I spend a lot of time at home now that I’m retired. And for a fair amount of that time, I’m lounging in my recliner with a sleeping baby on my chest.
Which means, of course, that I watch way too much daytime TV.
This can be bad. Especially on days with marathons of “Houston Animal Cops” or “Haunted Amish”.
But sometimes watching endless hours of TV can be inspirational, too.
For example, I think I have finally found my Get Rich Scheme.
I am going to invent and market some kind of medicine!
I’ve figured out the whole medical marketing thing, and let me tell you, it is pretty damn predictable.
Step 1: Identify some kind of physical ailment. It can be anything from chronic diarrhea to heart disease to a fading libido.
Step 2: Give that ailment a name that you can immediately turn into an acronym or a set of catchy initials. Have you noticed this trend on the medicine ads? “I have IBS; ED; Low T; OBS; DNV” I don’t know when sickness became the Alphabet Game, but its part of the pattern, so I’m gonna use it.
Step 3: Come up with a drug to treat the ailment. (OK, this part might be hard, but I’m a good cook, and vodka seems like a cure all to me. I can do this!)
Step 4: Name the drug. You MUST create a name that sounds both encouraging and serious. The name should definitely include at least one of these letters: x, z, j. Even better if you can include more than one. (Right? Zyprexa, Xarelto, Xeljanz). These names inspire confidence in the patient! “Wow, my doctor must be a genius if she can pronounce that name…….”
Step 5: Film your commercial. You must film it someplace that looks like Pleasantville USA, with wide tree lined streets, impeccable homes and manicured lawns. There should be children on bikes, smiling and lifting their sweet faces to the gentle breezes. Your main focus should be on your patient, who has to be an attractive, vibrant middle aged man or woman with perfect teeth and just enough smiley wrinkles to look convincing. This person has to move in slow motion through Pleasantville, smiling, eating, going to the park, kayaking, dancing or doing yoga very very gracefully. You must include a voice-over in which your patient refers to the disease as “MY CSR” or “MY OBS”.
I am not at all sure why these beautiful slow motion patients all seem to have such loving relationships with their diseases, but they do. They all use the pronoun “my” as if the disease is a dear dear friend who has become a very part of their soul.
Personally, I refer to my illnesses as “the goddamn fibromyalgia” or “the f’in arthritis”. I do NOT want to make them any more comfortable in my body than they already are. They are not welcome. They are not “mine”.
But I digress.
Now that I have laid out the five steps to fame and fortune, its time to brainstorm a bit. I’ll be right back.
Eureka! I’ve got it!
The commercial opens with a tall, slender, middle aged woman looking into the distance. Close up on her face. Her blue eyes are warm and gentle. There are a few small crinkle lines near her eyes. She brushes back her chin length hair, and hooks it over one ear. Her hair is thick and shiny, a dark blonde delicately laced with silver.
As the camera pulls back, we see that the woman is looking into a gorgeous flower garden, where all kinds of things are in bloom at the same time, even though in real life, they would all appear in different months. The woman is holding a pretty straw hat in one hand and a rake in the other.
A rich alto voice begins to speak as we watch the woman moving in slow motion around the fantastic garden.
“Before my AOA, I used to garden all day from dawn to dusk. But when I started to experience fatigue, pain and an overwhelming desire to lie down and pull a blanket over my face, I lost my will to prune.
Luckily, my doctor diagnosed my symptoms as an acute case of Achy Old Ass, or AOA. He prescribed Jazubax, and now I am back to drowning slugs in beer.”
We see the woman laughing in slow motion and elegantly placing the straw hat on her lovely head.
A man’s voice comes on next. “If you are one of the millions of Americans who is living with AOA, ask your doctor of Jazubax is right for you.”
Close up on the woman, leaning in to smell a rose.
“Thanks to Jazubax, I haven’t napped in weeks.”
The image fades and the same man’s voice comes in, speaking at a rate that would put Alvin and the Chipmunks to shame.
“Jazubax is not intended for use by those who have arrhythmia, nervous tics or anxiety. Side effects may include rapid heart rate, increased rate of speech, a compulsion to clean under the bathroom sink at 2 AM or sudden heart attack. Do not use Jazubax if you are allergic to caffeine, Red Bull or vodka shots.”
I think I’m onto something. If you don’t believe me, just watch a little daytime TV.