Daze of My Life: Eye-Popping or Money-Wasting?
Daze of My Life
Eye-Popping or Money-Wasting?
"Age-defying," "appetite-surpressing," "fat-burning," "weight-losing," "energy-gaining," anxiety-reducing, attitude-adjusting; in summary, quality-of-life improving. Wow! Have I got your attention, yet? The only thing missing from these claims is a "barker" sitting atop his covered wagon pointing fingers and telling tales.
These magic pill-type pronouncements so often heard and seen on various media remind me of an early Three Stooges episode entitled, "Dizzy Doctors" from 1937 in which The Stooges are looking for work and begin selling "Brighto;" "What's it for?" They ask. Their new boss replies, "You boys really want to know what it's for?" "Yeah," they answer. "It's for sale. Now get busy selling it!"
And oh how they try to sell it! "Brighto, Brighto, it makes old bodies new, we'll sell a million bottles, woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo."
Not entirely sure of its effect, though, The Stooges think it might be a cleaning product. And so to entice a potential customer (Vernon Dent), they start rubbing circles of it on his driver's side door. "Hey," Larry says, "this stuff is taking the paint off," and off they run, unsuccessful in their first solicitation.
Next they go into a hospital thinking their elixir might interest some patients in need of a quick fix. They find a male patient sitting up in bed "suffering" from dandruff. Curly immediately starts rubbing "Brighto" onto the man's scalp. As the patient's hair begins to come out in clumps, Curly wisecracks to the now nearly bald man, "You'll never be bothered with dandruff again, or hair either."
As I listen to the countless advertisements for these health and fitness-type products/remedies, I can't help but think of "Brighto," and its relative lack of success. Nevertheless, given the aging of the Baby-Boomer generation, those of us born between 1946 and 1963, the timing for such "elixirs" couldn't be better. Who doesn't want to look as good as they feel, and you know who you are (Billy Crystal doing Fernando Lamas, Saturday Night Live)? What better tease to offer a plurality of the population, and one with discretionary income to spend, then the keys to the kingdom, so to speak?
Who doesn't want to live long and prosper, especially those of us who grew up watching the original "Star Trek?" Moreover, who among us wants to look older and feel worse as we age our way into and through retirement? Somehow, we want to stay young, at least in our hearts and minds, if not in our bodies, too.
Who wants to die young? Who doesn't want to live their fair share of years? Who wants to have could'a, should'a, would'a-type regrets later in life? Who wants to quote Mickey Mantle, the late, great New York Yankee Hall of Famer who said, while waiting for a kidney transplant after years of chronic alcohol abuse, "If I had only known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."
Apparently, if I believe any of what I see and hear, we all can live an active life well into our retirement, and that's the problem, or shall I say, opportunity - for some. And I'm sure there are elements of truth in all that is being promoted, hyped you might say, as a tonic for what ails you.
However my instincts tell me, or maybe that's simply my lack of knowledge: "Caveat Emptor," (buyer beware) Judge Hand. Truer words were never spoken nor a judge more often quoted.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.