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Wednesday, 30 May 2007 00:00

I’m sorry for all the impotence ads

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By John Armor • Guest Columnist

There are certain categories of ads on TV which offend me, and no doubt you, whenever they appear. There are the impotence ads. (Known as “E.D.” to its friends.) Plus the constipation/diarrhea ads. Plus the mobility (scooter) ads. The implication is that older men can’t get it up, can’t get it out, or can’t get it moving. Throw in the Alzheimer ads, and we can’t remember whether we’ve done any of that.

I say “we” because all these annoying ads are my fault. Yes, mine, and I apologize.

Yes, I am falling apart. It was only a month ago that I found out that gout is not an ancient disease that was wiped out shortly after Ben Franklin died. It’s a modern disease, with about the pain level of dropping a one gallon can of paint on your toes. Repeatedly. On both feet.

Fortunately, gout is also highly treatable and disappears entirely. That’s good, because both of my regular doctors are fellow sufferers, and therefore highly sympathetic. But that’s not the reason these ads are my fault.

When you go into Burger King or whatever, do you pay attention to the canned music playing in the background? It’s all generic; they pour syrup on the music and the instruments, so the result is non-offensive. With a little work, you can figure out what classic tunes are being kicked while they are down.

No matter where you go, most generic music is stuck in the sixties, with touches of the late fifties and early seventies. And all that musical boredom is also my fault. Sorry about that.

Advertising goes where the money is — of course. And people who are on the slippery slope to high-stakes bingo and budget cruise ships spend more money per head than anyone else, because we are coming apart at the seams. But most important, there are more of us than any other demographic group.

I’m at the leading edge of the Baby Boomers. Sometimes, the definition of us starts at the end of WW II. Other times it is more generous, and includes me by adding all who were born during that war.

Think back to kindergarten. The kids whose names started with “A” always got the cold milk and the unbroken cookies. Well, that’s the way it has been for Baby Boomers every year since we first started to have disposable income.

We are the rat in the demographic snake. From music to movies to all forms of communication, our tastes have dominated over your tastes, regardless of which generation you’re in, other than ours. And now that we are falling apart absent chemical or surgical enhancement, these ads are the result.

I didn’t do this on purpose. And I didn’t do it alone. But all this is my fault. Right after a spate of ads for nursing homes and prosthetic parts, plus maybe a touch of elaborate funeral homes, we’ll be out of here and y’all can get the popular culture back.

Personally, I’m stubborn. I intend to stick around and see what comes next. Give it your best shot. I promise to be patient, and tolerant. Starting in about 10 years.

Of course, there is the little matter that our retirement will destroy Social Security and bankrupt the US government. But that’s an apology for another day.

(John Armor practiced in the U.S. Supreme Court for 33 years and lives in Highlands. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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