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Friday, August 28, 2015

Chatty Catheter

Take away my microwave. Hell, take away my smart phone. Just leave me with Turner Classic movies and a video recording device.

Because there is a tropical storm thumbing its nose in the Atlantic this morning, I altered my schedule when I woke up. Normally I feed the dog, let her out, and get on with my day. But today I tuned in to The Weather Channel hoping to catch the latest Tropical Update. Instead I got Al Roper (who apparently has been super-sizing his Happy Meals again) babbling about climate change. After that, he cut to Local on the 8’s, which, is just Muzak with a map of today’s high temperatures across the country. They can squeeze a lady into a box the size of a credit card and have her give me turn-by-turn instructions from here to Walla Walla, but they can’t figure out how to cut to a local station to tell me if I should pack an umbrella today.

So after Nothing Local at 5:58, there were four minutes of unending commercials. And the dog was getting impatient. She was giving me that you’ve got one more minute and then you’ll be going for the mop look.  Normally I don’t watch commercials. I usually watch commercial-free Turner Classic Movies or skip through them because I pay a monthly fee to digitally record the shows I want to see.

So I learned that apparently there is a biiiiiiiiiiig market in the country for catheters. I don’t know why. I don’t want to know why. Just thinking about a catheter makes parts of me pucker and my stomach do a little flip.

I don’t want to see them, either, but there they were, in plain sight. If you call a toll free number, you can get a free catheter sampler pack, including the ever-so-popular pocket catheter. What does that do? Drain the coins out of your pants?

Apparently there are many different catheters to choose from.  “Hundreds of choices” according to the website I visited (and left an everlasting historical imprint on my work computer for my superiors to wince at). But in the commercial, words like “pre-lubricated,” “no-drips, no mess,” “reduces UTI’s” and “reduces friction and pain” send my nausea level to the puking point. For Chrissake, I just want to see if I need to lower my storm shutters! Have a little dignity, Weather Channel!

You know, Other Bill has to have medicine shot into his eye every eight weeks. Yes, a hypodermic syringe stabbed right into the white of his eye. If traffic is bad, it can take us over two hours to get to the doctor who performs this procedure. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do it at home? Let’s do a commercial for that.

Attention Ocular Melanoma and Macular Degeneration patients! Now you can get your Avastin injection supplies delivered directly to your home at no cost to you! We’ll automatically bill your insurance company or Medicare! Call this toll-free number now to receive your free syringe sample pack, including the popular ten-penny needle! Less trauma! Less bleeding! Fewer Infections! Less screaming!

Let’s see how much puckering occurs across America when that airs.

Why are we forced to face the gross realities of life on commercial TV? You never saw commercials for vaginal dryness in the 50’s. Can’t we please go back to that? I guess it all started with commercials for Preparation H and “feminine protection.” Half of us menstruated, and a third of us suffered some symptoms of hemorrhoids, so let’s get bleeding orifices out of the closet and onto the dinner table where we could engage them in a gleeful discussion. Say it loud: We ooze and we’re proud!

And don’t think for a minute that you can alleviate the gross-out factor by animating it. I can gag just as hard watching the slimy green snotwads in a Mucinex commercial or those horrific creatures in the Lamisil commercials that rip off a big toenail and start boring down underneath it.
Remember this?

It appeared at the end credits of TV shows up until 1983. It was a way for networks to voluntarily abide by a code of decency that lasted from the fifties until the National Association of Broadcasters was sued and made to end it all. Okay, call it censorship. But it would be nice if we had something like this for commercials.

I’ll be glad when the day comes when we all have internet access and we can all get information voluntarily through a search engine. That way those who want exclusive deals on douche bags and enemas can look for them privately without disturbing the rest of us in the family room.

My stomach and puckering parts will be much happier then.


Remember that old Black Flag Roach Motel commercial with the tag line: “Roaches check in but they don’t check out”? And do you recall the Eagles’ Hotel California line: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”?

Sticking with this theme, a woman in South Africa named Sonnet Ellers invented a female condom that was supposed to discourage rapists at the 2010 World Cup, which apparently is a hotbed of rape for riled-up, partying straight men.

The condom is designed with sharp, inward-pointing spikes that are harmless to the penis upon insertion, but will dig into and shred the penis upon withdrawal. Think of Chinese finger traps but  much more damagomg. After its claws dig into you and you walk away screaming with it stuck to your manhood, the condom can only be removed surgically, which would allegedly encourage a suspicious ER doctor to report the patient to the authorities.

I will never again return a rental car and drive over those tire-shredding spikes that warn you with the “Do not back up! Severe tire damage will result!” signs without wincing a bit.

Ms. Ellers’ plan was to distribute thousands of these devices to women during the World Cup event, provided she got production-funding donations. reports that there is no evidence that this ever happened. Maybe her GoFundMe account didn’t receive a lot of support. Certainly not from male World Cup, so to speak, attendees that year.

The device is called the Rape aXe.

There is no evidence that I can find that the device is available now for sale, but if you go hunting for one on the web, you can find a lot of blood-thirsty Lorena Bobbitt wannabes who find the device as desirable as the most popular, hard-to-find Christmas gift that every child wants. It’s the Teddy Ruxpin/Beany Baby/Tickle Me Elmo/Cabbage Patch Kid of the contraception community. Without receiving an answer, Estelle Davis of Oakland comments, “Is the Rape-Axe available for purchase in the United States?” Similarly, “Christina” in Pennsylvania questions, “I too would like to know if Rape Axe is available for purchase in the United States.”  This, no doubt, has given Pennsylvania women named Christina a tough time getting dates.

Granted, I think that rapists certainly deserve something like this Medieval Surprise. If it were up to me, their punishment would to be as physically and emotionally scarred as their victims. But if I were a woman, I’d certainly have some safety concerns about walking around wearing razor wire in my vagina. I would be worried about something disintegrating and having the whole thing backfire on me.

Maybe the device isn’t for sale, but some women are managing to get their, uh, hands on them. Recently I was told that on a Spanish TV channel’s court show, a man was suing a woman for damages he received after having consensual sex with a woman who “forgot” she was wearing that cheese grater inside of her. I have a couple of questions about that. First, how long was that thing in there, and how do you forget that your vagina is armed and dangerous?

And secondly, is it really worth $5000 to go on TV and let the world know you got your pecker caught in a Veg-o-Matic?

I think not.

"The" Teddy

When I was in kindergarten, there was a kid named Teddy who lived in a great big house. His family had a lot of money, and Teddy was quite outspoken. He wasn’t good at sharing, and he snapped at anyone who encroached his surroundings or tried to play with his many things.

That year around Christmastime, the Ideal Toy Company came out with the “It” toy of year. He was a mechanical plastic basset hound that came with its own leash. When you pulled on the leash, all these gears would start grinding, and Gaylord’s battery-operated four legs would start moving, so the dog could actually walk with you. Not very fast, mind you, but you could crawl right beside him. Gaylord also had a magnet hidden in his snout. When you walked him to his steel bone, it would attach to his snout, and it looked like the plastic pup could fetch and carry his own bone in his mouth. Gaylord could even walk backwards. He was totally cool.

Everyone wanted Gaylord. Even I, a cat person, wanted Gaylord. It was like having your very own robot. Gaylord, however, was out of most families’ budgets for toys. And I suppose most parents thought: let’s get him a real dog, or he already has a dog.

So right after Christmas break, our little school van pulled up to Teddy’s mansion, and out pops Teddy with his shiny new Gaylord in tow. At a snail’s pace, they proceeded to the van as we all lined up at the windows to see the actual “It” toy crawling in all his glory. Teddy beamed with pride and ignored the bus driver’s call to “pick up the dog and get on the bus. He was like the new Miss America parading down the runway. Look at me! Look at us! Look at what I have!

Finally, the bus driver got sick of this grandstanding and got out of the bus. Before she could reach Teddy though, he snatched up his pet dog, slipped past the driver and into the van.

“Nobody touches this dog! He’s MY GAYLORD!” He warned us. And the rest of the day, he guarded Gaylord as if he was the president, not letting anyone get near his prized plastic hound. No one was allowed to pull Gaylord’s leash or to walk with him or even get near him. “GET YOUR OWN!” Teddy would yell at anyone approaching his perimeter. Gaylord made this one-day appearance solely to make us jealous and was the star at show and tell that day, although by the time show and tell came around, we had already been shown and told more than we wanted.

Everyone was pretty sore about that Gaylord day. We tried not to show our envy, but Teddy already knew the truth. Teddy never seemed to mind that people hated him, or at the very least, had ill will toward him. He seemed to be happy in his assumption about himself that because he had more he was better and always right.

Teddy was always the attention seeker and a showoff. He picked fights with people and then blamed them for “starting it.” He cried when he didn’t get his way and bullied little girls, using words we’d never heard before. He got in trouble sometimes for interrupting the teacher to voice his opinion, and since all of us at kindergarten were given swimming lessons, Teddy was the first to show off that at age five he had already learned to do a back flip off the side of the pool. The owner of the school warned him, after the first back flip, never to do it again, and he was even paddled for disobeying that order and made to leave the pool and get dressed before swim time was over. He didn’t care. No one else could do a back flip. He never realized that it wasn’t that we couldn’t; it’s just that we wouldn’t.

One day during free swim I wandered into the deep end and looked down at the drain. There was someone down there, but they weren’t moving. He had black hair like Teddy. I called out to the school owner that someone was stuck down on the drain.

What happened after that was a blur. A man dived down to the bottom of the pool, and someone else yelled, “Everyone get out of the pool NOW” I watched adults jerk kids out of the pool by their arms. I saw the diver rise out of the water with unconscious Teddy, and I remember an ambulance coming and taking him off.

Later we learned that someone had seen Teddy do a back flip again, and apparently he banged his noggin on the side of the pool and was knocked unconscious and sank down to the bottom of the pool. No one talked about karma back then, but I don’t think I was the only one who thought he had it coming.

Teddy lived to tell about both the incident and all the presents he had gotten while he was in the hospital.

I think sometime afterward we got lectured again to remind us that back diving and “sailor diving” (where you dive into the pool head first with no arms over your head) were strictly prohibited, and that anyone caught doing that would lose their pool privileges for the remainder of the year.

There was no reward for the kid who discovered the little brat lying on the bottom of the pool. No thank-you letter from Teddy’s parents, certainly no Gaylord reward. We kind of just went about our business, continuing to hate Teddy for being rich, arrogant and a show-off.

I never knew what happened to Teddy. He probably grew up and went to private school and became successful and as rich as his parents. I scoured Google and Facebook without success to find him.

But when I was watching the Republican debate last week and saw Donald Trump shrugging, making faces, blaming others, calling people names and insisting the world revolved around him, I thought: Teddy. This is what Teddy turned into.