As my dad grows older, he seems to be recalling more and more bits of his childhood, and I love hearing his stories. Today when I was telling him how sick I’d been and lamenting about how there wasn’t any real medicine for this viral illness, he asked me if I had read about that memory enhancing supplement everyone in Hollywood is using. He just read an article that said it may lead to George Clooney’s divorce, because his wife is fed up with him using it. Apparently poor George was struggling to remember his most recent 200 page script and can’t seem to get by without this miracle potion.
I asked my dad how many miracle drug fads he has heard about in his lifetime and reminded him of all those housewives who got hooked on diet pills (aka speed) because they thought it was boosting their energy.
Dad: “Yeah, I remember when I was a kid there was something called Hadacol that everyone was taking cause it was supposed to be good for their health. Turns out it was mostly alcohol.”
He continued: “I’ll never forget the day I came home from school and the maid was laid out on the floor, with the ironing board on top of her. I helped her up, and when she started ironing again she fell right back down.”
Me, laughing: “Oh my, what was that about?”
Dad: “I asked her about the bottle of Hadacol on the counter, and she replied, slurring her words, ‘tha’s ma tonic’. I called my mother and she told me to send her home for the day”.
I smiled as I envisioned this scenario, with his stern mother at the other end of the phone line, and shuddered to think about what the maid would have to face when she returned to work the next day.
Dad: “People used to say it got its name Hadacol cause they “had to call” it something”
As far as the new craze towards using these brain enhancing supplements, I will take a pass. Given my genetic make-up, I don’t feel the need to experiment with my brain chemistry. As much as I’d like to jump on the band-wagon in the quest to get smarter and improve my memory, I take a cautionary stance on these quick fixes. There could be a good reason that nature is slowing me down, and that’s ok with me.
I don’t need to be a hamster on a wheel for the rest of my life. At some point I think it is ok to take it down a notch and start smelling the roses along the way. I can still remain active and productive without having to be like a 20-year-old. I’ll just step aside and let them feel the burn for awhile.