Jetsons, and just pop a giant pill every morning and that will give us our medical and nutritional requirements for the day.

But when does it happen to us? One day, we find ourselves sitting around the card table, sipping decaf because it’s after 11am, discussing drug names like we used to discuss rock bands or movie stars. Now we can’t remember the stars or what they did (and who watches movies anymore? They come on way too late), and the rock bands are just too damned loud, what with all that bass thumping in your ears. Yes, we’re boomers, and Viagra has become the new Rolling Stones in our world – definitely not a change for the better.

By means of protest, therefore, I propose that we toss caution to the wind. Let’s drink the good coffee, watch the movie and sing We’re Not Going To Take It as loud as we can every time one of those commercials comes on. We can do… the coffee will help.

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