My son Jack is football crazy. When he was younger and showed no interest in sports, I worried that my genetic code was buggy . Every father who ever lived knows what I am talking about. Now, however, Jack can't get enough football. Carson Palmer lives in his room with him (as a Fathead). He has two (that I know of) fantasy football teams. He is a student of the game and I genuinely believe that he would love to be the general manager of the Cincinnati Bengals some day. We watch alot of football together on Sundays.
There is just one problem with spending this Sunday quality time with my fifteen-year-old boy. Erectile dysfunction. What in the hell is up with all of the ads for this condition that run during the day on Sunday? I understand that the target audience is right in front of the television at this time, but so is my child. So, we both have to pretend not to be paying attention while these actors discuss with us the method by which they can become once again the men they are supposed to be. Poor Jack, he must think that ED is an unavoidable condition.
Apparently I am not the only one who feels this way. In April of 2009 Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia introduced H.R. 2175, a bill which would ban all ED advertising between the hours of 6am-10pm. As I write this the bill languishes in committee, undoubtedly because opposition to ED advertising has had to take a backseat to the global economic implosion.
That got me to thinking about the concept of desensitization. I remember a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry prosetylized that men's fascination with breasts is due to the fact that they are hidden from us. If women wore no shirts but instead covered their heads, he said, men would be fascinated with women's heads. I agree.
Do you think that the aboriginal tribes of the Amazon are as enamored with breasts as are we? Of course not, and it has nothing do to with the fact that their women lose the fight against gravity at an early age. It's because the women make no effort to conceal them. If you see something often enough, you got desensitized to it. That was Seinfeld's point.
Poop used to disgust me but after having three kids and changing my umpeenth diaper, poop lost its power to frighten. Do you think blood and gore has any effect on Emergency Room personnel? To them, splattered blood is nothing more than what a ketchup stain is to you and me. Remember when everyone was terrified of gay people? Gay people eventually figured out that if they made everyone else deal with their gayness, the non-gays would eventually find something else to be terrified about. When Ellen DeGeneres kissed another woman on primetime tv however many years ago that was, it caused a national furor. Now, open displays of homosexual affection are so commonplace in the media that it is hardly even worthy of note anymore.
Our fears are the result of ignorance. As a child, the thought of getting on an airplane was enough to cause incontinence. Now I am asleep before we even pull back from the gate. The physics of flight have not changed, but my perception of the danger has.
So, until Congress comes to the rescue and consigns these ads to late night television where they belong, Jack and I will continue to pretend to be occupied by something else when the ED ads intrude on our Sunday bonding. I daresay that if as much effort and research was put into curing the common cold as is put into hyping the benefits of Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra, I could stop being a compulsive hand-washer during cold and flu season. Thank God my twelve-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son don't like football or like Ricky Ricardo was famous for saying, I would have "some 'splainin' to do."