Decal Matter

My sister lives in an apartment complex, in one of those places that has the pool and the clubhouse and all that, and those delightful speed bumps every 6 feet throughout the entire parking lot, which should come with a ribbon-cutting ceremony if you ever manage to make it out (suspension damage notwithstanding).

Her leasing company doesn’t allow tack holes or nail holes or screw holes or bullet holes of any kind in the walls, and they fine $50 PER HOLE! Even if it’s just a tack that holds a mirror up to society! No holes. No exceptions. No mercy.

So, her apartment is pitifully bare, other than the decorations she managed to put up, and believe me, she got creative. She is a decorative person, and always has tapestries and posters and blankets and pictures and paintings and all types of shit all over the place at all times. Ancient coins and shit. So, the “Fifty bucks per hole” bit is a little restricting, and it sounds like a proposition, if you ask me. Even though my sister made the place look nice, there was still… something… missing. And I knew what it was.

I called around to 17 different decal companies, asking for them to make a custom decal for my sister. (See, I told you I knew what she needed!) A decal leaves no holes, it’s customizable, reusable, and I knew my sister would be responsibly diligent with keeping the paper backing so she could transport it to whichever room seemed most appropriate, and probably to future apartments because of how awesome it was. I found quite a few companies who would be willing to make a custom decal, but none that would make the one I wanted.

It was frustrating. Weren’t they listening to my story about her leasing company, and the trials of decorating without puncturing the wall? Obviously not, because some representatives didn’t even respond when I sent them the prototype, and two of them actually engaged in a thread about how they were a “family startup company,” and how “profanity” doesn’t lie within their family values, and thereby, not within the scope of their business! Good DAY sir!

You’d be surprised how many people got offended. I guess the customer isn’t always right. This customer wanted a decal that depicted beautifully scrolled lines, curling around one of life’s great questions:

“Can We Get A Muthafuckin Moment of Silence… For This Small Chronic Break?”

Not only would they not answer the question at hand, but they were unwilling to make the decal for me, too. Obviously someone (a bunch of em) needs to take a muthafuckin moment (a bunch of em) of silence.

At first, I said “There’s not even any profanity in there!” But then I read it again, and realized I was overlooking the word ‘muthafuckin,’ oops, but because I wanted to preserve the quote, I couldn’t bring myself to censor it. Who wants a decal of a f*@#&ing censored word??! No one. That’s who.

I was kinda mad, because of a few reasons, but the fact that many of those decal companies would have gladly printed “Kickin’ Ass” for an ATV or truck, was really upsetting me. It was a double standard with which I could not compromise. I know for a fact they would have done that, because I live in the boonies, as they’re called, and everyone out here has a big ol’ truck, and the louder they are, the dumber the driver seems to be. Everywhere you look, someone has decals bearing clever sage-like phrasings, such as “Pantydropper” and “Put It In The Mud,” but nothing about a chronic break. My sister lives in the city, so a “Kickin’ Ass” decal was out of the question.

I realize this is ridiculous to complain about, since our “melting pot” of a country is currently overflowing with marginalized people, including (but not limited to) people who can’t even get a cake or flowers for their gay wedding, people who can’t get prescriptions filled because the pharmacist has personal views about why the patient has/needs them, and people who are being denied jobs, housing, and entry into open spaces just because of the color of their skin. I shouldn’t consider this decal thing a big deal, and I don’t, really. I just operate on principles, and big or small, I don’t like policies where the owner/operator can pick and choose and be selective based on whatever criteria they choose at the time. This country is a playground for that kind of thing, especially nowadays, and it’s sickening to see people grin as they defend their exclusiveness. They know they’ll be backed up by hundreds, if not thousands, of people who think just like they do, and there’s strength in numbers. There’s false confidence in numbers. And even worse, there is collective ignorance in numbers. For a Live In Color demonstration of this, one needs to look no further than facebook.

As much as the internet is a place that is generally devoid of expectations of honesty, facebook is a glaring example of the blind following the blind. I am currently in a case study of a GenerationX-illennial who is successfully quitting facebook after ten years, so I would like to speak minimally about this particular viewpoint right now (I could, and definitely will, go on about it) but let me just say, in an effort to further my point, that we have the Great Pumpkin as our president because of facebook. That’s how bad facebook is: shit doesn’t need to make ANY DAMN SENSE for it to become reality, as long as enough people believe it.

How did I get to this, when I was talking about decals and stupid company policies?

Ah, yes. Stupidity rules. How could I forget?

Maybe I should ask for a decal that has the American flag in the background, and it says “Stupidity Rules” in Comic Sans in the foreground. Sometimes, when you type things out, or say them out loud, it becomes clear how stupid it sounds, and I think this decal idea would most likely get me arrested… unless I put a nice rifle on it. Americans like when there’s a rifle and a flag, because it’s a symbol of freedom and toughness. Kickin’ Ass.

I don’t know if I want to be an American in a time when Kim Kardashian – who came (ahem) to fame, via sex tape – is in the Oval Office doing anything. Listen, I’m glad that woman was set free, instead of serving life for a non-violent drug crime. I think she should have been set free a long time ago, and I think there are thousands of people who are still in prison, who will sit there for years to come, and they should be out of that system. But there is no celebrity going to bat for them. There is no viral video getting them attention. The prison industrial complex is an issue that doesn’t get nearly the attention it should, and it never will, because there is too much profit to be made.

That being said, there HAD to have been someone prior to Kim Kardashian, who vied for a pardon/change. She is absolutely not the first. There have been victims’ families, attorneys, protesters, lobbyists, and human rights groups who have taken the same approach toward a change in legislation for non-violent first-time offenders of drug crimes, and nothing was done. But because she’s famous, and she’s interested in ONE high-profile story, the president has taken action. Where is the Kim Kardashian for all of the other people, whose lives are just as valuable, but their stories lack the glitter of a viral video? Why does it take a celebrity, who is literally famous FOR BEING FAMOUS, for our president to take action? Because our president is a celebrity.

That was a sad sentence to type. Hence, the pause for nausea. There’s a clever portmanteau in there somewhere, and I’m missing it, because I’m sick to my stomach over this morally bankrupt bullshit.

Okay.

Don’t let me start down the road of inappropriate actions, failures to act, and just completely wrong things he has tweeted and said. I’m not here to recite his presidential rap sheet. I’m just sickened by the dumbing down of this country, and the shallow things in which the president (and then, the population) places value and interest. I wouldn’t trust him to lead me on a tour through one of his buildings, much less lead me through life as a citizen. How is he in charge of anything? Oh, that’s right: facebook.

So, if you haven’t guessed, I live in the United States. If you’re not from here, let me describe it for you: it’s like a big apartment complex, with lots of dumb rules, and it’s hard to navigate around the place. The property manager got hired by trickery (fake resume, probably; no work history, but the references were impressive!) but hey- there are flashy amenities to keep you appeased while you wait to die. I mean, while you live your life. The property manager refuses to fix any of the major issues with the complex, such as the plumbing, heating, wiring, foundation, or roof, but instead spends his time trying to find the best gardener, so his landscaping can take your mind off the fact that it’s just lipstick on a pig. He knows the best gardener, because it’s totally someone you’ve heard of. He’s the best. That’s why everyone knows him. This complex is gonna look great, to everyone passing by.

My part of the complex of America has legal cannabis, which is pretty nice. It’s a good amenity, I think, because a lot of other buildings in the complex are full of pills and miscellaneous injections (including injections of your own body parts, just stuck into another part of your body- ughh), and that’s no way to live. That’s not to say there aren’t junkies in my building, because… there are SO many. It’s an epidemic here. More tenants need to be smoking cannabis in my building. Not literally the building I live in. That was still part of the metaphor.

I think cannabis is a much better option than a prescription drug habit, which I have discussed before, I’m sure, and so I probably also said “Hey, I know not all prescriptions can be replaced by cannabis” so you don’t have to remind me that not all prescriptions can be replaced by cannabis. Like, I know diabetes isn’t going to be cured by it. But it can help you cope with symptoms of a myriad of illnesses and diseases, as well as the side effects of the necessary medications and treatments you do need, and your doctor is not going to offer to tell you about it. What a great person to put in charge of your health.

In fact, I have had doctors purposely perpetuate outdated information, when I asked them to confirm studies in cannabis use for migraines. That was years ago, and it’s common knowledge now, but she was counting on the idea that I hadn’t done my research. Obviously, doctors aren’t telling you the whole story. You should do some reading (do your research!!) and decide what you really believe.

Do you believe you need all of those prescriptions? Do you believe every word that anyone else in your life says? Is there anyone else, besides possibly a significant other, that you trust that much? Probably not. Then why a doctor? They’re just another person, walking around living their own life. Why just blindly believe what they recommend, especially where it concerns how they make their money? It’s not your doctor’s job to care about you. It’s their job – meaning they are getting paid – to treat (not cure) you, and they get more money if they can get you on a regimen of pills, which makes you what they call a “repeat customer.” They just also have to not do any harm. They don’t have to even keep you alive. And did I mention that they make money off your ailments? Why would you put unconditional trust in them?

Ask your doctor about medical cannabis. See how they respond. They treat you like a pariah. Ever had the nurse ask you “Do you take any street drugs or marijuana?” That’s a loaded-ass question, because NO, I don’t take street drugs, but YES, I use marijuana, in a variety of ways to enhance my health and life. You know what I DON’T use? The array of prescription pills that have been “suggested” over the years, that I didn’t need, that I would get addicted to, and then need supporting co-prescriptions for, and probably have some pretty gnarly side effects to deal with. I don’t do those things. Aren’t you gonna write that down on your little clipboard, doctor??? I have no idea why medical professionals are still grouping those things together, you know, since cannabis has been proven to kill cancer and prevent seizures, and crack was invented by the government, to kill people of color. Same thing, right?

All too often, doctors jump to prescribe an anti-depressant for someone who is just sad.

When did it become wrong to feel sad?

It’s a natural human emotion, just like happiness, but we never see a doctor prescribing a drug to buff out the happy times. We live through those moments. Just like anger. It’s not that anger is a bad thing; it’s the way you let it affect you that matters. Feel the anger. Think about why you think you’re mad. Then think about where the anger is truly coming from, if you’re being honest with yourself (even if you can’t be with honest with others, start inside your mind). Don’t project the anger outward. Learn about what makes you angry, and explore it internally. If you still need to vent the anger, break shit… preferably in a place where nobody has to worry about being impaled. And preferably not some shit you’re going to wish you hadn’t broken.

If you don’t want to break anything, that’s perfectly understandable. Being destructive can sometimes exacerbate things. So instead, I suggest you scream into a pillow! Like, at the top of your lungs. I used to have a stuffed animal that I would bite as hard as I could, when I was mad. I would get my teeth around his stupid face, and clench like the world was about to end, and I remember feeling the clinking of his plastic facial features on the side of my teeth, and trying to bite through the eyes when I was particularly mad. I never bit one off, or in half or whatever. I just wanted to get my anger out, and I didn’t want to hurt anyone.

When I’m sad, I feel the same way. I want to get it out of my soul, but I don’t want to hurt anyone with it. I’m a humanist. Not everyone wants to make sure nobody gets hurt. So they tell their doctor, “Hey, I think I want to hurt people.” The doctor writes it down, and that is enough to warrant a prescription for a psychoactive medication, which (as they tell you) increases the risk of hurting yourself or others. Instead of just working through the feelings, you’re instructed (chemically altered) to suppress them, and just hope the feelings go away. While your doctor is out golfing, you’re in your bedroom, sweating and crying, and getting the jitters, and when you’re able to even fall asleep, you have crazy nightmares that seem real. Your doctor isn’t going through it. The only time they’re going to even think about it, is the next time they see you in six weeks, to see how the medication is working. Getting through six weeks of chemical adjustment, seems like way more work than doing the permanent fix of understanding your emotions. But I’m no doctor.

The point is, we follow the advice of people who see us for maybe an hour per year. They don’t see you at your most vulnerable, and are most likely not even listening to most of what you’re saying. I know you think your doctor is great, but you should think about that shit a bit deeper. Of course they’re nice to you, when they know you’re paying for their time. I could fake a nice bedside manner for 20 minutes at at time, if I knew I was going to be paid well for it, because that person essentially only exists when they’re paying me. Just like you, to your doctor.

I know a bunch of people who are doctors by profession, and they’re kinda pieces of shit in real life. I’ve also worked in medical offices. They catch up on your overall story right before they walk in to see you, and they type a lot of stuff while you’re answering their questions, so they miss a lot of what you’re saying, and then they’re essentially just cross-referencing symptoms with a database. If you have an ongoing issue, and you’re seeing a specialist, same thing. You matter while you’re there. What about all of the other days of your life, when you’re not paying for their time? They see a multitude of patients, and I promise you, they’re not at home thinking about your health and well being. If you’re suffering, oh well… it’s just a fact of medical science that there will be a rough adjustment period to new medications. Do you want to get better, or not?!

And to make you think about it even deeper, I can tell you that I also know a few pharmaceutical reps, and they aren’t bound to secrecy when it comes to their stories. They get an easy six figures, and all they have to do is push the latest lab creation. And do not even get me started on the embarrassment of clinical trials that don’t last long enough to gather real information, or that fail to report horrific findings. I swear, there could be a video installation of clinical trials gone wrong, PLAYING IN THE WAITING ROOM of every doctor’s office, and people would still put full faith in whatever they’re told. It’s an obsession, to the point where we’re unable to do anything but constantly turn the other cheek on the bad things. It’s like we have unlimited cheek-turning ability, and we’re twirling like drag queens through the halls of hospitals, asking our doctors about the new drug we saw on TV.

“Is it right for me, doc?”

Everyone these days is so hung up on their appearance, and preserving their youth, and afraid to feel emotions of any kind, and we’re so overloaded with preservatives and pesticides and vaccinations and medications and hormones in our milk and our chicken and our beef, and everyone needs a trophy or they’re “at risk,” and everyone needs to keep having sex all the time or something is “wrong” with them and they need to fix it… there is a neverending market for pharmaceuticals, and doctors know they’re going to make money off prescribing them to you, month after month. And as the medication starts to plateau, you’ll need to up your dose, and possibly take a “stabilizer” or an “inhibitor” or a “booster” because you’re strapped the fuck into the pharmacoaster now! Enjoy the ride, courtesy of your doctor. Did they forget to mention that you’ll be charged hundreds of dollars per month for the rest of your life?

No? They didn’t mention that up front? I bet they mentioned how highly they suggest that you start taking it now, in a low dose, which really just means they can charge you for more stages of the medication, because you’re definitely going to eventually be on the “highest dose for you.” That’s when you need the co-prescriptions. Cha-ching! (For the doctor, not for you. You’re gonna be broke.)

And don’t even think about trying to quit one (or – GASP! – more) of those prescriptions, to save money, or ease side effects, or whatever. If you do, your doctor will shame you. First of all, that’s shitty, but, second of all, it’s legal. Also, you’re gonna be in detoxification CITY!! You may do things you normally wouldn’t do, such as harm yourself or others, or possibly even KILL yourself or others. But hey, those are side effects of most medications anyway.

Even if you yourself are not on medications, there is a high (heh heh) chance that most of the people around you probably are. Many of them are being over-prescribed, misdiagnosed, or unmonitored, which creates a chemical imbalance, and puts you all at risk. At any moment, someone around you could snap, because of a trial medication they were “adjusting” to.

Think about how many kids are being diagnosed with ADHD every day, just because they’re more excited than other kids, or because they aren’t constantly happy and accepting, or because they do things a different way. You may (or may not be) surprised to learn how many children are being made to feel like they’re NOT NORMAL, just because they feel their emotions. Just because they live in the feelings, and show them. Just because they feel their emotions, but they don’t match what someone else says is The Standard. They are medicated, because someone says they’re not normal, and there is literally no medical evidence to support the need for this “normalizing drug,” but the parent trusts the doctor, and starts the chemical re-programming of their child. “Medicated” is the new “normal” when every kid is so doped up, that nobody feels anything anymore. Everyone can be the same.

If every kid that has ADHD were gathered in a room, and we conclude that 80% of them are being medicated for it, they’re most likely on a medication that alters their brain chemistry. I know, some parents don’t go that route, which is why I said “most likely” so calm down. If you give a child or pre-teen (or even a teenager) a brain altering medication, you’re attempting to re-wire something that is not yet complete. The human brain is not fully grown (for that person’s life) until the mid-twenties, so until then, the brain is still growing. If you give a child a brain altering medication, thus setting off a chain of chemical reactions in the brain, they will start to focus on an activity they know they can master, and in this country, sadly, that’s usually video games.

Think about the percentage of people you know, not just family, but people you know from work or school or community or nephews or friends’ kids, who play first-person POV games, such as Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, etc. I’m sure you’re familiar with quite a few. When a child or teen becomes focused on these games, in the midst of a chemical re-programming, their brain starts to assimilate the game into their emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills. The game content imprints on their brain, because as it’s growing and changing, the brain develops coping skills to get through life (ie, the fire is hot, so i’m not going to touch it) and many of the scenarios in those games are not something these children/teens will likely encounter in their lives. But, the content gets loaded into their brains, and when everyday conflict does come along, they use what they’ve accumulated for problem-solving tactics, and that’s why we have so many instances of young kids shooting each other, and such rampant bullying and violence. The medications help them center on the game, and their brain can’t tell the difference, because it’s in standby mode.

This all sounds like a narrow view of an otherwise larger problem, but it’s merely a slice of the pie. I am by no means trying to leave anything else out, to suggest that mental health isn’t equally important where it pertains to medicine and our country’s violence problem. I could lecture for days, but where this is an already lengthy post, I have to say I’m surprised that anyone is still reading at this point. It can be alienating, to talk so openly about the damaging side of pharmaceutical medication, because such a majority of the population is currently taking a medication of some sort. They don’t want to feel like they’re failing at caring for themselves, or making a wrong decision, and I’m not trying to make anyone feel that way. It’s YOUR health, and you don’t deserve to feel like you need to be “normal” by anyone’s standards.

Everyone DOES deserve to know the truth about their health being sold for profit, and everyone deserves to know there are other options out there, not just the ones your doctor will make money from. IF you choose to explore that information, which I highly (heh heh) suggest, you may decide it isn’t for you, but at least educate yourself on the truth. There is so much misinformation surrounding medical cannabis, because it’s so sustainable and beneficial, and it threatens the pharmaceutical industry as a cash cow. If more people took advantage of the benefits of medical cannabis (eating edibles, using concentrates, or vaporizing are all great methods, if you’re not a smoker), they would see their health improve, they would see saved money, and they would see that they’re spending less time thinking about what time/day they took this pill or that pill, and less time going to the doctor. But mostly, doctors would see that they’re starting to lose money they would otherwise have made through prescribing medications to you. Medications you probably don’t need. Nobody wants to see their money taken away from them, so they’ll just keep doing what they have to do, to keep the money moving. Even if that means putting you on 10, 20, even 30 prescriptions at a time. The side effects are your problem.

Next time you see your doctor, ask them if getting a muthafuckin moment of silence for a small chronic break is right for YOU.

-jg

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