Thursday, March 8, 2018

Side Effects

            I’ve recently noticed that much of the television that Kim and I watch features commercials for pharmaceuticals. Why this is so? I’m not sure – it may have to do with our age. Much of our tv watching, other than Netflix movies, consists of news programs, and maybe advertisers know that we need drugs to tolerate the news these days.

            If you have seen those drug commercials, you know they feature lengthy lists of possible side effects, none of them good. You know, things like fatigue, vomiting, death, headaches, seizures, insomnia, constipation, depression, and erections lasting more than 4 hours. If you see these drugs advertised in print (Do you remember print?), this language is in a tiny font the at the bottom of the page, but on television we get quickly and quietly spoken words of doom while the video attempts to distract your attention with folks having fun while taking the drug. Kim’s chemo drug, Ibrance, has a recurring role on our television.

            I doubt that Pfizer and the other pharmaceutical companies announce all these dangers voluntarily. It’s probably one of those regulations that Trump has not yet abolished, one we would be fine without. Come to think of it, we’d be fine without the pharmaceutical commercials altogether.

            On the other hand, what it would be like if all products advertised on television included their own list of nasty side effects, many of which are worse than the fine-print warnings?

            Cars? Possible side effects include exploding air bags, traffic accidents, traffic jams, traffic tickets, trips with your children who are not looking out the window at the Rockies but updating their Chatbook or sending Instafaces, and global warming that leads to lethal weather, rising sea levels and the destruction of coastal settlements. (On a positive note, this would include the swamping of Mar a Lago.)

            Coca Cola? Possible side effects include tooth decay and obesity, diabetes, higher health insurance premiums to cover the illnesses, and hyperactive children. For Diet Coke, add cancer to the list, along with even more obesity.

            Cell phone service provider? Side effects may include the dissolution of family relationships, the end of real vacations, atrophied attention span, the decline of reading and writing, and the encouragement of addictive behavior and bad posture, leading to neck and back surgery.

            Cosmetics? Animal testing – need I say more? If I do need to say more, think of blows to self-esteem from comparisons with models. Same goes for shampoo commercials.

            McDonald’s? Visits may induce fear and trembling if family members suffer from coulrophobia – a fear of clowns. Also, see Coke warnings, above, despite the fact that McDonald’s has reduced the size of fries portions in Happy Meals.

            Cruise ships? Travel includes risks of serious illness, hangovers, falling overboard, and if you are traveling with Australians, beatings.

            Home and Auto Insurance? We should be cautioned that, despite the amusingly weird misfortunes that entertain us in the commercials, the insurance may not cover what happens to your home or auto. For example: sink-hole damage in Florida. Another risk is that a substantial amount of your premiums will go toward television commercials. I believe in insurance, but better get an agent you can trust.

            OK, OK – you get it. At this point you can no doubt come up with your own list of nasty side effects that could be mumbled during commercials you see. Do it. I’ll help you get started: Beer?

. . .

            You are probably wondering how you can thank me for providing you with all these insights.


            Just try to avoid the shit and enjoy life. We are the people in the Ibrance commercial. Screw the side effects.


  1. Wonderful summary of the perils of TV-watching but I would add "sitting" to the list. I'm hearing a lot these days about the way sitting is ruining our lives... but standing is way too worshipful. Damn all the breaking news. Remember when "the news" was one hour on your favorite network? Now you need thee or four shows to keep up with the wreckers, especially the titled scoundrels in Washington. I think it was Maureen Dowd who found herself wanting to reach into the TV and strangle the gasbags holding forth within. Great idea, what? Holograms? Maybe we'll live to see the day. Would solve the problem of sitting so much - jumping up humdreds of times a night. Alternatively we could pummel an orange Bobo while we're watching. Remember the plastic airbag that hit the floor and bounced back up? Get the volume up high and invite your friends... Again, thanks for calling our attention to these particular attention-suckers...

    1. I'm seriously thinking about installing a heavy punching bag in the garage - as soon as I have a garage.

  2. LOL...Darn insurance companies....

  3. We don't have any tv coverage, so we can avoid the drug commercials. If the pharmaceutical companies spent all that commercial money on research, we may have some benefits for sapiens. I just practice my piano, read my books, walk, swim, and drink wine! I'll toast to you and Kim. Oh yes, I read your blog!