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Would you die for clear skin or white teeth or good sex-on-demand? “Die” as in live no more? Most of us have made jokes about the disclaimers that run below the actors grinning at each other in TV ads for new drugs. “People who have used XXXX have experienced stroke, cancer, tuberculosis, heart failure, or sudden death.” What??? I mean, I like good sex as much as anyone, but dying seems like a high price to pay.
We pretend those warnings are for other, odd people—people not like us. We already know that many of our “necessary” drugs carry risks (i.e. statins can cause liver damage), so we’re used to ignoring warnings. We hate the idea of suffering—even small suffering. We want to feel and look young and healthy ALL the time or within seconds of swallowing the latest miracle pill. We want modern science to excuse us from the slings and arrows of outrageous discomfort. When I was a child and had a cold, my mother gave me tissues. Today’s children are in danger because they wore out the usefulness of many antibiotics on viral infections that didn’t respond to antibiotics. “Don’t let your child suffer!” scolds the advertisement. Give the child a pill and send him out to play again.
Why are drug advertisements so common on TV? Because people buy the products—regardless of the warnings. “Tell your doctor you want…” Oh yeah. Doctors love it when you tell them what to prescribe. And, is it just me, or is it common to see a “miracle treatment” one week and then a month or so later to see drooling personal injury attorneys waiting for your call so they can champion you for huge damage settlements due to injuries caused by those same treatments? “If you have experienced injury or sudden death due to XXXX, call…” (And how do you call after experiencing sudden death?)
What are our options? Exercise, good diet, and a fulfilling life treat many ailments effectively, but those treatments require self-discipline. (Not self-discipline again!) Life isn’t for wimps. Sometimes we have to suck up the fact that we live in bodies that will one day break down no matter what we do. If quadriplegics can find ways to sire children, can’t so-called able-bodied maturing people who’ve lost some old techniques find new ways to make sex pleasurable? Can’t we quit smoking or handle rowdy children using methods that don’t induce suicidal thoughts? What lover would rather have his or her beloved die than have to tolerate less-than-perfect skin or teeth?
If we’re really so shallow that we’d rather lose a loved one than endure less than perfection, maybe it’s time we check out.