Meet our writers

 







Humor January 2016

The Hippocratic Oaf

Are Your Grandchildren Drugged? Hey, Your Grandparents Did the Same Thing!

By Daniel Crantz

Finally, in 1910, the New York Times decided the whole narcotic-babysitter concept was probably bad in the long run, and ran an article pointing out that these soothing syrups contained, "...morphine sulfate, chloroform, morphine hydrochloride, codeine, heroin, powdered opium, cannabis indica," and sometimes several of them in combination.

Kids today take a lot of drugs, and I mean the legal kind, prescribed by a doctor to address a host of ailments. Most grandparents are leery of this generous drug treatment and look to their own children (The Parents) with some concern – fearing their kids may be Parental Pandering Panacea Perpetrators.

This refers to parents and the pharmaceutical industry with alliteration not heard since Peter Piper the pepper picker picked a peck of pickled peppers.

But I would like to point out that Peter could not pick pickled peppers as the process for pickling happens over days or weeks after picking. Pickling is soaking the peppers in brine or vinegar, so it is not possible to pick pickled peppers unless Peter was in the supermarket picking jars off the shelf. But still he would not pick a peck as this an agricultural term referring to a measure of harvest. Bushel is the larger, and peck and smaller basket/container, leading many a farmer and pepper picker to sing “I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and hug around the neck” much to the dismay of city people who are understandably embarrassed by this proclamation of love.

What if you have feelings for this hypothetical farmer that are not as strong -- say only a “quart and a pint, and maybe a future handshake?” Not much of a song, but now everyone is embarrassed. Or the rejection many of us have experienced: who hasn’t heard those painful words, “I love you a half-bushel.” This is why some people will not date farmers.

But I digress. You see, 120 years ago we had a real problem with the marketing (pandering) and distribution of powerful narcotics to children. Yes, I said children. Some of you are reaching for the phone and have already dialed 9-1- but before you dial that last 1, calm down, take a chill pill (preferably an SSRI which we’ll get to later).

In the late 19th century and early 20th century a powerful elixir Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup (mostly heroin) was marketed to children. It was good for just about everything, including: teething, colic, earaches, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and disobedience.

See, back then kids were annoying and stupid, unlike today. Back then “children should be seen, not heard.” It was an embarrassment to have an unruly child. So what do you do with the terrible 2s, or a hyperactive 5 year old? Simple – give them a cocktail that could wipe out an entire fraternity party on a Saturday night. Each ounce of Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup contained 65 mg of pure morphine. Finally, in 1910, the New York Times decided the whole narcotic-babysitter concept was probably bad in the long run, and ran an article pointing out that these soothing syrups contained, "...morphine sulfate, chloroform, morphine hydrochloride, codeine, heroin, powdered opium, cannabis indica," and sometimes several of them in combination.

So it was a heroin, chloroform, codeine and marijuana mix. Thank God they didn’t throw in alcohol; we might have had a problem! 

But what about today? We truly care for our children: they are bright and well-dressed, they eat healthy and don’t even play in the front yard. And most importantly, our children are not annoying and stupid, so there is no reason to drug them.

Unfortunately – with the exception of your grandchildren – most kids today are annoying and stupid. Did you know 99% of 8 year olds only have a 3rd grade education? See, not that smart! Where do you think all the annoying and stupid adults come from?

Kids are different today and parents would never drug for social reasons. (Even if the seven year old is secretly Harvard bound and now seems depressed.) Kids today are all “equal” which is why they all get trophies. Even if they lose, or even if they didn’t go out for the team, they still stand a good chance of being a champion. If a child strays anywhere near a podium, a proud adult will appear and with ceremony, music and lights, bestow an award upon the unsuspecting child.

No wonder these kids need drugs, but no more Soothing Syrup. It’s different today, we have a new set of drugs – the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – Prozac being the most recognizable of this drug family).

For many years doctors have argued that these medications are overprescribed. But like Soothing Syrup these SSRI meds are good for just about everything, a panacea for the following ailments, per Wikipedia: depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, stroke recovery, and premature ejaculation.

If there is some poor soul out there that has all six of these ailments he surely sees Prozac as heaven-sent. Wow, one pill and I feel happy, not at all anxious, no urge to constantly wash my hands, I have lost weight and I am no longer paralyzed by the stroke. (I left off the last disorder because we must have SOME dignity).

Do millions of kids (only in America) require these drugs? Well this is for doctors to decide. Thank goodness we no longer drug kids with Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup. We have outgrown distributing drugs to children so they conform (or perform) to our expectations!

My grandmother used to say the more things changed the more they stayed the same. I never knew what that meant and at great risk I used to go play in the front yard. So are we the parents of parents that perpetrate the pandering of panaceas?

I don’t know, but I do know one thing, the pharmaceutical companies “love us a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around our wallets.”

 

Laughter is the Best Medicine, unless you’re asthmatic!

 

Meet Daniel