Framing the Dialogue

View From The Couch

h1n1I know that the title gives the impression that the view is from a couch potato, but that is not the view.  I spent the last week confined to the house getting over the flu.  My doctor believed that it was H1N1, but did not bother to run any blood work since the results would not be available until after I was cured or dead.  That is not a quote, but the reality.  I’ll have to admit that it was the worst flu that I have experienced, but the deaths that I have read about all seemed to be caused by the secondary issues.  My condition settled into my chest and that is what my doctor treated.

Besides my hypochondria, I have learned a great deal about the world from my view from the couch. 

First there is daytime television.  I did NOT watch one episode of Oprah, Ellen (although I find her funny), or any other talk shows.  I also was proud that neither soap operas, nor game shows took up any of my time.  Being sick with hundreds of television channels is a blessing.  This is especially true in the middle of the night when a cough and congestion makes sleeping impossible. 

I think that I learned more about day time television from the commercials.  I categorize the commercials “Lawyers, Drugs, and Money.” 

First come the lawyers and their commercials.  I am not a fan of lawyers; not all are bad, just most of them.  The ones that advertise on cable television seem particularly creepy to me.  I should feel good that there are so many lawyers willing to “get money for me.”  If I was injured riding a motorcycle, they’ll get money for me.  If I am on Workman’s Comp, they’ll get money for me.  If I spill coffee on myself, they’ll get money for me.  If I cannot get something that I think that I should get, they’ll get money for me.  The guys (and they all seem to be guys) are just the greatest.  All that you have to do is call (and it is toll-free) to talk to someone at the firm to evaluate their case.  The most famous local attorney (with at least four offices) promises that “You don’t have to pay unless we get money for YOU!”

1104091441Here come the drugs and drug advertisements.  If you watch television regardless of the time of day, you are treated to commercials about drugs.  Day time and late night television seemed back to back drug ads.  I know that if I am depressed, incontinent, have trouble breathing, depressed, have trouble getting an erection, have a small bladder, have a large bladder, have varicose veins, have aches and pains, have sore joints, have thinning hair, have no hair, have a smaller thing (men only), have heartburn, have gas, macular degeneration, need longer and fuller eyelashes…there is help!  I should discuss their medicine with my doctor “to see if it is right for me.”   Some of the ones developed to help men with sexual performance are available for a free trial for only the cost of a postage stamp.

If you want to be scared to death about how much these drugs will help you, listen carefully to the possible side affects that they are required to list during the commercial.  These are usually listed by a man with a deep comforting voice spoken quickly near the end of the commercial.  Common side affects include, nausea, vomiting, constipation, blindness (in very few instances), bleeding, diarrhea, erections that last more than four hours, blurred vision (a four hour erection may do that), muscle soreness, death (in very few instances), darkening of the skin, lightening of the skin, loss of skin (that’s made up), stroke, muscle weakness…but if you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately.

The last category is money.  People who watch are targeted as either in incredible credit card debt or have so much extra money laying around that they should buy gold.  I own some gold as part of my portfolio (OK I admit my gold is in the form of a gold coin from my Aunt Lucy and my high school ring).  I have noticed a marked increase in advertising in gold investing since President Obama took office.  The gold merchants have attracted some heavy hitters to pitch the shiney stuff.  The pitchmen run the gammut from ultra liberal Sam Waterston (Law and Order fame) to ultra conservative G. Gordon Liddy.  Other notables are Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Fred Thomson SmilingBob(Sam Waterston’s former boss on Law and Order).  Gold would be a great hedge as long as the federal government does not decide to conficate it again like FDR did.  Doesn’t our current president liken himself as the new FDR?

You will be glad to learn that I have resisted contacting any lawyers.  I just cannot figure out who exposed me to the flu.  When I do, I may just get a lawyer.  I deserve something for my suffering.  I have also resisted bothering my doctor to see if any of those drugs are right for me.  Although it was tough not to be swayed by smilin’ Bob.  Lastly, the crappy economy has made the decision for me not to invest in gold.  I could not even bring myself to call for a free CD and brochure to learn about investing in gold.

I also learned some other things while sick:

  • barbaraeden01I Dream of Jeannie’s Barbara Eden was hot
  • Bewitched’s Elizabeth Montgomery may have been the cutest female on TV…ever.
  • There are veterinarians who suffer from animal allergies.  One has to ask if they knew of this condition BEFORE choosing that profession.  Not to worry, Claretin will help.  A career change would help also.
  • I can no longer remember what sick people did before 24 hour television.
  • I can lose two waist sizes in two weeks simply by wearing this cool belt that “stimulates” my muscles.
  • Red umbrellas seem to have magical powers to protect anything and if there is a man in a hat, they can be used as a method of transportation.
  • The irritating lady that advertises for Progressive Insurance appears at least a gazillion times a day.  She does not get less annoying as you take large doses of medicine.
  • Geico “pitchmen” are not as irritating, but I like the cavemen best then the lizard and really do not like the stack of money with eyes.
  • The IRS will pursue you, but there are many firms that hire former IRS agents who are willing to help me.  Sounds like a racket.  Let’s get rid of them all and institute the Fair Tax.
  • I can have a certain part of me become larger with a pill (that is different from having all of me become bigger with a donut).  I can get this for the price of a postage stamp.  I mentioned this earlier in the post, but the kicker is now that this is available for women.  How cool is that.
  • Pat Sajak and Vanna White got old.  She still looks pretty good.
  • QVC offers some great deals.  I only ordered one thing (a pressure cooker cook book) and used it yesterday.  I do not feel less manly having watched it, but tend to quickly switch channels when one of my kids enters the room.
  • If you play your cards right, you can usually double the amount of any paid advertising product for only the additional cost of postage and handling.
  • Very few products advertised on television cost more than $19.99 (plus shipping and handling).

All in all, being sick is like having fish or visitors…after a few days they begin to stink.

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