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A nail in the educational coffin

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By John Pawlak

Television commercials entertain us with actors who, wearing lab-coats and surrounded by medical paraphernalia, advise us on how to medicate ourselves in order to treat illnesses such as arthritis, high blood pressure and diabetes.
I say “entertain” because the fun part is reading the warnings on possible side effects (usually given in nano-sized font). For example, the treatment for arthritis can lead to skin reactions, ulcers and intestinal bleeding, pregnancy termination, heart attack, stroke, or death.
I love the term “side effects.” It sounds so benign. Of course, if they called it “in your face effects,” people might have a problem with the death part.
Sometimes the side effects mandate that nano-sized font. Men suffering from low testosterone are advised to consider hormonal replacement therapy, which then warns of “risk of reduction of testicle size.”
I suppose one would call that a “tiny” side effect.
My favorite side effect warning comes from a weight reduction medicine. It warns that users might have “hard to control bowel movements and oily spotting.” So instead of shooting your mouth off at a restaurant, you can make a more back-end commentary on your opinion of the chef’s creation.


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