What if life came with warning labels?



When I hear ads on TV for prescription drugs I sometimes can’t help but wonder just why people take them — because sometimes the side-effects sound worse than the illness.

You know the ads, the ones where a seemingly happy person is strolling down a beach, enjoying life while someone is doing a voiceover which describes some of the possible side-effects of the drug.

I love the ones that talk about the drug potentially causing suicidal thoughts, depression, various kinds of organ failure, constipation, hallucinations or memory loss. I sympathize with the people who have to suffer with the disease and the drug side-effects, but sometimes I question whether the side-effects aren’t worse than the disease.

Hearing some of these prescription drugs and their possible side-effects has made me wonder what some disclaimers about everyday life should be. You know, like before you make a decision or take some action a narrator comes on in your head and describes the possible side-effects of what you’re about to do.

Some possibilities:

• Internet gambling — “Those taking part in Internet gambling might experience a shortness of cash, the sudden urge to log on to their computer because they’re ‘feeling lucky’ or they may experience chest pains when they either lose or win really big.”

• Street racing — “Street racing is not for everyone. If you experience lightheadedness, upset stomach, road rage or a rapid heartbeat, street racing might not be for you!”

• Put compromising photos of yourself on the Internet — “Some side-effects of putting inappropriate photos of yourself on the Internet include constant embarrassment, a reduction in self-esteem, damage to your reputation and an urge to run and hide somewhere.”

• Binge drinking — “Before you take part in binge drinking, there are a few side-effects of mass alcohol consumption you may want to be aware of. These side-effects include poor judgment, lack of coordination, dizziness, unfriendliness or over-friendliness, headache, vomiting, inability to drive a motor vehicle (successfully), speaking before thinking (or without thinking) and making other bad choices you’ll regret when you wake up the next day.”

• Taking on a Mixed Martial Arts fighter without training — “Warning: Taking on an MMA fighter could be hazardous to your health. Some of the side-effects of being an untrained fighter facing off against an MMA fighter include profuse bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears; feelings of disorientation and confusion; loss of teeth; impaired vision (due to swollen eyes) and a lack of bladder control.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist. I was thinking this column could probably use a disclaimer of its own. “Reading this column can cause injury from rolling of the eyes, feelings of nausea, groaning sounds and an unstoppable urge to tear up the newspaper and throw it in the garbage.” ggould@mihomepaper.com

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