Good morning, y’all. Cold and wet here in Nunsuch, Georgia. I can’t think of any better reason for shutting myself off in the office of the Rec room all day and catching up on this season of “Gold Rush”. I’ve been DVR’ing the episodes all season and have been planning on watching them commercial free in one orgiastic sitting. Today was the day. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the season by one.
Now, I know it seems crazy to exclude myself from knowing how the battle between Parker and Todd has been going. It seems even crazier for me having to yell “shush” when two people start talking about an episode, but I have a very good reason. I can not abide the commercials on that show. I don’t know how advertisers buy their ad time, whether they target audience, time slot, or price. Probably a combination of the above. I just don’t get why a rugged, outdoorsy, manly show like “Gold Rush” should show 20 Viagra ads in an hour. Is the message from the advertisers that all watchers of the “Gold Rush” have plumbing problems?
Now, in truth, not all of the ads are for Viagra. Viagra’s competitor, Cialis, gets in there too. Cialis runs an ad that asks the question, “if Viagra has let you down?”. I have to at least give Cialis props for the double entendre. If you don’t get it, I won’t explain it, but it’s pretty clever, all things considered.
Anyway, back when I was growing up, tobacco and beer ads ruled the airwaves. The only drug ads you saw were for Bayer Aspirin, Alka Seltzer and Pepto Bismol. Maybe the occasional ad for Serutan or Geritol, if you were having to watch the Lawrence Welk Show with your grandparents, or, an occasional Goody’s Headache Powder ad, if you were watching local based programming. Other than that, nicotine and alcohol ads took up all of the advertising space on television. After all, they were the drug choices of the masses.
All of our diagnosable illnesses could be cured by a couple of headache, or stomach ache remedies. That is, unless your were “puny” and had tired blood, then you’d need to up your game. A diagnosis of “puny” would get you started on a daily regimen of a tonic that had the consistency of maple syrup and the taste of rusty nails. There was no warning on the label of Geritol that it would cause immediate retching. Which, let’s be real here, retching is a much better side effect than blindness or death.
How did we get to the point that our self diagnosed ailments, our hypochondria, became fodder for a multi-billion dollar advertising onslaught? I just don’t know, if there were studies, I’m sure big Pharma would suppress them. Hypochondria seems to be the one disease they don’t want to cure. I reflect back to my last check up with the esteemed Dr. Vinnie Boomba. I had seen and ad for a hair loss product to be taken orally, called Hadacall. Their commercial claims that Hadacall literally cures baldness in 99 percent of all patients. Not just helps, but cures.
Me: I don’t want to keep losing any more hair, and I heard about this Hadacall drug on the television.
Dr. Boomba: Let me just look that up on the Internet, and … holy Krishna, this sounds like exactly what you need.
Me: I know, right?
Dr. Boomba: When did this come out? This drug has been designed specifically for someone in your situation, I am shocked. I was so unaware of how to help you and other patients with your situation. I am so embarrassed. I may give up my reserved parking spot as penance.
Me: No worries. When can I get started?
Dr. Boomba: Right away, let me just check the side effects. You’re ok with hair growing on your palms or sudden asphyxiation right?
Obviously my example is false, just like the claims of most of these wonder drugs. I really feel sorry for the doctors that are having to field the claims of the self-diagnosed hypochondriacs that previously would have been cured at home by Speedy Alka Seltzer. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.