From Valium To Valhalla -- 60 Million Of Us A Year

You may not be Scandinavian, but you probably are living part of the great Norse myth. Valhalla was in some ways their Heaven, and after all isn’t that pretty much our expectations when we take Valium…?

The little white pill is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year as the world’s first psychoactive drug. Designed to lift us mere muddled mortals into heaven-like serenity. It was a vast improvement over the barbiturates which were previously used. At about 60 million proscriptions a year.

You’ll hear no complaints from me. If Valium, Xanax and their celestial companions can take the edge off, why not. Heaven knows it’s an edgy age.

My only question is how these potent little pills have scrambled our lexicon. They suggest they can help us “get back to living our life” and “help us be ourselves again.” But what exactly does this mean? Back to what “life”…? And what is “ourselves”…? I sometimes forget what myself used to be before these gifts from the pharmaceutical gods.

As I remember, more intense…more irritable….and yet more primed to do things that now seem like — oh what the hell, why get excited about them! Lets put it this way. Bottled serenity is something new young mothers and anxiety-ridden elders can surely use at times. But you wouldn’t want to pop one of these just before a big game, a big conference, a big speech, or a big date.

“Date?” Gee, since taking Valium I forget some things. Like, do today’s cooler studs and babes still use that lovely old ritual? For a lot of us, “dating” vs “hooking up” was our Valhalla.

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