The good old USA is home to the best in fast food, sports, clothes, nature and: a generation of seniors. Or so it seems. I have discovered that being over 60 provides drug and chemical companies inspiration on how to sucker us into buying products that are supposed to improve our “quality of life.” “Quality of life” is an expression invented by yuppies in the 90’s to make a buck from products they think old people would like. Notice I did not say the PC correct word “senior” but old. Madison Avenue and drug companies like to glamorize old age, or those of us on the road to old age. They turned old age into an epic like Gone With The Wind glamorized the Civil War. Yes it was nasty but it gave us Clark Gable. Yes the South burnt but it did so epically and with Southern flair. The damn yankees provided the meat to the movie as old people provide billions to the drug companies.
Here is a sample of what one may see on one ordinary every day night of prime time viewing on the major networks and cable:
Forget about constipation, it does not have to be painful, if you are over 50 you can take a special laxative that helps your golf swing the next morning. You lucky guy you. Everyone is smiling and happy to be over 50 and constipated. Are there any commercials for teenage constipation?
The gooey denture grip commercial almost makes one wish one was toothless. Who would not want a hunk over 50 to dance the night away with on a cruise ship? Only prime time can make us feel good about ourselves and having to glue false teeth to our gums. What an opener for a senior dating game!
Among the favorites in “senior” commercials on any given night are: erectal dysfunction, bladder dysfunction, hair loss, sight impairment, and botox. However nothing prepared me for the catheter commercial. That was the winner. The voice of sexy enthusiasm and exuberance promoting catheters in all shapes and sizes left me with a tingling feeling that these instruments were as exciting as vibrators on a lonely night. I felt like calling the 800 free number and order several to include the ones that fit in my purse because they are “the size of a pen!” Who would not want that? As various catheters rapidly enter our view with eclactic vigor, a “senior” is on the phone smiling and eager to order this amazing piece of bladder joy.
My mother just turned 97 and she is old. She is not a “senior” she is old. She requires bladder protection and assistance to get dressed. Her hair is l grey and she keeps her dentures in a box marked “classified.” There is nothing glamorous about the ailments and frailities that befall us as we grow older. All the commercials in the world cannot hide the fact that growing old is tiresome. I asked my mother what it feels like being 97. Without batting an eyelash she replied: tiring.
Are we eluding ourselves about growing old? Do we feel that if we “fix” ourselves up we are less biologically impaired and more socially acceptable? Are seniors really so gullible as to go out and buy any product that is on the market? Am I ever going to feel the urge to indulge in hair replacement, teeth implants, catheters, and botox? Has growing old become so socially unacceptable that we must find ways to make it bearable by glamorizing and minimizing the one truth of growing old: it is tiring?