Saturday, May 16, 2009

A shotgun blast to the chin and other alternatives to Prozac

(Photos are of my friend Caleb, Ashley and baby Mena hitting the garage sales, Ashley demonstrating the location of the anti-depressant G-Spot, us getting lost on the freeway and ending up at Treasure Island -- and visiting my mother's grave)

Aside from Viagra, anti-depressant medications are among America's top-selling drugs. Why is this true? What, exactly, have Americans got to be so depressed about? We have the highest standard of living in the world. We own hundreds of thousands of flat-screen TVs. We have iPods. We have Disneyland!

Who knows why Americans are so desperately depressed that they have to constantly pop pills, over-eat, use illegal drugs, smoke, watch kiddie porn, abuse their credit cards and/or drink Jack Daniel's or Night Train just to make it through the day? I myself haven't a clue. Do you?

My friend Caleb Schaber was having mental issues after spending time in Iraq and Afghanistan, couldn't cope with his life, got prescribed anti-depressants, didn't have healthcare insurance, couldn't afford to keep up his prescription payments, withdrew too quickly from his meds and blew his head off with a shotgun instead.

Hundreds of people have jumped to their deaths off the Golden Gate bridge. Why? Why? Why?

Ever since I was a little tyke, I've always looked on the negative side of life. This makes me a good blogger, but not a happy person. And what do I have to be unhappy about (aside of course from the fact that my country has been falling apart economically and morally since Bush and Cheney stole the 2000 election and let 9-11 happen on their watch -- but are still not in jail)? Not hardly anything. I have a decent place to live, wonderful children and grandchildren and Social Security. Plus I live right across the street from the Berkeley Bowl -- fresh vegetables and organic lamb chops year round? Count my blessings!

No one is waterboarding me.

I'm not working in a sweatshop in Haiti.

I don't have cancer, Parkinsons disease or AIDS.

What is wrong with Americans? What is wrong with ME? Why can't we stop bombing far-away countries, stop taking anti-depressants, leave off the ice cream binges, stop importing cocaine from Columbia, join Alcoholics Anonymous and just get on with being happy?

PS: I think I may have just discovered the human body's G-Spot of anti-depressiveness. I should patent it! I'd make a mint. Cheaper than buying shotgun shells, more convenient than scoring a Prozac prescription every three months, handier than Shock and Awe, less disruptive then Columbine, more reliable than booze, less time-consuming than psychotherapy and less expensive than the Pentagon budget, Viagra and shopping!

Here's what you do. Put your hands by your sides and then poke gently around with your fingertips until you feel a sore spot -- almost like you had a bruise there. Then press gently but firmly on that spot for a moment. For some unknown reason, this G-Spot of the mind releases endorphins directly into our brains.

"Jane, are you saying that going around clutching our thighs is a viable alternative to a multi-billion-dollar drug trade, our war-as-penis-enlarger federal budget and a pitcher of margaritas? That's crazy!" Maybe. Maybe not. Hey, it works for me.

PPS: I'm so sorry about Caleb -- a genuinely creative life wasted. Here's a wonderful memorial tribute to him by his friend Deb Prothero:

PPPS: Wanna see the quote of the day from my 2009 Franklin Planner? It's by Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful we must carry it with us or we find it not."