Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are we REALLY that sick????

Every now and again, hubby and I like to play a game - no, not the one with the feather and the Hoover, you pervs - this one is "If I was an Alien watching TV". It's an interesting challenge, sitting in front of the flat-screen and watching through the eyes of someone who knows little or nothing about the human race.

So if you're in the mood, try it during the evening network news. (We like Brian Williams on NBC. His nose is a tad crooked, but he dresses extremely well.) The news, of course, varies daily. What doesn't change? THE COMMERCIALS.

Yes folks, as a species, we're sicker'n a dog who just ate four raw chickens!!! I lost count of the number of pharmaceutical ads that interrupted my political reports. We started with the tried-and-true. Cholesterol lowering drugs mean no heart attacks, if you believe the pink cartoon graphics. Then we moved on to the dry-eye folks (let us cry for you!!!) and so that you could get some use out of those new tears, there was an ad for depression medication - subtitled "Even your dog looks miserable". Actually, I think it was an additional depression medication you could use along with your old depression medication. Depressed yet? I was after sitting through that lot! No wonder the pups had "hang-dog" faces. (Sorry. That one just had to be said.)

But we had just begun our chemical journey. Let's go inside this delightful human body of ours. Heartburn? Yep, that's covered in several ways, all with depictions of the unattractively shaped human stomach. There's a reason it's INSIDE us, folks.

The digestive system gets a euphemistic selection of pharmaceutical products, of course. Bluntly put, if you fart, we can help. Can't shit? No problem. Got the runs? There's something for that too. If you've got all that, please refer to the depression medication advertised earlier. And don't forget the toilet-paper commercial, thoughtfully inserted around sixteen or seventeen minutes into the broadcast by some clear-headed, squeaky-clean-bottomed ad exec. The one who spends his weekends dressed as a bear, running around the forest picking bits of TP off his arse. Ad Execs thrive on this kind of marketing research, I hear.

Ditto the urinary incontinence issues suffered by women - represented by copper tubing figures. Cute ad, but I'm not sure what message this is sending. Plumbers, however, must adore it. Let's not forget the gentlemen who are shown dashing from their golf games, wincing as their BPE kicks in. Whether they can blame their lousy game on their glands, I don't know, but I'll bet some have tried. ("Hell, Joe. I'd have birdied fourteen if it hadn't been for my damn prostate...")

So we're depressed, dry-eyed, heartburn sufferers. We have issues with elimination, flatulence - and let's not forget Restless Leg Syndrome and Athlete's Foot. Now we're covered head-to-toe. I happened to see a new one the other night...REPLACEMENT KNEES. Now that's something I'll definitely be looking for next time I hit the drugstore.

We have pharmaceuticals to help us quit smoking (the side effects are going to send you right back to the depression meds) and we can't go much further without mentioning the grand-daddy of 'em all... Erectile Dysfunction pills and their wondrous threat of four-hour erections.

If someone can tell me the subliminal significance of the two-bathtub symbol in the Cialis ad, I'd be grateful. For me, ONE bathtub would work better in this setting. Unless that's one HELL of a pill and creates not only four hours of arousal, but three feet of length as well. The euphemisms in these ads are hysterical. Nobody's naked, of course. But apparently, there's a lot of drug use going on - see the kitchen turning into a leafy glade, or the laundry room into a beach shack hideaway. Last time that happened to me was back in the late 70's. I hadn't inhaled, either.

Are we really THAT sick? Do we need this almost endless parade of "better living through chemistry" commercials for every medical condition your doctor can diagnose? Or is it just that the pharmaceutical industry is pretty much the only one that can afford to buy 30 seconds on prime time news? If that's the case, I vote we take up a collection for the Dutch tulip industry. Let's see 30 seconds of windmills and pretty flowers. And not think about gas, the bathroom or suicidal tendencies.

I forgot one - the automobile ad. There's always one or two. After all, how are we going to get to our physician's office for prescriptions for all those drugs?

Cheers and happy chemical imbalance day,
Sahara Kelly

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Demons are a Ghoul's Best Friend (as Wynne Hayworth) - Samhain Publishing - October
Flavia's Flying Corset - Samhain Publishing - November
Miss Minnie and the Brass Pluggit - Samhain Publishing - January 2011

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