The Gray Geezer Celebrates Namath, Selleck, Trebek, Thomas, Osmond & Dr. Bong
Randy Bechtel
Namath, Selleck, Trebek, Thomas & Dr. Bong

I count my lucky stars every day knowing that television networks today have sponsors enabling them to deliver so much content interesting to senior citizens. 24/7 I can enjoy shows like “Diagnosis Murder,” “American Pickers,” “The Price Is Right,” and “Mr. Ed,” as well as benefit from commercials full of information so vital to making my golden years 24 karat.

For instance, during my annual checkup at Kaiser Permanente, I was able to ask my doctor: “Dr. Welby, is Humira, Otezla, Toujeo, Anoro, Entresto, Rexulti, Xarelto, Brilinta, Flomax, Entyvio, Eliquis, Farxiga, Ozempic, Warfarin, Tremfya, Mavret and/or Chantrix right for me?”

When able to speak, the amazed Dr. Welby said he would need to consider each drug relative to certain conditions, such as whether I was allergic to a given drug, or was pregnant or intended to become pregnant, or had suicidal thoughts or a history of depression, or had been diagnosed with glaucoma, diabetes, liver disease, COPD, Parkinson’s, hypertension, gastroparesis, leprosy, jock itch, etc. Dr. Welby said he would email me an answer in a few days.

Sadly rotten luck intervened. I received a message from Kaiser Permanente that Dr. Welby’s workload had become so great that he was forced to reduce the number of his patients. I was told my new general practitioner would be Dr. Chu Phat Bong.

Immediately I emailed Dr. Bong asking the question I had posed to Dr. Welby. Three days later I received this response: “你显然是愚蠢的人。我建议你购买一把大型左轮手枪,将它的枪管放在你的太阳穴上,吹掉你耳朵之间的小物质.” Because my next free checkup was a year away, I would need to feign an ailment and pay $35 if I wanted to meet Dr. Bong face-to-face. Instead, I opted to eat Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese; Cambodian and Korean hoping some restaurant waiter might decrypt Dr. Bong’s important advice.

If necessary, I know I can seek answers elsewhere thanks to a commercial featuring one of my generation’s great luminaries. While millions of seniors like me were sitting on their hands, Joe Namath was calling the Medicare Coverage Hotline to learn that he and most seniors aren’t getting all the benefits we deserve. What’s more, Joe discovered that Hotline advice is free! “Too good to be true,” you say. Not when Joe says, “I guarantee it.”  

Rewards of commercials aren’t limited to health care. Never will I forget when, deep in thought, I heard Tom Selleck say, “I know what you’re thinking.” I doubt that! I thought. Then, incredibly, Tom read my mind! “Just like you,” Tom said, “I thought reverse mortgages had some kind of catch.  Just a way for the banks to get your house, right?” Right Tom! Right! “Well,” said Tom. “I did some homework and it’s not any of that.” Gadzooks! I thought. Sad to say, it was then that my cynical wife chimed in: “Oh please! The only homework country club Tommy did was memorize the script he’s reciting for a paycheck from banks worth more than most homes!” That’s my Jane—she of little faith!

Because of Jane, I’ve delayed heeding the sound advice of Alex Trebek to purchase a life insurance policy with Colonial Penn. Incredibly anyone 50 to 85 is eligible to purchase a policy without a medical examination at a rate as low as $9.95 a month. What’s more, your premium is locked in and can never go up. The reason for my delay is that I’m waiting for new eyeglasses that will enable me to read small print at the end of the ad. I wouldn’t bother except Jane claims it says a policy will be canceled automatically if a policyholder is one second late paying his monthly premium. I mean, even if true, who 70 or 80 or 90 years old would pay Colonial Penn for years only to forget to pay on time one month? Or be unable to? Ah, but Jane’s badmouthing doesn’t stop there!  She claims the small print also stipulates that the only person eligible to be a policy beneficiary is Alex Trebek. Okay, well, even if true, no skin off my nose. I’d be dead and gone!

This may sound like an insight into the obvious, but it occurred to me that because commercials targeting senior citizens offer so many goodies, maybe commercials targeting more general audiences do too. Then, within seconds of tuning into ESPN, I discovered an ad by—WOW!—Frank Thomas, baseball’s “The Big Hurt” or, as a woman in his commercial said, “more like The Big Hunk!”  Said Frank: “When I turned 40, I couldn’t keep up. Then I discovered Nugenix.” Nugenix boosts a man’s  pre-testosterone level making him leaner and stronger. Plus, Frank told me, “she’ll like it too!”

“What’s this?” Jane yelped when FedEx delivered three cases of Nugenix to our doorstep. I shared with her everything I had learned from Frank Thomas. “I would think,” she said, “you would know there’s a difference between turning 40 and turning eligible for Medicare. I don’t care how many pills Frank Thomas pops, 26 years from now your Big Hunk will turn into a Big Chunk of 1 percent gristle 99 percent flab. And she won’t like it too!”

“Big Hurt,” I corrected her. “He’s called The Big Hurt. Oh sure, Frank has a bit of mass. But someone as smart as Frank will eventually heed the wisdom of Marie Osmond and lose the flab with Nutrisystem.”

Jane jeered: “It’s one thing for Marie Osmond to say, ‘Hi, I’m Marie and I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem.’ It’s another for Frank Thomas to say, ‘Hi, I’m Frank and I lost 875 pounds on Nutrisystem.”

I was not going to let Jane have the last word. Not this time!  Immediately I summarized our arguments in an email asking the opinion of Dr. Bong. Three days later Dr. Bong replied: "جهان خواهد شد بهتر است بدون شما در آن."  Now Jane and I eat Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Iranian, Turkish and Iraqi hoping to find a restaurant waiter able to tell us what the last word was.

Copyright © 2019 by Randy Bechtel

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