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Happy Daze

Re: Dave Shiflett’s All Roads Lead to Prozacville:

Just another indicator of how society seems to be adverse to any form of adversity or risk. Heaven forbid things don’t go smoothly and you might suffer consequences from decisions you make every day. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy, it kind of keeps me going!
Roger Ross
Tomahawk WI

In a meeting about health care coverage last fall, I was stunned to learn that prescription drug costs at my place of employment had increased by 100% in one year. The most widely prescribed drug for my approximately 215 colleagues? Prozac!
name withheld

I wonder if Mr. Shiflett has given any real thought to his article. Yes, undoubtedly Prozac has been over-prescribed. But to end his little, personal tirade by suggesting that sugar pills might just as easily solve the problem is ludicrous. And he does so just as sugar is fast becoming the new “tobacco” issue — as in how many ridiculous laws should we create to regulate it. It’s time the government stopped attempting to save us from ourselves. Obviously, Mr. Shiflett has never been depressed for any length of time, has never felt despondent. “Have you felt this way in the last two weeks?” is a question meaning that the feeling has continued for more than two weeks. I’m surprised. I thought Mr. Shiflett had more sense than to buy into the “Prozac is the new scourge of America” theory. Shame on him.

Interesting discussion of the rise in the number of folks who start the day by taking “anti-depressant” medication. Of course, anyone who started the day by taking a martini, a pint of Guinness or a shot of Jack Black, would be regarded as a drunk, oops, pardon the politically incorrect lapse into reality, would be regarded as an “alcoholic.” Presumably efforts would be expended to convert said alcoholic from happy juice, to happy pills, as that would be socially acceptable.

Whatever happened to dealing with what comes at you as a responsible adult? When did we turn into a nation of wimps? has anyone read Huxley’s “Brave New World” lately?

I suppose that this is only the logical, or, more correctly, illogical result of the attitudes of a thoroughly gutless and spoiled-brat generation of people, who, never having had to deal with any real adversity, can’t deal with anything that they don’t “like.”

There are far too many “diseases” these days, of which “clinical depression,” is only the most recent and trendy. I do not deny that there are a small number of people who could qualify as having an “illness” where “depression” is concerned. I am also firmly convinced that, for the majority of these “sufferers,” what they “have” is not an illness, but an excuse. They don’t want to deal with any sort of difficulty whatsoever, unless they can be medicated to the point of dimwittedness. I am reminded of an acquaintance of ours, who’s husband was in the Military. She “suffered from depression,” to the point that she was frequently admitted to a local hospital which specialized in “treating” depression and other “illnesses,” for anywhere from 3 to 5 days at a time. She had a nice rest, meals provided, all sorts of concerned care, as she would often threaten suicide, in short, she would be truly catered to during her stays. This went on until her Husband retired from the Military, and the hospital stays were no longer covered. Amazingly enough, she hasn’t had any “attacks of depression,” since he retired. Me cynical?

There was a time when whiners and complainers were told to shut up, shape up, act like adults and get on with their business. Today we pander to them, medicate them, and wonder why we have a society of losers.
W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

I read your third paragraph, and having once had a mental illness, my knee jerked, so I went straight to the end, then read your essay backwards, one paragraph at a time, and quite enjoyed it and in large agreed. Thanks. Keep writing.

Re: Bill Harrison’s Decoration Day:

I take exception to Bill Harrison’s gratuitous swipe at the “fit of commercialism” that resulted in the designation of the last Monday in May rather than May 30 as Memorial Day.

His point is well-taken in reference to similar holidays that mark an actual event (such as Washington’s Birthday), but what is so sacred about May 30? It was a date arbitrarily chosen for no apparent reason by Gen. Logan, as he points out. So why is it any less sacred when arbitrarily changed by Congress?
Howard Hirsch
Carson City, NV

Bill Harrison replies: There is nothing inherently sacred about May 30 beyond the larger point which I was trying to make: that certain days should be remembered for what they signify by serving as a link amongst the generations and reaffirming the American spirit. By subsuming such a holiday as Memorial Day within the hoopla of three-day weekend shopping sprees and beach getaways, we are cluttering up the meaning of the day within the “noise” of the rest of our popular culture.

Re: Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder’s American Jews and Israel:

The Jackie Mason/Raoul Felder article entitled “American Jews and Israel” is a gem! Please pass this on to the authors. Tell them I love their politics. If Gore had won the Presidential election, G-d only knows how much worse off Israel would have been I, too, am Jewish and vote Republican and I never could understand why Jewish people, especially now, are still Dumbocrats.

I also wonder where all the Jewish celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg are. I haven’t heard a bloody word out of them or most of the others about the situation in Israel. They’re probably kissing up to the Great Stainmaker (Bill Clinton) helping him fundraise and have no time to voice an opinion giving support and money to Israel. It’s disgusting!

By the way, there was a great article by comedian Larry Miller on this same topic. It was done with cynical humor, but boy did he get his point across. The article was in the Daily Standard dated 4/22/02 entitled, “Whosoever Blesses Them.” Read it, if you can, and enjoy it. G-d Bless Jackie Mason, Raoul Felder and Larry Miller.

Shabbat Shalom,
Diane Hirschfeld

Re: Reader Mail’s On the Ball: Soccer to Me:

It has always been something of a mystery to me why conservatives are suspicious of soccer (a term I use under duress; it’s “football”). Conservatives especially should see that the game, rather than undermining the principles we hold dear, extols them.

Compare soccer with gridiron, for example. Which sport puts a premium on the innovation and inventiveness of the players? Not gridiron, which is a central planner’s dream and which, in turn, also explains why the most exciting play in gridiron is the busted play –it’s unpredictable. In soccer, the whole game is unpredictable and there are no time-outs to allow the apparatchiks to tinker with the latest five-play plan. Like the free market, a soccer game flows with an internal logic all its own.

What about regulation? In soccer, there are a handful of rules, but they are energetically enforced. Violate these rules too often, and you get booked. Continue to violate them, and you get sent off (no three strikes in this game). And gridiron? It has a rule book that is as thick as the Code of Federal Regulations and nearly as impenetrable. Baseball’s is even worse. And both sports have nearly as many referees as players. In short, our sports are as regulated as our economy. Conservatives should applaud this?

As for football being boring, I notice that the same people who make this complaint also love those 1-0 pitchers’ duels. When played well and at a high level, there is nothing to compare to the beauty and excitement of soccer. The best players combine fitness, skill, balance, power, and aggression with intelligence and vision. Indeed, the world’s best soccer players are unquestionably the world’s best athletes.

Two final points. First, no Communist country has ever won the World Cup. And second (as a friend of mine likes to point out), most soccer players wear sensible black shoes.
Steve Eule
Washington, D.C.

Re: The Prowler’s Has-Been of the Year: Remember Her:

Didn’t I remember Bob Dole saying before the election in ’96 that if he lost he’d only have Russell, Kansas to go back to? Political Washington is like The Hotel California, “You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.”
Bill Harrison
Arlington, VA

Re: The Prowler’s Down and Dirty: Pay to Gray:

Was going through some stuff from early this week and didn’t know if you knew, but Accenture used to be Arthur Andersen before the consultants broke with the auditors.

Just FYI.
John T. Foster

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