If erectile dysfunction had been around when I was a kid, I wouldn't be here today.
Let me rephrase: I wouldn't be here today writing this column, because I would never have become interested in sports, because I would never have been allowed to watch them on television with my dad.
In those days, the average family had one television. We were average. Typically, the father would decide what the family would watch. We were typical. So I watched a lot of sports, and I got the bug.
But if every sporting event had included middle-aged couples canoodling in bathtubs, I would have been sent to my room. And I might still be there.
I can imagine turning my shining, innocent face to my father, ensconced in his recliner, and asking, "What's an erec -- ?" There would have been a Dad-shaped hole in the back door.
And he'd still be running.
Oh, I suppose middle-aged guys had ED in the '70s. But apparently they just put up with it. Women, too, I guess. They didn't call that the Greatest Generation for nothing.
Commercials that air during sports events have always had the distinctive -- even musky -- scent of male about them. I get that. I am sure sports television advertising reflects the interests of a majority of sports television viewers. I just wish I was in that majority, or rather that the minority was occasionally acknowledged, and not in a Swedish-Bikini-Team kind of way. It's not surprising that more women don't watch sports on television; it's a miracle any do.
To sit through the array of male-dominated commercials is painful at times. Many ads don't include women; those that do don't acknowledge them as sports fans -- or consumers, for that matter. In fact, those commercials seem to make the assumption that no gals are watching the he-man-woman-haters club that is ... professional golf?
Consider the Heineken commercial in which the woman shows off her huge walk-in closet to her friends, who start squealing. Meantime, her husband is showing off his huge beer-filled closet to his friends, who start squealing. I actually like that commercial -- especially the guy who does the geeky little clapping dance -- but I would be more likely to squeal over a closet full of Guinness than a closet full of Jimmy Choos.
The ED commercials are hilarious in other ways. Imagine the casting call for those things: "Looking for middle-aged men, attractive but not hunky, virile but vulnerable, graying but not gray, fit but not buff ... " The men are good-looking, but not so good-looking that you think, "Oh, this guy can't have ED." No one's going to buy Robert Redford in one of these commercials. But the guy can't look so decrepit that the consumer recoils at the idea of him as a representative male. Let's face it: We're never going to see Wilford Brimley in a bathtub in a meadow. (And where the heck are they getting the water to fill those things? If the men are toting it from the house, won't they be too tired to "enjoy" the Cialis?)
Then there are the Wimbledon commercials. Let's see: Rolex, Cialis and NetJets. They don't just pander to males; they pander to rich males. (Though as someone who once flew on a prop plane with a pig, NetJets doesn't sound half bad.) Of course, if you're rich enough to afford a jet, you probably didn't get that way by making all your decisions based on TV commercials.
And of course, life insurance -- that's a sports favorite, too. Life insurance and investments. I like the one with the little boy sitting on the couch with Dad, watching TV (one assumes they are watching sports) and a commercial comes on about life insurance, and the kid asks Dad what life insurance is, and Dad tells him, and the kid asks if they have life insurance. Dad says yes, and the kid is happy. Mom is nowhere to be seen (one assumes she is in the closet, squealing at shoes).
Note that there isn't a commercial in which a precious moppet asks Dad what erectile disfunction is, which proves my point.
Of course, all of this annoyance can be solved by that handy little gadget called the remote control. My theory is that the remote was invented by a nervous father, not unlike mine, who was embarrassed once too often by the constant barrage of commercials for beer and Viagra. (Not to be taken in combination, by the way.)
This would also explain the male's superior use of the device. If working the remote were a sport, my dad would be a first-round draft choice. (If working the DVD player were a sport, my dad would be on the disabled list.) During a recent visit to my former Home on the Range, I got to observe the master at work. One day we watched "Dirty Harry," the NBA playoffs and the Royals, all at the same time, with no Cialis commercials and no Dad-shaped holes in the door. You might remember that afternoon, when Clint Eastwood relieved Zack Greinke in the ninth, struck out Zodiac and won the Western Conference semifinals.
What a day!