By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Column: Car insurance commercials, memory pills and Farrah Fawcett
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

In the past year, I’ve spent more time at home than at any point in my adult life. Unfortunately, this situation has reunited me with two old friends, the refrigerator and the television.

We have an open floor plan where you can actually watch TV from the kitchen. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it is convenient.

In recalling television of my childhood, the daytime fare was filled with commercials for furniture and grocery stores. Most of the folks who were at home were housewives.

Today, the people at home must have been in a bad car wreck or slipped and fell down somewhere because there is a lawyer who is going to get you more money.

One of them is an announcer with a booming voice telling you to call this guy now. Then, the lawyer comes on and he sounds like Caspar Milquetoast, a wimpy character.

Some of them use spokespeople, like TV judges. Others show their team of lawyers getting off a jet to sign you up to sue somebody.

Another type of popular commercial is for prescription drugs. They take up half the time telling you about getting to spend time with friends and family since you started taking this medicine. The second half tells you about every possible side effect, including death.

But the one that just drives me crazy is the one for Medicare insurance supplements. The most notable spokesman for this is Joe Namath. I’m old enough to remember when Broadway Joe was peddling shaving cream. In one commercial, he was shaved by an unknown actress named Farrah Fawcett.

I had two pictures in my boyhood room, one was an old man praying over a loaf of bread. The other was a swimsuit-clad Farrah Fawcett. I believe if that old man had known about Farrah, he would be praying that she would come and break bread with him.

Now, Farrah is gracing the streets of heaven, and Joe is 77 and peddling insurance. Joe flashes that big old smile and tells you that this insurance will cover everything from the croup to a hangnail. These folks will feed you, drive you, bathe you and make you feel better. To hear Joe tell it, they’re not going to charge you much of anything to do all of this.

Folks, there is no free lunch, and there is no free insurance. They must be selling a good bit of it because it seems that Joe is on TV every time you turn it on.

I’m no insurance salesman, but I think the word to the wise is to read through all of the paperwork before you sign on the line.

The good news is that spring is right around the corner, and we can get outside and enjoy a little fresh air and sunshine. Mama always said they would help anybody.

Well, that’s my column for this week. Now, I’m going to go down to the drugstore and buy me some of those memory pills, the other thing they advertise on TV.

Now, where did I put my car keys?

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on