Friday, February 03, 2006


I was hanging out at the pharmacy this morning, as I like to do on Friday mornings, and I noticed an advertisement on the counter. It asked I felt distracted. Trouble focusing? Restless? Disorganized? Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Then it suggested I may have something called Adult ADD.

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Can you believe that shit? And guess what…there’s a drug to help with it! Can you imagine the luck??

There’s another name for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s called LIFE.

Listen…there’s a lot of shit going on in the world and trying to keep track of it all is not easy. All the gadgets and devices and technology invented to make our lives easier really only make things more complicated by giving us more things to keep track of.

Remember how nice it used to be before cell phones? If someone needed to reach you, they called you at home and left a fucking message. Today, everyone you know has direct access to your person at all times. And the shit you have to pay for now? There are cable bills, Internet cable bills, cell phone bills, and countless other niche services out there nickling and diming us to death. There’s IPOD and Blackberry and BlueTooth – and warranties and rebates to keep on top of for all of that shit. Pagers and PDA’s and phones that play video. Plasma televisions, LCD monitors, DVD recorders. And technology changes so frequently you’re always upgrading something to keep up with the times. A new television. A new computer. A new MP3 player. A new digital camera. A new car. A new satellite radio. How many big-ticket electronics did you buy over the past couple years? Growing up I had a single Atari 2600 system, television was FREE, and I shared a telephone with three other people. We didn't even have an answering machine until the mid-80's, so if nobody was home, you had to call back. Those were the days. People actually had time to spend and money to save.

Shit ain’t like that today. Folks are always on the go. Gotta stay connected. And with so much information at our disposal, it’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed. It’s not Adult Attention Deficit’s Busy Fucking World Disorder. More shit to buy = more shit to keep track of = less time for family = less money in the bank = A.D.D.

I’d like to update the classic Hasbro board game “The Game of Life” to be relevant to the times. There’d be plenty of new squares out there:

Try crystal meth – Lose 10 turns and $10,000

Your identity was stolen! – Lose 5 turns and $5,000

Your spouse runs off with a foreign artist – You’re single again!

Health care costs increase again – Pay $2,500

Child molested by Catholic priest – Pay $2000 in counseling for 5 turns

Insurance company refuses to pay claim on technicality – Pay $4,500

New home in suburbs much farther from work – Pay $100 per turn in gas

Hit and run drunk driver puts you in hospital – Lose 4 turns and pay $15,000

Your oldest son is an addict – Put him back in your car and pay $250 for 3 turns

Alcohol becomes a permanent part of your life – Pay $150 per turn

You’ve got Chlamydia! Wash your hands before every turn

Car towed again – Pay $50

Paternity test reveals you ARE on the father! – Pay $20000 per turn for 18 turns

Corporate scandal wipes out your 401K – Lose your entire savings

You’ve got lung cancer! – Skip ahead to House of Reckoning

War in Middle East takes the lives of half your children

Arrested committing armed robbery to feed family – Lose 20 turns, spouse, and kids

Move to Utah – Add 4 spouses and 22 children

You’ve been sued! – Hand all of your money to the lawyer on your right

Plastic surgery goes bad – Lose spouse and $20,000

Spouse has child out of wedlock – Lose spouse or pay $2500 per turn to raise child

New season of Survivor hooks you – Lose one turn

Hurricane blows through – Lose home, one child, 8 turns, and $50,000

Get hooked on designer drug to treat Adult A.D.D. - Lose $100 per turn and your sanity


Tara said...

It is true that most people do have Attention Deficit Traits and yes our modern society does contribute to those traits. But Adult ADD is real and those with it really do suffer.

I'm sure the medication that you saw advertised was Strattera which is made by Ely Lily. They have gone a bit over board with the marketing of the medication. But don't worry #1 is doesn't work very well and #2 it doesn't have the potential for addiction like other medications.

AYNtK said...

Oh, I don't doubt that there exist chemical imbalances that can cause real suffering. I know this firsthand. And I'm not going to pull a Cruise by suggesting all of our mental woes can be countered with a healthier diet and exercise. Surely, some people derive some benefit from taking some drugs. My issue is, indeed, with the marketing of these drugs. Instead of letting doctors test people and determine clinically whether or not pharmaceutical intervention is necessary, the drug companies rely heavily upon a pull-through marketing strategy. They try to make their products appeal to the broadest base possible so patients come to their doctors asking for them by name. Indeed - that is the call to action for virtually every prescription-based medication out there: "Ask your doctor about..."

But to get people hooked on the feeling that drugs are the answer, they have to first convince people they are suffering from something. Sure, a handful of people out there likely have difficulty focusing - and it probably drives them apeshit. But most people have varying degrees of difficulty focusing in general, so to paint this, or any, illness with such a broad stroke does a disservice to state our nation's mental health.

It would not be the worst thing in the world if pharmacy ads were completely out of the mainstream media. Let the folks who diagnose these things make informed recommendations on how to treat the symptoms that plague us...

And now I must attack my third cup of coffee so I can function today.