White Rabbit
From InfoAve Premium - Issue #178 - March 16, 2007

White Rabbit
(Jefferson Airplane)

"One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall..."

To read some of the comments we've received about "White Rabbit" please click here.

I'm quite sure that Jefferson Airplane was writing about illicit drugs when they wrote "White Rabbit". And, I am equally sure that I am not. Suffice it to say this is a "rant" about a world gone crazy - a world in which the new god's name is Money and we're all pawns in a game that is so ubiquitous and colossal that nary a single one of us, can truly comprehend it.

Apparently the world has gone crazy because the majority if its inhabitants are believers in instant fixes for ancient problems - and there's tons of money in those fixes. Everybody wants a piece of the same pie. And world's a very big pie.

Too fat? Take a pill. Can't sleep? Take a pill. Don't have time to cook? Grab some "fast" food. Too much fat in your blood? Take a pill. Want to quit smoking? Take a pill. Love life going down the tubes? Yep, we have a pill for that too. Going bald, are ya? No worries, mate, we got a pill for that! Need the fungus removed from your shriveled-up old toenails? No problem, we've even got a pill that will take care of that for you.

But whether you can't sleep, or you're too fat, or you're going bald, it isn't about you, it's about money. In today's world-gone-crazy, you can't help but expect that whatever your problems may be, there will be someone out there selling an instant fix.

That is, unless it's something that's likely to kill you over a sufficient amount of time that doctors, hospitals, drug companies and insurance companies can rake in obscene amounts of money. For these sorts of ailments, there are no instant fixes - at least not legitimate ones. I'm sure there is someone out there somewhere offering a quick fix for dreadful diseases, but not on TV.

This, of course, causes things to spin around in my bizarre mind. It makes me wonder how the diet pill people are continually allowed to advance their "eat-all-you-want-lay-around-on-the-couch-and-lose-weight-pills" on TV. But, if YOU know any diet pills that will let me live on chocolate chip cookies, Big Macs, fries, banana cream pies, vitamin pills and high-fat milk - while plopping my aging carcass down on some comfy sofa 24/7 and still lose weight - let me know will you? Of course, on a diet like that, I'd make some cardiologist rich if he (or she - I'm so PC!) could manage to keep my fat-infused heart beating long enough for me to pay the bills....and if he (or she) did, and I survived, I'd probably end up buying some oncologist a new yacht :-( .

Maybe there's money in it for the TV networks. Oh, in fact, I'm sure there is and they're glad to take anyone's money for any kind of advertising truthful or not (how about that ball that you roll around on and get six-pack abs in just 3 weeks?)- as long as the FTC and FDA allows it to continue. And, most of those so-called "diet" wonder pills have a disclaimer in teeny-weeny print that says: "These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA...." Hey! It's not about you and me. Nope, it's about money.

However, moving right along...

Let's take the world's most awful killer of men, women, and children (and I'm not talking about any politician here, so don't get your dander up). I'm talking about cancer.

I (being a total cynic) wonder if the reason that there isn't a cure for cancer in this age of medical miracles doesn't have something to do with the unconscionable amount of money that insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, cancer "treatment centers" and doctors reap from this terrible disease. After all, even in my little town (of about 15,000) we have a brand new $100 million "Cancer Center". I'm not very good with math but that figures out to be about $6667.00 per every person living in my little town including infants. Now that's a lot of money! Was it built for us, the good citizenry of my little town, or was it built to generate huge amounts of money for the hospital, its directors and investors? Anyone who argues that it was built to make money will certainly be ostracized and branded a kook or at least a mental incompetent. Hey! That's me, I guess! Just a crazy old dude living in my little town. No wonder people look at me funny when I take my daily walks.

And one other little tidbit, not to pound this subject into the ground (as I'm oft wont to do) - but fifteen miles north of my little town, in a little bit bigger town (about 35,000) there's a brand new $320 million dollar "Cancer Center". Now, if my math is correct, and trust me, there's no guarantee that it is, that figures out to be about $9143.00 per person (infants included). That's a lot of money. Isn't it?

Maybe there's a reason there are pills for everything except the things we really need pills for. For those kinds of things where there's more money to be made by "treating" than curing, there are no magic pills to be found. Ah, I'm such a cynic. Don't you love it? But, life in this crazy world where all that seems to matter is money tends to do that to people. Are you a cynic, yet? Or are you just getting angry at this old curmudgeon for being crazy enough to write stuff like this?

Yes, yes, yes. I know. Medical science has made great progress since the days when bleeding by leeches and hanging people by their feet to cure ailments were the cures of choice. (And, did you know leeches -and maggots - are making a medical comeback?) OK, I will admit that anesthesia is much better now than it was back in the days when sticking a bullet between the patient's teeth after the patient had consumed a large quantity of whiskey was the anesthesia of choice.

This week in USA Today, there was an article that quoted the Journal of Oncology Practice, saying that a majority of the practicing oncologists are over 50 and they'll be retiring soon. And, so the article says, there are plenty of young, budding oncologists to fill the void, however these younger oncologists have no desire to devote their life to treating cancer - they have family, recreation, and other activities they'd rather being doing. Hmmm...well I can certainly understand that. So, as I read this article I began thinking (in my usual cynical fashion) that this article was actually saying that these doctors will treat just about as many patients as it takes to support whatever lavish lifestyle they've chosen.

Getting back to that USA Today piece, the gist of the article was that by 2020 there won't be enough oncologists to treat all the new cancer patients which will filling up the oncologist's office due to the aging of the baby boomers. Well, there's something wrong with making the conclusion in 2007 that by 2020 there won't be enough cancer doctors to treat all the cancer patients. Now, as I've oft told you, I'm not really very good with math. But, 2020 is thirteen years away. Even I can figure that out. So, do the oncologists who write the Journal of Oncology Practice, admitting that they already know that there won't be any cure for cancer over the course of the next thirteen years? Being the cynical type that I am, maybe they are -but I'm sure they weren't aware of it. They'd never admit it - do ya think? Maybe, my cynical assumption that there's too much money to be made from this horrible disease - and that the status quo is the way to go - at least for those on the receiving end of monetary windfall is, sadly, correct.

Are you a doctor? If there are any doctors among our readers, I'm quite certain, at this point in this rant (which you probably quit reading right after the oncology article) you have already decided you're not ever going to treat my kind - unless I pay you triple your normal fees (like the ones you charge lawyers). And you wouldn't like treating me then either. But I understand that it would be kind of hard for you to resist all that money - even if it mean you'd have to "treat" a cynical curmudgeon like me. Which would you rather treat? A malpractice attorney or me? I thought so! But, still, I bet you don't have any instant fixes in that little black bag for a guy like me do ya? And don't even think about pulling out the maggots or leeches!

And, let me not just dissect the medical community here (forgive the pun). I have my doubts about "global warming" too. My friend, David, is a cynic also, but he does buy into the global warming thing (he's just so PC). But, I'm not so sure. After I learned that there's a huge amount of money waiting for scientists who want to do research that will prove global warming. Conversely, there's also a huge amount of money (made available, no doubt, by companies who spew huge volumes of carbon and other bad things into the atmosphere) available for scientists who want to do research to disprove global warming. I've read both sides of the argument and here's what I've decided. I've decided to eat a peanut butter sandwich...and contemplate how many insect legs might be therein.

Now, think about this. Most scientists have advanced college degrees in things like "Reticulation Theory and Appalachian Field Mice". What the heck are they going to do with a degree like that in real life? How many "help wanted" ads have you seen for an Appalachian Field Mouse expert? Probably none. And have you ever seen an ad for a Reticulation Theorist? Face it. If you're a scientist with some off-the-wall degree, where you going to work? You sure aren't going to take a job flipping burgers at McDonald's, are you? Ah, that's where the research grants come in. Make your money doing research to prove whatever those who are paying you need you to prove. Write a long, boring dissertation (similar to this one), get your grant money and go off and look for another grant to get you by for another six or seven years. Or until you need to buy a new convertible or plasma TV.

Am I a cynic? Indeed! Geesh! How can you live in a society where money is an end to itself - and not be a cynic? Somebody help me! Money equals power and power equals money. How did we all let things get this way? Or, are we really at the point where things are so out-of-control we can't stop the snowball from rolling down on our confused little heads?

The question we cynics have to ask ourselves is this: Where does this manic obsession our society has with money lead us? Will it get better? Ha! I doubt it. Will it get worse? Assuredly!

Yes, my tongue was in my cheek when I wrote some of this, but some of it really bothers me. Especially the article by the oncologists. And, that's because I happen to think none of us will ever see a cure for cancer. And, I really hate to think the reason is money. Don't you?

Believe it or not, I once was a bleeding-heart idealist. But, now the world has made me a cynic. Hey, I really liked the idealist that I used to be! All these bizarre thoughts and a world gone crazy - give me a headache. Now, I will have to go take a pill.

One thing is for sure: I would rather take a couple of aspirin than to have leeches sucking on my forehead.

To read some of the comments we've received about "White Rabbit" please click here.

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