Now that I am on the downhill side of 70, I’m more conscious of my health. It depresses me. For a pick-me-up, I’ll watch my favorite baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, only to see them give up three unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth, and lose 6-5. Nor do I find relief by watching a mindless sitcom, crime detectives in Miami, or “America’s Got Talent.” If we have so much talent, I ask myself, why doesn’t some of it appear in Congress or the White House like it did when I was in my late twenties?
The network news only puts me into a deeper funk. I’m at a loss to distinguish the difference between the Shia and the Sunnis, who is fighting whom, where and why. There seem to be no good guys. And there appear to be fewer of them among professional athletes who get their jollies beating up on their spouses and children. No, there is no good news to cheer about, except for “Dancing with the Stars,” where the contestant with the best cleavage always wins!
However, if you watch closely on the network news, during a break, immediately after Brian Williams announces the latest health scare and before he returns to tornado damage in Oklahoma, there are some very useful advertisements. I remember growing up when most newspaper and early TV ads were “booze and butts.” They worked for me. I drank gallons of beer and bourbon and smoked incessantly to aid the profits of Budweiser and the American Tobacco Co. Today, however, the TV ads inform me that there is relief for everything that ails me as a result of all that liquor and smoke I once ingested into my former young and healthy body.
The advertisements cover everything from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. If it is more hair or hair of a different color I want, there is literally a solution, though I have to admit nothing I’ve tried turns white hair into blond. If it is dry eyes that I suffer from, I need not to worry. There are drops to get them watering in two hours. Or maybe it’s flaky dry skin and deep facial wrinkles that concern me. A new “revolutionary product” is immediately available on a trial basis with a money-back guarantee. For any breathing problems, forget the oxygen or a doctor, the TV screen informs me. I’m only a pill a day away from relief. For that never-ending and embarrassing “urge to go,” there’s another pill to send signals to my bladder to hold on and be patient.
What about my erectile dysfunction? That is easily taken care of by another pill, but to be beware because it may cause shortness of breath, back pain, hives, swelling of the legs, loose teeth, drop in blood pressure, depression, and the possibility of a four-hour erection that only a doctor can cure. I’d be willing to risk the four-hour problem if it weren’t for all the other possible side effects. Why waste the thousands of dollars I’ve already spent keeping my teeth firm?
I avoid my doctor because he always has bad news to relate; also I find I can self-medicate by way of the TV commercials. On my last visit to my doctor, he informed me that I’m a Type A diabetic and to watch my blood sugar and weight, and expect some tingling in my feet. Sure enough, right after Brian Williams announced a new, deadly virus, which could spread across the country, a pharmaceutical company came on the screen to tell me to stop worrying about my Type A diabetes. I could now relax. Help was on the way!
Thankfully over the past couple of years I didn’t give up my habit of watching the network news, even though it continues to cause me severe depression. I am indebted to the millions spent (and, no doubt, the billions earned) by the pharmaceutical industry whose first priority, I am now convinced, appears to be separating me from my money under the guise of caring for my decaying body.
I still worry, however, by the number of pills I ingest every morning. Once they enter my body, how do they know where to go? Is there a traffic director in my stomach who directs the yellow pill to my bladder and the pink pill to my thyroid? What if he makes a mistake after a late night out? Do I go into convulsions and die a painful death if the little blue pill goes to my heart?
For peace of mind, rather than rely on Big Pharma, I’d prefer that which an Army hospital supplied me, once upon a time –a manually-operated morphine drip. Ah, bliss. no aches, no pain, just happiness amidst empty