Don’t call me Ishmael, call me a nerd’s nerd. For a kid who grew up in an era when drug subcultures were rapidly rising, I surely emerged into the ultimate square.
Some of my friends, however, dabbled in mild recreational drugs. Mostly marijuana. Being politically inclined, I quickly embraced the idea that pot should be legalized and stocked at the supermarket. And, by all means, place it in proximity to a generous array of munchies to satisfy one of the drug’s major side effects — a craving for junk food.
Oh, the evils of side effects.
As a college kid, I became addicted to domineering females. Anyway, that’s how I perceived all of my girlfriends. Mostly inflatable women. The side effect? These would-be dominatrices bamboozled nerdy little me into gracing parties where the hosts served booze. Now you’re talkin’. Where had booze been all my life? Who needed drugs?
But, guess what? Booze itself qualifies as a drug. Who knew? No warning label on a bottle of booze existed detailing the drug’s side effects. Had that been done, my two ultra-nerdy brothers and I certainly would have never been kicked out of an exclusive eatery one night for dancing together atop our dining table.
When it comes to side effects, however, prescription drugs beat out pot and alcohol big time. For a time, even me sweet little Irish mom became a user. Let me qualify: Due to her obsession to stay forever slim, Mom talked her doctor into a prescription for diet pills. Those were the days when doctors commonly issued amphetamines without a second thought about side effects.
Consequently, Mom became an irregular chatty Kathy. She never lost her sweetness, but she was known to chitchat at lightening speed, nonstop, for up to two hours. And ambitious? She busied herself with one activity or another from sunrise to sunset and beyond.
Once, during one of my Christmastime visits, I was sleeping off one-too-many beers. It was past 3 a.m. when out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. And what to my wandering eyes should appear but a side effect that rarely accompanies beer.
Oh, hell no! There was Mom vacuuming the sidewalk. When Mom noticed my watching her, she waved maniacally. I shrieked in horror and pointed to the cop who was coming up the walk.
As we age, prescription drugs qualify as a blessing and a curse. Oldsters need these meds, but the drugs’ side effects can exceed even some of the hallucinatory frights that dear old dad encountered from smoking bananas in his reckless youth. (He still refuses to discuss the side effects of Viagra, but I digress.).
Worst of all are the commercials for prescription drugs. A holy terror. The FDA requires drug companies to list a drug’s evil side effects for TV ads. That simply means that most one-minute airtime ads use 45 seconds summarizing the drug’s side effects, which include everything from diarrhea to death. That leaves only 15 seconds to embellish the drug’s exciting benefits.
As I age ever so gracefully, even my beautiful body requires certain over-the-counter products, like multi-vitamins. They counteract the side effects of what is commonly known as Tired Blood. That’s when the iron in one’s blood turns to lead in one’s butt.
I especially recommend specially-labeled senior citizen vitamins. Even for you young people. But don’t be surprised if you suddenly experience a strange craving for horehound candy. We, of a certain age, do so love our horehound fix. Shhhhhh!
But it’s easy to detect a horehound user. Especially one who overdoses. Yes, horehound candy conjures up wicked side effects: mostly fun secretions. What kind? you ask. Oh, like watery eyeballs, post nasal drip and, if you suck down too many horehounds, it can even cause outrageous leakages — in regions which shall remain nameless.
With my nerdy system, a horehound sugar kick rates worse than a caffein overdose, inducing direful insomnia. It’s nearly 3 a.m. and I’m wide awake. That sidewalk of mine looks like it could use a good vacuuming.
— Steve Eskew
Retired businessman Steve Eskew received master’s degrees in dramatic arts and communication studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha after he turned 50. After one of his professors asked him to write a theater column, he began a career as a journalist at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This led to hundreds of publications in a number of newspapers, most of which appear on his website, eskewtotherescue.com.