The cure for ev­ery­thing

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

The only time you see gray­haired peo­ple like me on tele­vi­sion is in com­mer­cials that only run dur­ing the evening news. You’ll see an ath­letic gray­haired guy and his ath­letic wife run­ning down a beach, playing ten­nis and danc­ing on the deck of a cruise ship while a se­ri­ous, dis­em­bod­ied voice in­tones, “You’ll know when it’s time for Splon­do­caine.”

The voice never tells you what Splon­do­caine does, or what it’s for, but in­stead just tells you to ask your doc­tor about it. It’s like a big se­cret we can’t let young chil­dren know about yet.

“Mom, what’s Splon­do­caine?” “Watch your mouth! We don’t talk about that kind of stuff in this house. You’ll know when it’s time!”

Dur­ing the rest of the com­mer­cial, the voice tries to warn you, in fran­tic speed-whis­pers, NOT to take Splon­do­caine, for the love of God!

“In some peo­ple, Splon­do­caine may cause drowsi­ness, vom­it­ing, stom­ach up­set, mu­cous dis­charge, yel­low­ing of the skin, vi­sions, de­men­tia, loss of hear­ing, warts, cur­va­ture of the spine, sleep ap­nea, loss of feel­ing in the fore­head, smelly feet, bad breath, a deep and abid­ing sense of im­pend­ing doom, liver spots, bald­ness, wrin­kles, sci­at­ica, bed­wet­ting, liver dam­age, loose teeth and for­get­ful­ness. Did I men­tion the drowsi­ness?”

The man and the woman in the com­mer­cial were now laugh­ing at a kid fly­ing a kite. That did it: I de­cided I had to have some. So I went to my doc­tor.

“Doc, don’t you think it’s time I took Splon­do­caine?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “How long have you been con­sti­pated?”

“Is that what it’s for?”

“Well, what did you think?” “I thought it was like mar­i­juana for old peo­ple. Have you seen their ads? Those peo­ple are high. I thought that’s what the kite meant.”

The next night, I saw a com­mer­cial for Pla­sothalix. It came be­tween an ad for adult di­a­pers and an­other for Poli­dent. It showed a gray-haired man blow­ing a horn, eat­ing corn on the cob and laugh­ing on a big, fancy sail­boat. The se­ri­ous voice said,

“Joe used to worry, but he doesn’t any­more. He uses Pla­sothalix twice a day and is the life of the party. Ask your doc­tor about Pla­sothalix to­day! May cause dry heaves, cold sweats, boils, manic de­pres­sion, palsy, dry mouth, emo­tional out­bursts, itchy skin, sneez­ing, runny nose, ten­nis el­bow, pso­ri­a­sis, foam­ing of the mouth, fin­ger­tip sore­ness, loss of a sense of time and lower back pain. Do not drink al­co­hol or eat cashews while tak­ing Pla­sothalix.”

I called the doc­tor again. “Doc,

I’m sick with worry. Shouldn’t I be tak­ing Pla­sothalix twice a day?”

“Oh, wouldn’t think so,” he said. “You’ve got plenty of hair.”

“Hair? I thought for sure it was for anx­i­ety. Or maybe mo­tion sick­ness. Do you have any­thing for anx­i­ety? Be­cause I’m very anx­ious. Don’t you ever watch the news? Peo­ple with gray hair are fall­ing apart! I’m afraid to walk down the street. Pieces of me may drop off the way tailpipes come off old cars.”

“Maybe there is some­thing you should take,” Doc told me. “I’m go­ing to call in a pre­scrip­tion for Even­i­tol for you.”

“Even­i­tol? I’ve seen that com­mer­cial. Isn’t that the one where the gray-haired guy is out jog­ging with a gray-haired woman, and af­ter that, they play hand­ball and go rock­climb­ing? Then he goes swim­ming while she does tai chi in the park. Then he plays base­ball, and fi­nally they go camp­ing and white­wa­ter raft­ing to­gether that same night. You’d have to give a 20-year-old oxy­gen and adren­a­line to do all that in one day, but these peo­ple seem fine. So what’s Even­i­tol for? Chronic se­vere rec­tal itch? Adult di­a­per rash? Mole hair?”

“No -- it softly but gen­tly puts you to sleep dur­ing the evening news. You’ll never have to watch those com­mer­cials again. Take two and don’t call me in the morn­ing.”

•••

Con­tact Jim Mullen at [email protected]

JIM MULLEN THE VIL­LAGE IDIOT

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