By staff writer JD Rebello
September 13, 2006
This may come as a surprise to my loyal readers, but I have anger issues. I'm also depressed sometimes. I get anxious when I'm under the gun. I often get nervous in public. I have a tough time paying attention and I— ooh, pretty squirrel.
But you know what? I've never once taken a pill for any of this. The only medication I've taken in my entire life is Claritin for my sniffles. Other than that, I'm cleaner than a nun's sheets. What is my secret? Have I found God? Please. Am I in love? Come now. Is it because I'm a Pats fan and they kick ass? Well, that doesn't hurt.
Nope. I'm just rational. Society has a problem. It seems like every single person I know is taking some form of medication. For that small minority who do suffer from mental health issues, I apologize. Mostly I apologize for having to put up with people possessing much less serious symptoms and crowding the marketplace for prescriptions, hence raising prices and forcing people with real illnesses to flee to goddamn Canada for treatment. Whoever runs in 2008 should approach health care with the following mantra: “Stop Being a Bitch.”
“If they advertised a pill for people who suck at poker, thousands of you would march to Walgreen's for a bottle.”
How do I know that only a modicum of people suffer from the aforementioned maladies? Because this is a relatively new phenomenon. Not ten years ago did people decide to go prescription-happy to conquer every little problem in their pathetic lives. For hundreds of years we lived without prescription medicine and made it just fine. Christ, Abraham Lincoln fought depression and anxiety his entire life. Did he ever take a pill? No. He turned his aggression toward freeing the slaves. Imagine if Lincoln had popped a Zoloft. Our country would be divided racially and that would be… wait, bad example.
Anyway, despite my complete lack of credentials for aiding the mentally unhealthy, Dr. Justin is here to help. And by help I mean shock, offend and dismember. But you already knew that, and if you didn't, here's a pill.
Symptoms: You get nervous because you have to deal with some combination of the following: work, family, the opposite sex, friends, being a Cubs fan.
Diagnosis: Life is a nerve-wracking spectacle of Wes Craven-esque horror. If you go less than five times a year without worrying yourself to the brink of vomit, you must have an excellent pot dealer. You don't have anxiety issues and you don't have panic attacks. You have life. If you live anxiety-free, you're not living. And yes, this column is rapidly turning into a segment of Waking Life.
Treatment: I propose my treatment in the form of a question. What the fuck ever happened to hobbies? People make fun of me sometimes because I'm really into my fantasy baseball team. But it's a hobby for Christ's sake, something I enjoy. (Plus my team is the fucking balls. I have Ryan Howard, Freddy Sanchez, Manny, Chone Figgins, Abreu, Matt Holliday, Peavy, Nathan, K-ROD, Joel Zumaya, and most of you couldn't care less. But the ones who do, that team is deez, right?) Nobody has hobbies anymore. Especially women. I'm not going to get on my chauvinist soapbox again, but girls need hobbies. You can't go through life complaining about people and watching unwatchable reruns of Sex and the City on TBS. Get into things. Art, photography, excessive masturbation. Write a screenplay, there aren't nearly enough people doing that.
You know who I find interesting? Interesting people. People who are into history and literature and music (not Shakira, real music). The only interesting people nowadays are weirdo hippie liberals, and I'd rather get fucked up the ass by a buffalo than talk to one of them. If someone tells me they're working on a novel, I want to hear about it. Or if they're trying to visit all of America's ballparks, tell me more. Or if a girl tells me she's recently become a porn actress, I'm all ears. If you want to be interesting, be interested. (Ooh, that was nice.)
Anxiety is begat by people who have nothing better to do. If all you do is watch TV in sweatpants, when you face some kind of minor crisis at work or in a relationship, you respond with all the poise of a juggler who has Parkinson's. Start a fucking stamp collection.
Symptoms: You get sad because life isn't all fudge cookies and Boy Meets World reruns.
Diagnosis: Life is one upsetting shitstorm after another.
Treatment: Accept the probability of a bad day. I recently spoke with Dr. William McCue of the Chippewa Falls Neuroscience Institute and he said the average American has two bad days per week. Okay, so this sounds like a shaky medical opinion and to be perfectly honest I made up both Dr. William McCue and the Chippewa Falls Neuroscience Institute, but still. People have bad days.
A couple of weeks ago, I moved home. Into my old bedroom, exactly as I left it five fucking years ago. We're talking Blink 182 posters, a framed picture of Drew Bledsoe (in a Patriots uniform) and one of my medals for playing AYSO soccer (everyone got medals, so don't be under the false conception that I was good). Anyway, I have no job, no girlfriend and the most exciting thing in my life is seeing my PIC feedback top DeGraaf's. You'd think I would be slashing my wrists and doing pushups in rubbing alcohol. But I just relaxed, and the next day I felt a little better about myself.
Do I get down on myself from time to time? Of course. I'm a writer. Nobody who's happy with their life becomes a writer. But I've come to the realization that every so often I'm going to be the Israel to Life's Palestine.
And not for nothing, put your life into perspective. Why are you so sad? Did they close the Krispy Kreme near your house? Were you raised a Detroit Lions fan? Did the dog take a dump on your third-favorite pair of shoes? Americans are so full of shit. Live in the Middle East or Africa for a few days and see how depressed you'd get. There are millions of people in this world who wonder where their next meal is coming from, and we're popping pills because FOX canceled Arrested Development. Unbelievable.
Symptoms: You're afraid to be out in public.
Diagnosis: You either hate people or they hate you. Or both. I refuse to believe that's just me.
Treatment: Accept your social limitations. I'm sick to death of clubs. Sick. To. Death. First, you put up with some jock itch bouncer with a God complex who busts your balls for having an out-of-state ID and cargo pants. Then, you spend five dollars on a cover. Then, you spend six dollars on a bottled Budweiser. Then you try to talk to a girl who's clearly not interested and you can barely hear her say “fuck off” because that God-awful “Every day I'm hustlin’” song is blaring through the speakers.
I prefer to go to the bar with a few friends, sit at a table, drink a few beers, and talk about shit. I also like going to the movies and shooting pool. But I hate dancing and putting up with trendy pretentious nonsense. Basically, if I have to go to a place in which ever single person is wearing a black shirt, I probably don't want to be there. Does that mean I need Paxil? No. I just don't like bullshit.
Symptoms: You can't pay attention. Anyone else feel like flying a kite? Ooh, let's go for a bike ride.
Diagnosis: The mother of all made-up bullshit. When I hear a parent claim their 9- or 10-year-old kid has a tough time paying attention, so they pump him or her full of Ritalin, I want to puke. Wait, so your child has a tough time paying attention in school? How very odd that a little kid can't maintain absolute focus while spending six hours a day indoors learning about arithmetic.
There are a lot of college kids reading this (and thank God because I'm tired of 14-year-old girls friending me on Facebook… you broads realize I can't write columns in jail, right?). Anyway, college kids, how many of you have a tough time paying attention in class? During my senior year, I didn't take one note. I either did Sudoku or a crossword puzzle or imagined kickass trades to make in Madden and keep myself under the cap (I gave Tom Brady a raise—sue me). Do I have ADD? No. Class is just fucking boring.
Treatment: That's why the Sox should sign Zito. He has American League experience. They need a lefty starter beside Lester and they have the payroll to make a big free agent singing. Wait, what were we talking about?
Are there people out there who seriously suffer from these ailments? Of course. But it's not nearly the number who sign up for prescription medication. The problem is, if you set a precedent for something, people will inevitably follow the trend. If there was a commercial tomorrow advertising a pill for people who suck at poker, thousands of you would march to Walgreen's for a bottle. People would be popping it on their plane's descent into Vegas. The World Series of Poker champ would make a big deal because he took the pill, too. My friend Tom would take it, because he SUCKS at poker.
It's the same in reality. Do you feel bad about yourself? Have a crappy self-image? Well, some kindly pharmaceutical company has invented a pill that makes you feel good. Side effects include acne and bloody stool. Instead of going the normal route of having a good personality and/or drinking a lot, people go the medicine route and that's not healthy. Especially the bloody stool part.
So what's my suggestion? Glad you asked. Find an outlet. Every so often I get in a real bad mood. I used to lash out at my friends and family. Now I have a college humor column that lets me bitch and moan to my heart's content and people actually read it. Now before thousands of you email Court with your poorly written shite, let me add, that's not for everyone.
Find a hobby. Build something. Write. Draw. Fix up a car. Collect stuff. I'm only 23. I've known people who have died. I've been rejected by girls I thought I was in love with. I'm in that awful transition phase after college where I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing with my life. And I'm positive a lot of you have experienced that, too. There's nothing wrong with you. And if a doctor tries to tell you there is, just do what I do and switch the rectal and oral thermometers when he's not looking.
There's no pill for fucking up your doctor's shit. Well, at least not yet.