Friday, June 7, 2013

Just take the pill!


Fish oil.  It seemed innocent enough.  Cod.  Who knew? 

It’s a gateway supplement.

All right, I said after the cod.  Why not?  A little B12.  Some D3.  Tiny caplets.  I wash them down with my multi-vitamin, silver formula, because, you know, in your “golden years” it makes sense to go silver.

Glucosamine for my gravely knees.  And some kelp.  What’s the harm?  Seaweed for goodness’ sake! 

Then, when the guy in the nutrition store said it would save my brain, it was a no-brainer (sorry!) to add one more supplement – a tiny dash of L-Tyrosine

And suddenly, I’m in league with Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez

Hello.  My name is Carolyn, and I use performance-enhancing drugs.

It all began when I was a simple One-a-Day girl and University College London first published evidence of the declining intelligence of humankind.  Dr. James Thompson, honorary senior psychology lecturer, reported research detailing a substantial falling-off in man’s general brainpower between Victorian times and 2004.  Precisely, 1.23 IQ points per decade or fourteen IQ points total since 1884.

It was distressing.  And I couldn’t leave it alone.  Oh no.  When a simple “so what?” would have sufficed, I just had to get out my rototiller. 

It wasn’t long at all before I turned up this haunting piece of information:  Our smarts haven’t only been shriveling since Victoria waved her wand.  The fact is, our human intellect has been on a downhill march for the past, oh, I don’t know, 3,000 years!

That’s right.  In an article called “Our Fragile Intellect,” Stanford biologist Gerald Crabtree says that human intellectual fitness has seen a “slow but steady decay” since before Cleopatra kissed the asp!  Decay!

Crabtree blames it on our slothful lifestyle.  According to him our wits have been waning since we were freed from a state of 'survival by thinking.'

Evidently, up until then, all that looking over our shoulders, clubbing wooly behemoths and berry gathering kept our synapses snapping.

We must have been flippin’ brilliant back in the day to lose so much gray matter continuously and still be able to lift our forks to our mouths.

And now, in the age of high-powered juicers and Slingbox, we are careening toward imbecility.  And coupled with that, I’ve been coloring my gray for a long, long time.  

So I began reviewing my recent decisions – these stretchy bicycle pants, for example.  Really dumb.  And why did I cut my own bangs?  Dumber!

OK.  I had to accept it.  I’m getting dumberer.  Thank you Mr. Crabtree.  And thank you University College.  Thanks so much for bringing up a painful subject.   

On top of the constant barrage of “helpful” admonitions from our mothers and grandmothers that “as we age” multiple and sundry disagreeable and frightening things overwhelm us, we now have the scientific community calling us stupid and backing it up with research!

I had to do something.  So I did what any desperate dim-witted American would do:  I added another pill. 

Just the one.  L-Tyrosine.  “It supports mental alertness,” the clerk said.  “Enhances cognition.”  That’s all I wanted.  Some cleats for traction on the slippery slope.

How could I have known L-Tyrosine is a nootropic?  A performance enhancing “smart pill.”  I couldn’t have, I tell you! 

You remember Barry’s sincere face!  The replays of A-Rod saying “no” while nodding “yes.” 

“I never took performance enhancing drugs,” they said.  “Or, if I took them, I didn’t know I was taking them.”

Right.  I rolled my eyes too.  “I didn’t, but if I did…?!!”  Oh brother.  My high horse led that parade.

But humbled now, I beg your understanding.  You have to believe me.  We’re all human, you know.  We’re all slipping.

Like Rodriguez and Bonds, I was the victim of unscrupulous dealers.  Slippery, slimy, snakey sales persons lurking in the health supplement aisles of our most wholesome-seeming retailers!  And remember, my IQ was falling.

Yours is too. 

Hey…That’s right.  Yours is too!  Oh…  I see how this can work.  You have a couple of choices here.  Whip that supplement-free nag until the two of you can’t remember why you focused on the new, wittier me. 

Or join me for a future of clarity.  Mental acuity can be yours for the asking. 


Come on.  Take the pill.