Short attention span human nature


    All across the country, millions of children are rushing to the nearest pharmacy to pick up certain prescription medications. Once they have the medicine in hand, they must take it religiously every day, never forgetting a single dose. After all, their doctors did deem it necessary, so it must be of the utmost urgency.What could this all mean? An outbreak of bubonic plague? Tuberculosis? Lyme disease? No. It’s just another case of America’s favorite little “ailment that could,” ADD.

    Also known as attention-deficit disorder, physicians nationwide have been grossly misdiagnosing this problem for years. If a kid can’t pay attention in class, they just pump him full of Ritalin. Nevermind that he can play “Madden NFL 07” for five straight hours in a zombie-like trance, his mom thinks that her child has ADD because he failed his math test. Maybe you should have pulled your kid’s butt away from the Xbox and put it in front of his math book. You know, there is a correlation between bad parenting and bad grades.

    Before you send me an expletive-filled piece of hate mail, allow me to explain myself. I am not saying that ADD is a result of inept parenting or playing too much “Banjo-Kazooie,” I’m saying that it is the inherent nature of the mind to wander off while in a nonpleasurable setting. Who wants to pay attention to logarithms and cosines when you can dream about having your own paramilitary wing full of hot girls that destroys your enemies? Uh, not that I fantasize about that sort of stuff or anything.

    Does anyone ever wonder why Ritalin was never widely prescribed until recently? The drug has been around since 1957, so we’ve had it at our disposal for a while. The reason? Up until the 1970s, schools were free to beat the living daylight out of any kid who didn’t pay attention or caused trouble in class. How many kids had “ADD” then? That’s right, very few. While I don’t favor child abuse in any form, it proves that there are alternative methods to getting children to pay attention. How about candy bars for good grades? A delicious NutRageous bar would entice even the most hardcore daydreamers to focus.

    Apparently, ADD is also a growing problem in adults. We’ve all seen the commercial for Strattera, where some lady named Anne is sitting in a boring meeting and can’t pay attention. She starts daydreaming, and then some fat, old executive asks her what she thinks about some business proposal. Naturally, Anne has no clue as to what was previously being discussed.

    Does that surprise anybody? Drifting off at a business meeting hardly seems like the result of ADD. Maybe third-quarter earnings and a new company dress code don’t tickle Anne’s fancy. Ever think of that, Lilly Pharmaceuticals? I bet that Anne would pay attention if you offered her a rich, creamy NutRageous bar afterward, and quite honestly, who wouldn’t?

    Let’s get down to brass tacks here: We’re all prone to daydreaming. Look, I’ve been bored to death in math lectures and work meetings before, so much so that drinking a nice, frosty glass of drain cleaner seems like a good idea. But does that mean I have ADD? Of course not. Doling out Ritalin to people who simply can’t focus is not only a disservice to the small percentage of people that actually need it but a sad commentary on our society. When will we ever be able to work on personally bettering ourselves instead of relying on the magic ink of a doctor’s pen? The world may never know.

    David Hall is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood.