Side Effects May Include...

Have a headache? Take a couple Advil. Side effects may include hives, facial swelling, wheezing, rash or blisters, stomach bleeding, chest pain and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Allergies acting up again? Reach for some Benadryl. Just know there's the off chance of drowsiness, constipation, stomach upset, blurred vision and dry mouth/nose/throat. Feel a cold coming on? Grab some DayQuil. Fallout just might include lightheadedness, drowsiness, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, dizziness and trouble sleeping.

Okay, so that's just a small taste of what you get from Big Pharma on a regular basis. They inform you of possible complications, not out of love for you personally so much as their lawyers all graduated from CYA University. And, yeah, because it's the law. You can tell they're not thrilled about having to do it just by their delivery system. When it comes to the fine print on their reading material you're best bet is to find a strong microscope--the high res, digital kind--and a better pair of eyes (ya' know, like Superman). And if it's an ad on TV or radio they opt for some fast-talking auctioneer type hell-bent on breaking the existing spoken word speed record (that's a thing, right?). So good luck fathoming that.

Indeed, we've been inured to this process ever since we can remember, getting past it by convincing ourselves that while no one wants to mess with "stomach bleeding", "facial swelling", "chest pain" and "nervousness" (although, gotta figure suffering from any of the first three is gonna bring on the last one anyway) we estimate the chances are relatively slim and, damn, wouldn't it be nice to get rid of this headache or allergy or nip this cold in the bud? Like everything else in life, we've learned to rationalize in order to keep from going insane over all that we seemingly can't control. And if, by chance, a stroke or heart attack is the outcome then, yeah, if you survive ya' might wanna rethink and just deal with the sniffles next time.

So this little pact we make--betting against an unlikely more serious malady with the hopes of alleviating a rather benign irritation--is the product of a host of earlier like-minded decisions that we've come to live with over time. Risking not being tardy for an event by chancing the cops pulling us over for speeding, comes to mind. Likewise, opting to forgo those pesky instructions when assembling your kid's present late Christmas Eve (wasn't that bicycle seat meant to go "above" the handlebars?). Or even chancing getting caught fibbing to your significant other that the market was out of their favorite dessert when in reality you'd forgotten to stop by on your way home from work or, more accurately, the parking lot looked jammed and you're not a fan of that dessert anyway (sorry... was that just me?).

Bottom line, the whole "side effects" thing we associate so readily with medicinal remedies is but a microcosm of daily life. Trade-offs abound from the time we come out of the womb. Hell, it's why they invented insurance. We know that on any given day we could be hit by a bus, fall down an open manhole cover or have a SWAT team descend on your neighborhood with you outside unwittingly fitting the perp's discription to a tee, unable to hear their megaphone blaring for you to put your hands on your head and drop to your knees because you have your earbuds in singing maniacally to Twisted Sister's version of "We're Not Gonna Take It"!!... Whew... Okay... so now I've got a headache... Where's Advil when you need it?