A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I’m sure at some time or other you must have seen the TV commercial for Ducolax. It is a wondrous example of advertising excellence. We see a man who is apparently having trouble evacuating his bowels as we say in the folk medicine business. By evacuating I mean he is having trouble going pooh. We don’t really know that we just have to take their word for it. The camera has zeroed in on a men’s room stall and under the partition we see a pair of feet sticking out from under his pants. As I understand the TV advertising business, this gentleman will receive money (the ad people call it ‘residuals’, writers call it ‘royalties’ and politicians call it ‘hush money’) based on the number of times the commercial is aired.
My concern, however, is not whether he will be paid or even how much, but does the man realise what this simple act of sitting on the pot will do to his private life. Without doubt his feet will become famous, but at what cost to his personal life and happiness?
I’m sure you will remember the Coca Cola song from way back when the world was young, ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’. The man who wrote that little jingle made an absolute fortune, so much so he was able to buy small bags of potato chips to eat while drinking his coke. But (and this is important) at no time did we ever see the songwriter’s face, or I might add, his feet, so he was able to go through life rich and relatively incognito.
However, it will not be a similar story for the Ducolax gentleman. Everywhere he goes people will see and recognise his feet. Do you see the problem here? What if he is religious and attending his local church? He will be simply walking down the aisle and some busybody will whisper (reverently of course) “Isn’t that the guy on TV with the constipation problem? Look at his feet, Marge! Omigod, that’s Harry from down the street; I’d recognise those shoes anywhere. Oh, and Beulah, his poor wife will have to listen to him moan and groan all day about his…. how shall I put it… his problem.”
Harry from down the street is in more trouble than just that. His wife tried to talk him into adding an extra bathroom back in 2010 when they did the renovations, but no, he wanted a cozy little den where he could watch the ball game. His argument was there were only the two of them now that the kids were gone so why would they need another bathroom? Of course their kids bred like jackrabbits and they and their four little monsters come over every Sunday and there is always a line-up outside the john when he is in there evacuating. He can’t watch the ball game anyway because the grandkids are down there watching whatever kids watch these days. That is they are when they aren’t standing outside the bathroom door shouting, “Hurry, hurry, I got to go real bad.”
People who star in commercials all eventually have to pay. The couple who came late to the opera in the Cialis ad made a lot of bucks but was it worth it? Well, apparently it was but not for them. They were married at the time but not to each other. Four divorce lawyers made a lot of bucks, about ten times as much as the adulterers did.
It has always been like that. Don’t think the girls who posed for the Nemo girdle ads in Eaton’s catalogue didn’t hear snide remarks whenever they went out in public as did the young lady who poked a guy’s eye out with her Maidenform bra.
I’m sure we would all like to star in a commercial some day and watch the cheques roll in for something we did in a studio a year or two before, but we forget that being famous has its drawbacks. There is a commercial running right now for Angelyne and a lady with a rather large bosom is seen getting out of a pink car. I was so disgusted I taped it. Sure she will be making a lot of money and be famous but one day she will be walking down the aisle of her church and “Marge! Look at the size of those… “