Drug Culture

Our many attempts to cut the cord finally succeeded when we disconnected AT&T U-verse and switched to wireless Internet and content streaming. Six months in, we’re satisfied with the freedom from channel surfing and the ability to choose what content from which services we want to watch.

Besides streaming, we grab over-the-air-channels using the Antop HD Smart Bar HDTV & FM Amplified Antenna, which I highly recommend. Occasionally, my wife or I will let some broadcast station fill the living room with sound and even entertain the cats. Surprising: How outrageously often commercial breaks fill with pharmaceutical ads. Their number is seemingly endless. I will walk by, roll my eyes, and wonder: Is America really such a drug culture?

People of a certain age may remember animated series “Underdog“. Shoeshine Boy would pop a pill from his ring and become heroic “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” The not-so-subliminal message—borrowing from Jefferson Airplane song White Rabbit: “One pill makes you larger”. (Goodness, hounds and hares.)

How many people seek solutions in drugs, whether prescribed or obtained on the street? Add alcohol to the list, too. I am not a drinker, by the way, and also avoid pharmaceuticals or other substances. Even after fracturing my arm 20 or so years ago, I resisted painkillers. Hurting is a warning that should be heeded not muted. Perseverance paid, and I probably recovered quicker.

All this leads up to the Featured Image, taken today using iPhone 13 Pro at Fashion Valley Mall here in San Diego. No words can appropriately convey my reaction to passing a vending machine pharmacy. On the more benign side, you can buy cough drops, deodorant, face masks, shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Also available, in multiple brands: antacids, antihistamines, cold medicines, eye drops, nasal sprays, ointments (soothing and therapeutic), and painkillers (wow, lots), among other (so-called) remedies. Need a bandaid, condom, or feminine hygiene pad? You can buy those, too.

I see the vending machine as a symbol for so much that is sick about our society (and for which no drug is the remedy). Among the, ah, ills, there is the: aforementioned over-reliance on pharmaceuticals as feel-good cure-alls; obsession with convenience and immediacy; and reluctance to experience any kind of discomfort (which on the social level includes words that make people feel bad; you know, so-called hate speech).

Enough said.

Photo vitals: f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/120 sec, 14mm; 11:28 a.m. PST.