CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - Drug Pushers, Bob Dole and ED

(07/01/2001)

By Jack Cawthon

Every so often Norman Julian, long-time columnist with a big-time following through the Morgantown Dominion-Post, writes a column that I wish I had written, and quite possibly I could have if I had that one trait that Norm has and I don't: professionalism.

Just recently Norm wrote about the television promotions of drug pushers. These pushers are known as drug companies and they are legal.

I am incensed every time I see an ad that reminds me to ask my doctor for a certain brand name drug. Ask my doctor for a special medication I saw advertised on TV? Come on! I attended journalism school. I don't even know how to medicate to become a better writer, regardless of those smart alecks who read this stuff and ask what I'm on. Did doctors spend all those years in med school just to write prescriptions on request? Maybe they should have taken some creative writing courses, or at the least learned how to write legibly.

Of course, we all pay for those ads that bombard us. The cost is tacked on to the price of the drug. I see this as a bitter pill to swallow.

Admittedly, some of the ads are clever. There's a catchy little tune promoting Viagra-"I'm ready"-and I often find myself humming it even when I'm not. This ad is amazingly subtle for TV, as we are never shown exactly what the man is ready for, which causes me to wonder if he takes the stuff just so as to be ready for the TV spot.

Have high blood pressure? Tell your doctor to give you the stuff hyped on the screen. Have depression (we are given a checklist)? Could be you watch too much TV. However, ask for some of these feel-good pills.

Americans expect a pill for all occasions, and maybe we have learned to rely too much on better living through chemistry. The elderly are special targets with their multiple prescriptions which sometimes combined can cause greater health risks than the ailments for which they are prescribed.

The drugs pushed today through television are of a greater assortment than the hippies of the 60s and 70s could have ever visualized in their most vivid hallucinations. And they are legal!

Bob Dole went on national television to describe his problems with ED. I think Dole's greatest ED problem, however, dealt with Electoral Dysfunction. Maybe he just wasn't ready enough to become president. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, he has never seemingly experienced an ED problem of any sort.

I voted for Dole. I felt it was the Republican thing to do. I believe in the American free enterprise system that has made this country great. Less government in all our lives will aid especially those who hustle for the big bucks.

However, I believe government should stick it to those drug companies and their big-budget ad spending. There is a rumble in the American Medical Association, which has some Republicans in its midst, for ad restrictions.

But, I am hardly one to talk. I don't even have a doctor through which I can request all those glorious elixirs. I've long been a member of what I call the Alyce Faye Bragg school of natural browsing. Alyce Faye, that wondrous grandmotherly columnist for the Charleston Gazette who expounds from her Clay County holler on the bounties of nature, has hardly ever seen a plant that can't be harvested for human consumption-with certain caveats.

One year I failed to follow her precise directions and pert nigh died. I didn't soak the morel mushrooms overnight as she advised. I assumed the tiny black specks were vitamins and minerals even though they were crawling.

Therefore, to be on the safe side of good health and make sure those drug companies don't get my money I stick to tree bark and veggie grazing. I also send a generous contribution to a fellow in Haiti who has put me into an HMO run by a priestess who sacrifices a chicken from time to time and says some words over it. As I once had to deal with the end product of chickens while at a leading university in the northern part of the state maybe I'm overly partial to this method.

Whatever the case may be, my efforts have paid off in good health, and I haven't spent a dime on store-bought prescriptions.

Now, if only I could get that stupid tune out of my head! I'm not ready even to write this column. If only I could find a pill…


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