We’re programmed to be unhappy

Ryan Szymcak

It’s time for change.

Can anyone spare some?

Doubtful. But if you can, please toss your two cents in my empty coffee cup. I’d like to stay awake.

Give me something, anything to believe being human still matters to some of us.

If you can’t, or you’re just too busy, then Congress should rally for a nationwide health care plan — or at least find a way to mass-distribute dehumanizing anti-depressants clear across the fruited plain.

The U.S. economy is a mess, and heavy piles of debt are beating us all broke and cents-less, sealing our deals as life-long indentured servants to the U.S. cash machine.

Remember those irresponsible Zoloft commercials with the frowning bubble being followed everywhere it rolled by a dark cloud?

The advertisement sent the message that depression is caused by an imbalance between Nerve A and Nerve B.

The commercial doesn’t mention that depression “is a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem.” According to WebMD, 19 million adults here in the United States are feeling upset with the way their lives are working.

The ignored, hushed, real reason the number of depressed people grows is because the cost of living is going up. In turn, being able to buy happiness is becoming a real and constant “struggle.”

And yes, happiness is for sale.

When we were young, learning and impressionable, we met TV.

Like in A Clockwork Orange, our eyes were glued to mind-numbing cartoons that did well entrancing us all into passive, catatonic states. Then, not at all by coincidence, when the climax of a story was approaching — perhaps Master Shredder had the turtles cornered, or Captain Planet was drenched in sludge, and then — bam! — a deceptive commercial injection was spliced right in when our attention and excitement were peaking. Skip-Its, Gator Golf and G.I. Joes invaded our consciousness — things will make you happy, they told us at gun point — and they showed us others like us, smiling. They asked: You do want to be happy, don’t you? We told mom and dad we wanted to be happy.

Now, years later, we’re wired. Programmed. And, of course, we’re bored senseless if not somewhere spending to attain happiness. Today, wages seem chained to the 20th century, while prices continue their ascent sky-high.

Split between the extortion that is college tuition and the necessity to work, we’re lucky to get a moment to look outside the window for a minute just to think. We begin to realize it’s fall, and then snow starts coming down, and then two minutes tick by before ugly reality kicks us back into gear. Go. Go. Go. Make money.

Expect Nerve A and Nerve B to continue to experience imbalances as your bank balance continues its constant dwindle.

No one’s speaking up about how we’re worried about the wrong things, and how every day we’re getting further away from being human. So, if the government wants to continue exploiting the middle class and making it more and more difficult to live happy as we’ve been programmed, then it should wise up with a national healthcare plan — that robotic brand of cruise control that drugs out the human element of discontent and depression will keep the cash machine crushing right along.

Orwell, how’d you know? Or was it a warning?

Ryan Szymczak is a senior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact him at [email protected].