Prozac Turns 20, Still Not Good For You

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Prozac, the first drug I was oh-so-wrongly prescribed. I'm no doctor, but believe me when I say the long-term effects are still being determined. I have yet to meet anyone who was on the drug before I was, for what it's worth.

I was twelve or thirteen at the time, one of the first people under age 18 to be prescribed the "miracle" drug. By a lazy physician, urged by a parent who couldn't cope with the mood swings of a pubescent me. I was too young to be on an antidepressant. I didn't have a serotonin imbalance, so Prozac didn't do anything for me - unless you count about nine months of side effects with no improvement in mood. In fact, things got progressively worse.

That same physician later tried to get my mom to pay for a drug test he ran on me during one check-up when I was in a decent mood - as if he couldn't believe that such a mood was possible without chemical inducement. (There were chemicals at work, but they were hormones awakened by a make-out session with a girl the day before.) That's the last time I saw that doctor, but others followed in his unsure footsteps and continued to prescribe dangerous substances without concern for their long-term effects.

Of course, I was better off consuming the relatively useless Prozac than I was on the medication that followed, a form of Lithium that led to other, more severe mood and medical issues - including unpredictable toxicity in the bloodstream and, for me, DOZENS of kidney stones. Plus a whole lot of excruciating pain that came with those stones, complications from other medications, and so on.

Moral of my story: Prozac is neither a status symbol nor a magic bullet for "bad" thoughts. Don't give antidepressants to kids who are just going through puberty; you could seriously screw up their bodies in ways you can't imagine.

To commemorate the anniversary, I felt the need to relate my experience with the drug before I showed you to this: Guardian Unlimited's Anna Moore gives us "20 things you need to know about the most widely used antidepressant in the world.

[via BoingBoing, via MindHacks]


Bike Helmets Bad For Cyclists?

Just in time for prime bike season: news that wearing a bike helmet may actually increase your chances of an accident involving a motor vehicle. I'm not just pulling your leg, this makes a lot of sense to me. But I've done a little reading on it, so let me throw the links at you...

Neatorama reports on
a Scientific American article about
the findings of University of Bath's Dr. Ian Walker.

As a perennial pedestrian, people-watcher and rider of public transportation, I have no problem whatsoever getting behind Walker's reason for conducting this road safety study.
His road safety work is currently considering questions relating to how drivers' attentional and decision-making mechanisms affect the safety of vulnerable road user groups such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Of particular interest at the moment is the issue of how our natural tendency to "read" other people (i.e., to interpret their gaze signals and other non-verbal communications) affects the safety of vulnerable groups.
[via Ian Walker's site]
I've worn a bike helmet ever since I started biking through the city. I've never been hit, but Chicago traffic is always more dense and less predictable than, say, DeKalb traffic. I do remember first wearing kneepads and a helmet while skateboarding on a half-pipe, and feeling invincible. But I also get the feeling that certain accidents are likely to happen regardless of the cyclist's choice of headgear.

Does wearing a helmet just say to everyone "the wearing of this helmet is totally protected"? It would seem that some effect like this is indeed at play. Do you think drivers are more likely to take precaution when a cyclist is not wearing a helmet?



Try it. I did, and it really helped.

It finally got me to the realization that this blog has had an identity crisis. Until just now, I couldn't decide if it was about business or pleasure. Ironically, the content of a presentation I've given a few times at work suggested that I not write about work on my personal blog. All this really means: you'll notice a continued shift in tone at PYLB.

Well, it also means the "persuasion industry" topics, minus snarkism, will be migrating to the blog effort underway at work.

Welcome to Pull Your Lid Back.
[Image via hackcanada]


Where Are You Coming From, Spider-Man?

And I Am Not Lying, For Real collected Ten Spider-Man Appearances That Will Never Hit Hollywood. I went through a BIG Spider-Man phase as a kid, and am fascinated with the way the character has permeated cultures other than mine.

But I'm even more fascinated by the ability to now see TV clips I barely remember from that early Spider-Man phase, such as The Electric Company clip above...

And this crucial piece of ephemera from my childhood: the very first appearance of Spidey on The Electric Company, as narrated by Morgan Freeman. These were officially called Spidey Super Stories. Damn, was I ever into this stuff. [I guess I still am.]



One of my all-time favorite movies: The Big Lebowski. People tend to either LOVE or HATE this movie. Some haters need repeated viewings to come around. Eventually, true fans come to enjoy the nuances that make The Big Lebowski such a cult classic - as well as the fun things the film continues to inspire.

For example, the "ABIDE" t-shirt is the most talked-about addition to my wardrobe in months. It's a product of the folks behind Lebowski Fest, now selling tickets to the sixth annual gathering of achievers.

And there's always the profanely entertaining F-ing Short Version:


Judge of Character

When I was in high school, my mom routinely told me I was not a good judge of character. Why, I'm not sure. One friend of mine had a tattoo. I tended to get along with older kids, too, which made the mom nervous. My mom didn't care for the then-alternative and sometimes gothic or punk dress worn by several of my acquaintances at the time. High school is a time for experimenting with clothes and haircuts, which makes them terrible indications of character. Their haircuts weren't what made them friends.

But as for their character, this is what made them friends. My mom knew virtually none of them personally, and only assumed what their respective characters were. Her insistance that she could judge these people by their clothes or haircuts signaled to me that maybe she wasn't such a good judge of character herself. And maybe she was afraid that I'd inherit that lack of judgment from her.

In the long-run, she (perhaps inadvertently) instilled in me the challenge to be a good judge of character, if only (at first) to prove her wrong.

I thought about the days when the mom would scold me about being a good judge of character today, when I read GearBits' "Is President Bush A Good Judge Of Character?" Read it. You already know the answer, but it's validating to have all the evidence in front of you. And I'd like to point out that, if there's a bigger conclusion to reach, it's that America is a terrible judge of character for electing this imbecile into office.

If only Mom had seen that the act of questioning the majority's herd mentality was an indication that I was a better judge of character than I got credit for, it might not have been such a big deal to have goth, punk, skater and stoner friends in high school.

Remember to get your mom something for Mother's Day.