Last night I woke up for my usual “pee at three” bathroom trip and the first thing that popped into my head when I opened my eyes was the word Xarelto. My first thought was, what the hell is that? Then, as I made my way to the bathroom I remembered it was a drug for blood clots. Somewhere in my fuzzy 3am brain I saw three guys in a golf cart discussing how much better they felt now that they knew they weren’t going to die. Unfortunately for one of the guys in the golf cart, Arnold Palmer, he died a few months after making that Xarelto commercial. Auditions for a new spokesperson are currently underway. It bothers me that most of the television commercials that stick in my head are for medications. It used to be that my middle of the night earworms were from commercial jingles like Rice-a-Roni, Armour Hot Dogs or Dr. Pepper. I’d much rather be awakened by worried thoughts of who was a Pepper and who wasn’t than having words like ketoacidosis running through my head. Where did all of these medications come from?
When I was growing up our medicine cabinet was pretty sparse. There was spray deodorant that everyone used. My mother’s Chanel No. 5. My dad’s razor and shaving cream, and the four basic medicines that cured everything: Bufferin, Robitussin, Pepto Bismol and Listerine. Of course, in case of accident or injury, all that was needed was a quick brushing of neon-orange Mercurochrome and a band-aid. If any one, or combination of those medical marvels, couldn’t cure our illnesses then we needed to be hospitalized. Medications didn’t have to cure anything more general than headaches, stomachaches, sore throats or coughs. We never heard of half of the specific body part maladies of today.
Take for example, “Dry eye syndrome.” If I went to my dad and complained that my eyes were dry I’m sure he would have come back with some home remedy like smacking me in the back of the head to make me cry. “There you are, he’d say, no more dry eyes.” And I’m tired of that creepy, woman doctor who speaks in a bedroom whisper, which should only be reserved for kinky sex, telling her patients how she too suffers from dry eye syndrome. I’d like to send my dad over to smack her in the back of her head. And speaking of eyesight, what about that drug called Non-24 that is only for BLIND people! Apparently, some blind people can’t sleep at night because for them it’s ALWAYS NIGHT! Talk about a niche market. I’d like a show of hands of how many blind people have ever seen this commercial? There’s medication for ringing in the ears, something that causes pinpricks in your feet, urgent urination for women, blocked urination for men, (here’s a tip: Women – drink less water. Men – drink more). There’s the lady with psoriasis that wears a snowsuit to Yoga class so no one sees her scaly skin. Before taking the medication she spends the whole class pulling down her sleeves to cover up her unsightly arms. After taking the medication, she’s teaching the class! What the hell is in that pill that not only clears up your psoriasis but also turns you into a master Yogi? My two personal favorites are for Restless Leg Syndrome (we used to call that “the Jimmies”) and ED – erectile dysfunction (we used to call that “a meat slinky”).
From what I can gather from the commercials, Restless Leg Syndrome is when one or both of your legs involuntarily twitch and kick while you sleep. Are you kidding me? Sleeping partners have been doing this since the beginning of time! It’s called –
“Get on your own side of the bed and stop touching me!” Believe me, there is nothing involuntary about this move. You don’t need medication – you need twin beds. I guarantee that if you sleep alone your Restless Leg Syndrome will magically disappear.
Speaking of sleep disorders, let’s tackle the most tasteless commercials of all – Erectile Dysfunction. I grew up when such delicate personal matters as the inability to raise the flagpole weren’t even discussed with doctors. Now, every intimate detail of what takes place (or can’t take place) in the bedroom is broadcast in HD for the enjoyment of the entire family. I remember my mother complaining about Playtex 18 Hour bra commercials when they didn’t even show the woman wearing a bra! It was just some model in a tight sweater turning sideways for the camera showing off her pointy Playtex potatoes. Look how far we’ve come. We now have a couple sitting in adjacent bathtubs on the beach, out in the woods, or on their back patio wondering why they aren’t having sex. I’ll tell you why they aren’t having sex, they’re in two separate bathtubs! For crying out loud, get in one tub and let the magic happen. The worst tagline for these commercials is “If a relaxing moment turns into the right moment will you be ready?” This tagline usually follows a happy couple doing something ordinary like hanging the drapes and all of sudden the man gets the urge and gives the woman “that look.” She immediately puts down the drapes and follows him out of the room. And what gets the guy so turned on? Is it his wife asking for a screwdriver? The way she handles the stiff curtain rod? The word rod? Puhleeze!! Anyone who has ever tried to do a home project with a spouse knows that the last thing that ever comes out of that interaction is sex. Couples working around the house together usually end up on Dateline ID trying to explain how the curtain cord accidentally got tangled around the dead spouse’s neck.
If the pharmaceutical companies insist on bombarding us with these ads, the least they can do is come up with some snappy jingles. I’m sure Stevie Wonder can come up with a few; especially if he’s not sleeping at night.