Featured Stories

Better living through chemistry

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I watch a lot of television. I learn a lot. Sometimes I learn to turn off the television. But the most interesting thing I find are in the commercials; most specifically, the ones about the wonders of pharmaceuticals and health products.

There are pills for everything from obesity to bad skin to erectile dysfunction. The problem I see is that as human beings we only hear a portion of the myriad of advertising jargon. We see our disease and see an attractive woman who no longer suffers from tingly legs at night or wets herself in public and we are on the phone to the doctor before we hear that the side effects of the wonder drug include uncontrollable gambling and sexual urges.

Now call me crazy, but a little jumpy leg at night is preferable to becoming a gambling slut. Scene Three of the ad for incontinence: The lovely woman at the cocktail party is greeted with 'You look wonderful. I've heard so much about you.' Implication is that they heard she peed in the elevator last Tuesday. TAKE THIS PILL!!!

One of my favorites is diet pills. It is a well-known fact that you can never be too rich or thin. There is not a woman in America who wouldn't go to the drug store if promised a pill that would cause her to dump 10 pounds of body fat as she sleeps. We cannot resist.

While watching TV with my kids I was deluged with questions like, 'What is VIVA VIAGRA?' I lied and said it was a song by Elvis Presley a long, long time ago. The kid learning to read wanted to know what makes a Happy Period. I told him it was glad the sentence was over. Do we really need to be told that an erection lasting more than 4 hours needs medical attention? I would have taken my husband to the ER for anything over 4 minutes in my youth! I could have painted the bathroom in 4 hours.

If you have constipation there are pills, or yummy stuff in the dairy section that will regulate you. Toenail fungus? We got the cure for those nasty little guys that bore under our nails. Got Mucus? Pills can put that snotty little guy on the run in no time. Think you might have been exposed to a bug? There are at least nine different kinds of pills, rinses or nasal sprays that will drive the nasty little germs away. Fevers are in our bodies to burn infection, but by golly, there are at least four things out there to eliminate it so the bug can stay forever.

I am in no way minimizing the ills that we do suffer. Medicines are a necessary thing to keep us healthy in times of real illness. But occasional flatulence is normal. We all have bad breath sometimes. I've earned my wrinkles, and if I pee a little when I laugh I'll get those things that have wings and fly around in my panties.

We can't stay young forever and, by the way, why would we want to?

We have become a country where it is easier to take a pill for a cold than to cover our mouths and wash our hands with soap and water. We have no immune systems because we have antibacterial soap and stuff that strips all the good germs down the drain with the bad germs. I am thinking that there should be a pill to make us forget every commercial we have ever seen on pharmaceuticals. Then I'd be at the drug store in a minute.