Ad Culture in America and other addictions

For some time now it has become obvious that ads are targeting the wallets of baby boomers.  No longer do you see prime time ads for diapers and other baby and toddler accoutrements or youthful clothing (unless you are watching Stacey London), for example.  I assume that many of the “baby” ads are on during the day as the bad assumption that all good mothers stay home and watch soap operas still seems to hold some sway in this country.  Even most of the cleaning goods ads seem to be on at odd times with the exception of those that are geared to us “older” folks and our limitations.

Now, almost without exception, we seem to be bombarded with ads for products for women who have urinary urgency or accidents, for getting and keeping an erection (and no, the women having sex with those guys do NOT look like the women in those commercials).  Likewise, commercial for “manly” incontinence underwear, hair replacement, hair color to correct gray, supplements for every ailment, pills for everything under the sun including vaginal dryness; all of which have hideous side effects.  These side effects, to my mind, are far worse than the ailments that they are intended to correct/cure/affect.

So I was watching television the other night, thinking about these very things when a commercial came on that I had not seen before.  Mind you there are lots of laxative, bowel, digestive and urinary tract commercials but this one stood out.  It was a commercial for a laxative marketed to relieve opiod dependence related constipation.  What?  I thought.  The news is full of the “new” American heroin problem.  First, heroin is not a new problem but its prevalence among new classes of users has brought new attention to it.  Today the news is all about those who become dependent on pain medication and when they either can’t get enough or can’t afford it, they turn to the cheaper alternative, heroin.  And we know that pain medication can be obtained from multiple doctors since mostly they don’t talk to each other although some states, mine included, are getting smarter about tracking these things, making it harder to scam the system.  All of these drugs cause constipation apparently. So some bright ad person’s idea is to take advantage of this new scourge of the dwindling middle class and market to addicts to alleviate this particular side effect of their addiction.

Oy vey.  It seems that the money spent on this particular advertising would be better spent on treatment but greed is the American way, especially if you can capture a few of the baby boomer dollars.

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blogging is weird

So… once again, life has intruded on life and I have been away too long.  Here on some part of the downhill side of life there is so much to do that it is hard to know where to start, or continue.  Bloggimg is weird because it feels very private when you are doing it.  But you know, somewhere in the back of your mind, that there is at least the possibility that someone you have never met will read what you wrote.  It is a most public activity in the end.  So, all you readers out in radioland, I am hoping to be back.

Its All My Fault

Ok, I’m a slacker. Life got busy and I abandoned my blog, two whole weeks. Bad blogger! So I am off the Walmart kick, at least for now. It seems to me that, frequently, it is all my fault. This is what comes of benmg a “sandwich generation” caregiver. I have learned to accept blame without really taking it on. I used to argue about these things but it isn’t worth it as it is crystal clear that I can’t win any argument on this score. Whenever my dad and I get into an argument of any kind his brain seems to skip to a new subject whenever we are about to arrive at a dead end or he is going to be wrong. He just gets confused and starts talking about something else. Mighty convenient I say. Our most recent example. I was going through his checkbook for the eight thousandth time trying to find the error. I notice that he was still paying union dues to a number of locals. So I ask him why. Other than his “retired status” dues from the union that pays his pension, there didn’t seem much point. My dad says he pays his union dues because he still wants to work. Now he is eighty two, he is quite slight and hasn’t worked for at least five years. He doesn’t remember that he hasn’t worked for five years. He thinks he needs more money so he should work. He doens’t need more money and he can’t work, although he is pretty healthy; his work involved serious physical labor. So, he says, he can’t work because he doesn’t have a car. After his last hospitalization he stopped driving. The reason he doesn’t have a car is because I am driving his car. In his mind I have stolen his car. Never mind that the doctor says that he cannot drive again. Because he hallucinates, can’t remain focussed or concentrate on what he is doing. He hates the doctors I took him to because he believes they are in a conspiracy with me to steal his car; to say he is crazy. He claims that he failed the neuropsych tests because he was having a bad day and he “has always been bad in math”. He believes the doctor he never met before rigged the test. He still speaks of the car as his prize possession. He believes I am keeping him here because I want his car. Now, while it is nice to have no car payment, the car just isn’t all that. I have tried to explain to him that a nine year old, stick shift station wagon with a hundred and twenty three thousand miles on it just would not be sufficient to convince me to do this. But it is all my fault that he can’t work, can’t drive, can’t fly an airplane. That’s ok, I don’t mind.

You Want To See My What?

I just love the MSN homepage. When I open my browser I am confronted by a fabulous array of fluffy stories about celebrity, sports figures, gruesome headline-worthy crimes and what we Americans like to call “lifestyle” features. I do not have a “lifestyle”, I have a life. I think there is a major difference. Maybe it is money, or the lack thereof? Not sure but I will continue to ponder it. Maybe its a lifestyle if everyone is watching and of course, in my case, nobody is. So the other day I opened up my browser, all aflutter with excitement to see what would await me there. What do I see but an article on “Dating At Forty ~ Fabulous”. EEEEW. First of all I am significantly (more than a decade) past forty. But really. I grant you that forty was probably my peak intellectually ~ now that the hormone thing is causing some memory issues. It certainly was not my peak physically; nor was it my peak spiritually (I seem to be working on that now). I have been married for over twenty years (for the third time, so cumulatively about 30 years) so the opportunity to date at forty did not present itself legitimately. Nevertheless I can say with some certainty that the idea of undressing in front of a stranger again after many years of monogamy, even at forty, was not an appealing one. More to my point, though, is that I don’t ever see “lifestyle” articles for women over fifty, or sixty. What are we? Chopped liver? It definitively seems to me that if I had to date again at over fifty it would not be fabulous at all, it would just be hard! Or maybe it would be ridiculously easy since I am no longer all that easily deceived and I no longer care as much what others opinion of me is. Nevertheless, that whole thing about undressing… oh brother. Apparently there is still some work to do on the “self love” thing (meaning self-esteem, NOT solitary sex, although if I were single at this age, that might just be a solution). Okay, so apparently women over fifty don’t have “lifestyles”, we are just marking time until the grave. I was in the store and looking at magazines and Lucky magazine has cute clothes, etc. It has a section that shows 20, 30, 40 (as in good skirts, or good skin care, for each category). When you realize that you are in a category that is higher than they wish to go, you don’t buy the magazine any more. I am not, however, ready for polyester elastic waist pants and thick shoes. I don’t have a lifestyle but I really do have a life.

Lady Gaga… Speaking of Disasters?

Ok how do you know you are getting old? This is how. You watch Lady Gaga on television or youtube or whatever viewing poison you choose and you go WHAT THE ….????”??? I like all kinds of music. I think of myself in a minor way as a musician (amateur at best). I even like some of the things my seventeen year old likes (heaven forbid). But I don’t get Lady Gaga. The hair, the costumes, whatever. I just want to yell when are you going to start singing? Maybe she is singing and I’m so distracted I can’t hear it because my eyes are full. I note recently that quite a few acts, including the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, and a rapper whose name I can’t recall at the moment, are doing more and more of this silly overly costumed stage show and less and less actual singing. The songs are all dead boring repetitive with virtually no lyrics ~ usually about a line or two repeated over and over as if the songwriters union was on strike the week the music was written. Rap and Hip Hop have vast creativity, this crap doesn’t. The blues and jazz speak for themselves. Many artists who are hard to categorize are special and worth listening to. I like a good show but for us old rockers a good show was some guy slaving over his guitar to make as much music per minute as possible, or great multipart vocal harmonies. There wasn’t much costume to it. Country used to have a little more glitz, think Glen Campbell and rhinestones; some artists today still do but they too seem more involved in making the music. Think of the greats, Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George, Jerry, etc. Mostly a pair of jeans and an instrument; what more could you need? Certainly not a bleached wig and cheap star trek boob costumes. I am so missing the music.

Alzheimers~Competence~Memory

So my dad feels strongly about keeping control of his money.  I can understand that.  I feel strongly about keeping control of my money too.  Balancing his checkbook takes a really long time; I mean a really really long time.  The last go round took him all day and he was lying in wait for me when I got home to try to find the several (very several) hundred dollar error.  When I got it down to slightly less than two hundred, we just took the bank balance and called it a day.  I couldn’t find the error.  Even going through his fifteen year old pad on which he has written every check he ever wrote – except the ones he forgot to write down.

The check balancing thing doesn’t seem a matter of bad memory or incompetence, it seems a matter of alienation.  He looks at the thing and it seems foreign to him, and familiar all at the same time.  Then there are all the people out to get him, notably doctors.  All the doctors really don’t know what they are doing.  They are in cahoots with me to prevent him from driving, controlling his money, or ever getting better.  His feeling is that without their interference he would be flying a plane, working, winning tennis tournaments and driving across the country.  Age has nothing to do with it.  And all those pills intended to “help” him just cause diarrhea.
This has been quite the discussion.  We took him off all meds and then talked about what was critical to take and they added those in one at a time.  So far so good.  And he ended up so healthy that they permanently stopped several of his meds.  He was down to 3 kind of critical ones for his memory and his prostate.  No diarrhea.  For months, and months.  He took them in the hospital, he took them in rehab, he took them when he came home… for a while.  Now he doesn’t take them, and the caregivers are afraid of him so they don’t insist; not that it would do any good.  He is competent enough to know he doesn’t want to take his meds, even if he cna’t remember what they are supposed to be good for.
Diarrhea is back, couldn’t be the flu, has to be the meds so it is the last excuse to completely quit taking them (he was still good for a few times a week). He has a diagnosis of Alzheimers, early stage; and his memory is not so great (short term especially), but when is a person incompetent?  How do you know when the alienation becomes so great that the familiarity is overwhelmed?
I see it happening more and more.  His computer is a foreign country despite the millions of times he has clicked the same clicks.  The remote control is becoming more difficult.  Where “things” are is a constant battle of repetition.  But he gets up in the morning, feeds himself, dresses himself and pays his bills (often several times).
So… where’s the line?