To view original article click here

The New Jersey Record

January 25, 1998

Author: BILL ERVOLINO, The Record []

Do you know that expression, “Love is in the air?” Well, it isn’t. In the last eight weeks I’ve heard about three messy breakups. And, in each case, one or more of the concerned parties was taking Prozac.I don’t know how significant this is, since everyone else I know takes Prozac, and they aren’t breaking up.    Still, I’m bothered by this.    Do you know that expression, “Prozac Nation”? Well, it is. So, why is everyone on Prozac?

They say it’s because they’re depressed. I don’t know what to say about this. Not that anyone ever asks me before they start taking this stuff. I always find out months later, when they drop Prozac into an otherwise Prozac-free conversation.

“Birds, bees, flowers, trees, I’m on Prozac, pass the sugar.”    “You’re on Prozac? Since when?”    Or …

“Rangers, Mets, Giants, Nets, I’m on Prozac, pass the Doritos.”    “You eat Doritos? Since when?”     “Since I started taking Prozac.”   Hmm …

Clinical depression is nothing to laugh about, so I won’t. I’ve never been that depressed. I have no idea what it feels like.

I’ve never liked the sound of “Prozac,” though. Words with one “z” in them have always made me uncomfortable.   Zoos always made me uncomfortable. Bozo always made me uncomfortable. Same thing with Fonzie, zen, ooze, Liza Minnelli, and any Marx Brothers movie with Zeppo in it.

When my friend Andrea (not her real name) broke up with her boyfriend a couple of weeks ago, her shrink upped her Prozac prescription.    “Was that a good idea?” I asked.    “Yes,” she told me. “I just marched in there and said, `Gianna, I need more Prozac.'”

“Her name is Gianna? That’s beautiful.”   “No, Gianna is not her real name,” said Andrea (not her real name).”But I know how you are, and if I tell you her real name, you’ll report her, or something.”

Anyway, her shrink whatever her name is said “No,” explaining that Andrea needed to feel her pain. But Andrea, who didn’t feel like feeling her pain, told her shrink she was desperate. Over the edge. Suicidal.   “Suicidal?” I said, screaming. “You didn’t tell me you were suicidal.”

“Well,” she explained, “I didn’t feel like I was GOING to commit suicide, but I sort of felt like I FELT like committing suicide. It’s a subtle difference.”    Subtle differences make me so uncomfortable I’m surprised they don’t have a “z” in them.

Meanwhile, just last month, my neighbor Rich told me he was in love, and was moving to some big old house with a swimming pool in Essex County.   This is my dream. I don’t really care about the swimming pool, but I want to live in a big old house with lots of trees in the back yard, and a lake, and a mountain, 10 miles from Manhattan, $160,000 or less, good schools, low taxes, with lots of bluebirds and butterflies flitting around.

Most real estate agents get depressed when you tell them stuff like this, but my real estate agent has been on Prozac for the last five years.   So has Rich.

I thought he was crazy to move. “You’re divorced,” I reminded him.”Marriage doesn’t agree with you. How can you give up your apartment, and move into somebody else’s house?”

“This time it’s for real,” Rich told me. He then said that he wasn’t giving up his apartment, he was subletting it to his mother, who had been living in the Bronx for years and wanted to move. “I’m taking my dining room and my bedroom furniture and leaving my living room for my Mom,” he said. He then sold me his stereo for $25.

People on Prozac never seem to mind taking a bath on their home electronics.    He also sold a bunch of other junk for a fraction of what he paid for it. But he didn’t care about that, either.

Stuff like this disturbs me. I could never sell any of my possessions to anybody. It isn’t normal. I don’t even like it when visitors try to touch my things. When guests ask to use my bathroom, I tell them no, unless it’s an emergency.

Anyway, last Tuesday, Rich finally moved out, and his mother moved in. Throughout the week, he was driving back and forth, helping her get settled. I’d see him in the parking lot, and wave to him as his car drove away. It was like the end of an era to me. I couldn’t believe he was really gone.

On Monday morning, I saw him again, in the parking lot. “How’s it going?” I asked.

He started laughing, and told me that he had just signed a lease on the empty apartment two doors away from his old one.   “You’re moving BACK? Are you kidding me?”   “It didn’t work out,” he said.

“But you weren’t even there a week!”   “It didn’t work out,” he said.   “And you’re not upset? What about your living room furniture?”

“I’ve decided to go to IKEA,” he told me. “I need to simplify my life. I’m tired of fancy, expensive furniture. From here on in, I only want practical. Isn’t it beautiful out today? The air is so clean.”   “But …”

“Look, I have to go, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He then drove off, whistling a happy tune. And I went inside, sat down on the couch, and stared forlornly out the window. My dog, sensing my distress, hopped up next to me, and started licking my face off.

“Humans are so screwed up,” I told her. “You’re on the only one in my life who is truly happy.”   Jasper smiled and said, “Jerky, cheese, hydrants, trees, I’m on P …”

Do you know that expression, “Some things are better left unsaid”? Well, they are.