Friday, October 19, 2012

Killed By The Cure

Last night while watching TV a commercial appeared that went something like this. (Note: imagine this being voiced over by a minor celebrity from the Seventies whose career stalled after several DUIs.)
“Is your life so empty that you don’t care your kids are now covered in tattoos heralding a Zombie Apocalypse, or that your spouse has a house account at the Embassy Suites and a credit card receipt for a strip pole in his hotel room?  Or that you’ve broken the tail-wagging mechanism on the formerly exuberant golden retriever that now whimpers and drags his butt across the carpet when you walk into the room?”
The TV screen showed a dreary montage of average looking folks with long faces and tragic expressions— the look of French aristocrats being marched to the guillotine. The colors were washed out—the cheerful colors of Mordor.
“If this sounds familiar you might be depressed. But you don’t have to live with depression. Ask your doctor about Happiva!”
The screen suddenly exploded with color, as if Ludwig Von Drake from Disney’s Wonderful World of Color had liquefied a rainbow in a blender and flung the contents at the screen.
“Happiva! One pill a day will set you back on a path to happiness and fulfillment, convince you that life is again worth living, cage the negativity monkey that has been flinging poo at you.”
The morose, colorless folks at the beginning of the commercial became giddy as munchkins, smiling and dancing like a house had fallen on a wicked witch. These transformed users of Happiva, never filmed actually taking the drug, were now shown taking childish delight in simple things, holding a grandchild’s hand in a park, walking on the beach with a frolicking pooch, looking into the eyes of a loved one with that come hither look—wait, that’s the boner commercial with the separate bathtubs. Anyway, you get the picture. The drug manufacturers pushing Happiva were promising a miracle in a pill. This is where I sat up and took notice—the side effects.
The narrator started talking faster and hundreds of words in miniscule print appeared at the bottom of the screen. I listened closely.
“Before using Happiva be sure you’re not pregnant and are able to tolerate a three month detox program to wean you off Happiva. In certain instances test groups have displayed tendencies toward:

#1.  Diarrhea. —Nothing my own cooking hasn’t caused.
#2.  Painful urination. —Managed this in college after a batch of funny brownies.
#3.  Constipation. —When God gives you cement, make bricks.
#4.  Nausea. —Maybe I’ll lose a few pounds.
#5.  Excessive Flatulence. —I’ll hang out in my basement and write the next great 
       American novel “Fifty Scents of Grey.”
#6.   Weight Gain. —So much for losing a few pounds.
#7.   Emotional Distress Leading to Instances of Rage.— I’ll work this out on the 
#8.   An Oily Rectal Discharge You Can’t Control. —Are you sh**ting me?
#9.   Loss of Interest in Sex. —I thought the last one was bad.
#10. Sexual Performance Issues. For men, the inability to maintain an erection; for  
        women, sexual urges when confined to solemn places like church and PTA 
        meetings. —This could be awkward.
#11. Swelling of the Tongue. —Might as well include this one in #10.
#12. The Inability to taste certain foods. —Only your favorites. Broccoli, spinach and 
        liver will taste just fine.
#13. Reduced Tolerance to Alcohol. —How will I muster courage to entertain friends
        with fabulous impressions?
#14. Physical Dependency.  —What’s in this crap? Crack?
#15. Memory Loss. —Will I remember that I’m now worthless in the sack?
#16. Joint Pain. —Your fingers will be too sore to roll one.
#17. Increased Body Odor. —I doubt anyone will notice the difference.
#18. Hair Loss. —Hopefully this refers to hair on my back.
#19. Reduced Ability to Tell Right from Wrong. —Finally, a true benefit and plausible
        legal defense.
#20. Feelings of Suicide. —What the F**K!!!!!!!

Okay, I admit to some exaggeration. I’ve borrowed some of these side effects from products other than Happiva but currently on the market. But I swear #20 is true. I mean, what’s the point of taking medication to address your depression if it makes you want to eat a bullet sandwich? Or commit a crime…while having an uncontrollable oily rectal discharge?
It troubles me to admit that writing this post has depressed the hell out of me. I think I’ll take a few pills, steal a car and drive to a park to yell at some kids. When the cops show up I’ll blame it on the Happiva.


  1. Yeah I think all these depression medicines warn about thoughts of suicide. As you wonder, why bother with the pill then if it'll make me MORE suicidal? Then there are other ones that maybe it could help with your arthritis or prevent pregnancy, but one of the side effects is DEATH. Oh, but only a small amount of people might die from this medication! It's like playing Russian roulette.

  2. I just love to read the side effects of some medications. Makes you scratch your head indeed.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  3. Well done! This is SNL worthy- I actually snorted in a few places-

  4. lmfao... Those are awesome. It blows my mind to hear the side effects of the drugs today and even more so to think that people actually take them. PEOPLE MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE AN OILY DISCHARGE FROM THEIR ASSES!

  5. While it can be said that I have a WEIRD sense of humor, to me there are few things funnier than the side effects of modern pharmaceuticals. I did a post in June 2011 called the Drug of Choice (I think that is the title??) anywho...that was about side effects as well and I thought is was pretty funny. Strangely, no one else did.. seems to be the story of my blogging life.

    I love the ones that say, If you experience any of these side effects or DEATH, discontinue use. REALLY? That just cracks me up!!!! I want to send them an email and tell them "There are a few other things I might give up in the case of my death but damn, I am not going to quit taking your product."

  6. OMG, it's all so true. I listen to those disclaimers with an absolute sense of awe that anyone could be so bad off that they're willing to trade what they now have for, say, #20. It also makes me wonder if some of the drugs that are currently illegal (cocaine, for instance) might be better, overall, for the poor souls who are prescribed these things (because I know damn well it always made me happy, except when I ran out of it.)

  7. My computer has been down for days so I'm just catching up. I think when they have to list side effects on medication they just have to cover every possible thing just to cover their backs. I avoid taking any drugs if I can. The thought of crapping in my pants all the time puts me off. :D

  8. Great, great stuff!

    When I take medications I don't want to know the possible side effects. I like being surprised, and my friends can make a game out of what comes next. ;)


  9. I'd say they ought to pass a law banning ads for prescription drugs on TV -- as you suggest, what the f**k, you're supposed to get them from your doctors not from a TV ad! -- but then you wouldn't have had the material to post this hilarious piece. So . . . worth the price.

  10. I think my Doc must see those ads on a regular basis. Every time I question whether I should take medication for whatever is ailing me at that moment, she starts with the list of side effects I might be privy to as a result. Puts me right off. Maybe that's her idea eh?

  11. That "feelings of suicide" side-effect has always made me a bit nervous. The listing of all the side-effects is absurd in hyper-speed on a TV commercial. They've got a much better way of doing that here (boilerplate telling you to consult your doctor and pharmacist), although the side-effects don't change! Although I am a strong believer in meds for depression (and so many other things), I wonder if advertising them does more harm than good. Shouldn't we just see our medical professionals (good ones) for that?

    I blame #18 on my meds...

  12. If people really listened to the list of possible side effects, I doubt if anyone would take anything--* then where would the pharmaceutical companies be?

  13. It's the law that they list "possible" side effects, even if it's only a one in several thousands chance.

    The theory with suicide from "happy pills" is that you were so depressed before, you couldn't even get up the gumption to do yourself in, and this makes you feel better enough to get there.


  14. I love your blog but I'm going to cease commenting on it because you don't comment on my blog. I don't know if you even follow me. I'm too wounded to continue adoring you. I need love and attention -- desperately.

    No more love,

  15. Seeing the depressed people at the beginning of the commercial is what makes me depressed. How about we put them in one of those Febreeze sets, and tell them to snap out of it, be glad they aren't living in a filthy room on a broken-down couch and smelling a fishy kitchen. Or living in that stinky mom-van. I know. Depression is a real illness. It's the actoring that gets to me.

  16. The side effects of most medications advertized are worse than the conditions they claim to treat, thought of suicide being the most common, hell I don't want to kill myself now, so why don't I take one of these and see what happens.

  17. SNL once did a parody listing increasingly drastic side effects including one that seemed especially memorable. Ever since, when hubby and I hear one of those commercials we both add: "children born with the head of a cocker spaniel." Thanks, SNL! And thank you too, CC.

  18. if you want to see a bunch of people walking around like the Zombie Apocalypse has arrived you should try the London Underground, where an employee of Transport For London was allegedly sacked for announcing over the tannoy "passengers are reminded that it would not kill them to smile from time to time"

    As for happiness - you can't buy it or take it in pill form. But you may well be able to get a slice of it reading this post - your comments on the side effects really cheered me up

  19. I think I am scarred for life................ So the happy pill is not so happy and with the problems it creates you get to enjoy some of the side effects with others............... or not depending on the side effect. Now your post is truly like a real happy pill becuase it brings laughter.

  20. That's modern life style to you. Packaging of happiness and that too, ineffective, not to mention, the sheer opposite effect it might have on you. And the list of these side-effects made me 'happy' about the fact that I am not and will not be using Happiva. So, in a way, it did not fail altogether, hahaha. :D

  21. In Canada there is the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS)and in the U.S I'm sure there is something similar. It's an annual publication for doctors that lists all the drugs and details about them as well. Death is mentioned in some context related to most of the drugs. All drugs have side-effects, as you discovered with the drug mentioned in the commercial. As for drugs to treat mental illness is sad when you think how many are suffering with some form of disease(s). The mind is a complex puzzle. Any mental illness is nothing to laugh about.

  22. There is a certain time in the evening -- perhaps around the news -- when ads for drugs descend upon the American people. Listening to the side effects with that oh so sympathetic and supposedly soothing voice -- it's like a comedy routine -- that isn't. Between those ads and the political ones I wonder in awe that people haven't gone stark raving mad -- or have they?

  23. This is funny, funny stuff, Stephen! Just bottle your blog, slap a label on it, and there will be no need for happy pills anymore. :)

  24. we live in brave new world. a pill for everything.
    funny side effects, probably true!!

  25. It was born of wit, but there are truth and consequences in your "expose review."

  26. The pharmaceutical industry at its despicable best, Rectifying all those imaginary biochemical imbalances in our brains!

  27. After reading that list, I think your actions would be completely justifiable. Happiva sounds like it covers any many of sins--and if fact, probably generates most of them.

  28. Gotta love those side effects! I always pay close attention to all those ads, especially since I want to see how many of those cause one's rear end to turn into Mount Vesuvius.

  29. I love how the side effects always sound like they are being read by the world's fastest talker so that you can't understand or catch how the cure might be worse than the disease