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The Watcher - Commercial life

Commercials, like death and taxes, are unavoidable, but recently a handful of them have sensitized me to the plights of my fellow Americans. I have learned that people with herpes live active lifestyles that, according to Valtrex commercials, involve a lot of canoeing. Apparently, their problem isn't herpes, but the inconvenience of taking what must be a vast amount of medicine. I assume it's more than can fit into those plastic weekly organizers, maybe even so much they must pencil doses in on their calendars. Can you imagine? Monday, 9 a.m., Climb Mount Everest. 9:30 a.m., take blue pills. 10 a.m., repel down Mount Everest. 10:30 a.m., take green pills. Fortunately, Valtrex's new one-a-day pill allows sufferers to invest more time in their outdoor adventure club.

Speaking of the great outdoors, I also learned from a Tampax commercial that if you're in a boat with a leak, a tampon can plug the hole. Does the Coast Guard know about this? I anticipate future nautical safety regulations that require a radio and a box of tampons. Probably super absorbency.

Everyday I learn something new about penises from TV. I don't have one of my own, but apparently these puppies break down all the time. Erectile dysfunction can happen to anyone, even pro-baseball player Rafael Palmeiro and former Sen. Bob Dole. The problem is, where once it wouldn't get up, one of the possible side effects is that it might not go down. For hours. Or days. And then there's the whole size thing. Judging from the commercial for Enzyte, the "natural male enhancement" apparently affixes some sort of Joker-like perma-smile on the users' faces, makes their wives don poodle skirts and even improves their golf swing. I had no idea that a poor golf swing was a treatable medical condition.

But the people I'm really worried about are the ones using MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. If you listen carefully to the warning section of the commercial, MAOI users (and pregnant women) are often expressly prohibited from taking other medications. Sadly, MAOIs treat depression, so users can choose to be less sad but allergy-ridden, or more sad and allergy free. Now that's a tough choice.