So, two weeks into my American Summer, and the main thing that's striking me is not how fat everybody is (though they are) or how old the average person is (though they are) but how medicated everybody is.
Seriously, it seems like everybody around me -- relatives, slacker and successful friends, authority figures and counter clerks alike -- is seriously messed up.
Whether it's the telltale stoner eyes, the jabbering of meth users in shops or just legally-prescribed medications and cocktails, it seems like everybody's on something. Hell, a little kid even offered to sell me crack while I was riding my bike around a crappy neighborhood the other day. (Remember this is a town of 60,000 people.)
Part of that is just a natural result of the aging population. Anti-depressants and muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety drugs and painkillers. But there's plenty of that shit floating around.
If you watch commercial TV during the day, it seems like all you see are ads for restaurants and junk food, and medicines. Sleeping pills, hypertension medications, erectile dysfunction medications -- all stuff that you probably wouldn't need if you didn't eat at restaurants all the time and eat junk food. Capitalism is tricky that way.
I was never much on prescription pill type meds, myself, and I'm also limiting myself to no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day, and I often don't have any, mostly just out of general contrariness.
As for the anti-anxiety medication, of course, plenty to be anxious about -- enormous heat wave going on and a massive storm just knocked out power to more than a million people on the east coast. People fill their cars every week with crap at the Target and WalMart and yet still somehow lack the basic supplies necessary to survive a week without electricity.
One of my favorite medication commercials. About half the run time is dedicated to describing the various awful side-effects that could await you, while showing a woman sleeping peacefully.