I watch more television than I should. I guess that is better than some things I could be doing.
Having been a part of the media for a good portion of my life, I tend to notice trends in advertising.
There aren't as many car dealer commercials as there used to be. That's partly because there aren't as many car dealers as there used to be. My all-time favorite car hawker will be Tim Timmers. He owned a Chevrolet dealership. If there was ever truth in advertising, it was good old Tim.
Tim would go on camera wearing a ring of Hawaiian flowers and say, "If I sell just 100 more cars this month, General Motors is going to send me to Hawaii."
At least he was up front about it.
It seems they have replaced all the car dealer commercials with commercials for prescription drugs. There is one that must be two minutes long. They spend the first 20 seconds telling you what the drug will do for you and the remaining minute and 40 seconds telling you about the side effects.
They tell you all these side effects while they show you happy people doing happy stuff. They talk about you might temporarily lose your sight or your hearing while showing you people walking through the mountains. If you have suddenly lost your sight or hearing, you might not want to be in the mountains.
"Turn right," the person with you says. "It is a nice night," you respond with your hearing loss as you step to the left and over a cliff, which you couldn't see because you took a pill.
There should be some requirements that a guy with a staccato monotone voice, like the late Jack Webb, should look into the camera and tell you all the side effects. He might even have a chalkboard to write some of this down.
One of the more popular drugs is to help folks do what should come natural to married folks. No, I'm not talking about eating at buffet restaurants, I'm talking about the other thing that comes natural to married folks.
However, as we all know from watching soap operas, some folks do this outside of their marriage. If you are one of these and you take some of that medicine and you go blind or lose your hearing, do not attempt to drive yourself home. This warning may not be on the package, but I do not wish to share the road with a sightless man coming home from a fling gone bad.
The other side effect they talk about is wanting to kill yourself. If you're taking medicine that the side effect is you might want to end it all, I'm not sure if that's good medicine. If you were taking the aforementioned medicine and couldn't see or hear and then the other medicine made you want to take your life, it could keep you from doing something regrettable.
For now, I'm just going stick with my chewable vitamins that look like a modern stone-age family and those baby aspirin with the great orange flavor.
Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column appears every week in Sunday Life.