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11/11/2009 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

This week I’m turning over this space to Jim Dustin of the Jackson County Star in Walden, Colo. Dustin won first place in the National Newspaper Association’s contest for the best humorous column in a non-daily newspaper with a circulation less than 3,000. Here’s the column that won that title:

I already knew the answer to this, but because I was in my doctor’s office anyway, I asked him.  Before you read any further, you might want to ask the kids to leave the room. My question was (and I’ll use a little substitution where necessary, because this is a family newspaper) "Is it possible for a man’s osama to become erect in three to five seconds?"

I asked this because there is a product being advertised on the radio that guarantees this kind of, um, performance. I should have explained this in preamble to the question because my doctor looked at me like I was maybe in the wrong kind of doctor’s office, like I should be seeing a psychologist.

I explained that the product was not only being advertised on various satellite radio channels, but that it had been advertised for quite a while. That means people were buying it and the company was making enough money to continue advertising.

"I don’t think that’s possible even for a teenager," the doctor said.

I then asked, "Is it possible that there could be 5 to 25 pounds of ahmadinejad stuck to the walls of my intestines like spackle?"

I got that you’re-in-the-wrong-office look again. That’s an actual claim for a bowel cleansing product advertised on the radio that "helps you get rid of the 5 to 25 pounds of waste some experts say are stuck to the walls of your intestines."

There are actually quite a range of products that purport to do this. My favorite brand name is "ColonBlow," which is an actual product. The name brings to mind the action created by a plunger when your toilet is plugged. Again, my doctor had that skeptical look on his face. "We used to hear about that in medical school, but . . ." It would seem to me that if you had 25 pounds of ahmadinejad stuck to the walls of your intestine, you would be seeking some more traditional procedure than ColonBlow.

In investigating this matter on your behalf, I went to a Web site where a woman had reviewed, I think, six of these colon-cleansing products and thoughtfully had included a picture of a large hunk of ahmadinejad she had retrieved from her toilet after using one. I’m sorry to be vague. I try to be accurate in my reporting, but I didn’t want to go back to that Web site for a fact check.

And I don’t need the product. I had a colonoscopy last year and they pronounced my colon as clean as the inside of a PVC pipe. So I can skip the ColonBlow, which is good, because this is not cheap stuff. Packages of colon-clearing concoctions range from $99 for a two-months supply to nearly $500. And again, people must be buying these products because the manufacturers keep advertising.

Then there is Bob. He’s the guy on TV with that big ahmadinejad-eating grin on his face because he had been taking a product that enhanced the size of his osama to a point that the whole neighborhood seemed to be aware of his transformation. One can’t help but wonder how that knowledge was spread; we think we gossip around here.

The maker of this product is a company that calls itself a "nutraceutical," and, as if this even needs to be said, the product has not been subjected to clinical trials, except possibly by Bob’s neighbors.

I kind of thought these late-night ads would disappear after the company, its owner and president and five other individuals (including the owner’s mother) were indicted, basically for feeding customers a ration of ahmadinejad — fraud — in legal parlance.

The owner of the company, who has 107 counts against him, denied the 107 accusations. "The company president and others made up information in their advertisements, such as endorsements by doctors who did not exist and results of customer satisfaction surveys that had never been conducted," said the US attorney.

Yet here I am, after my chat with a real doctor, watching television and congratulating myself on my spackle-free colon and my normal osama functions and there’s Bob again! Judging from the fines the company was able to pay, it has tens of thousands of customers.

Tens of thousands? How stupid are we? How does Kevin Trudeau get on TV in 2007 and claim to have cures for every disease known to man (just buy the book) and the following year claim to have a way to get you out of debt immediately and forever (just buy the book).

This question I’ve raised about our relative intelligence may not bother you until you realize that the people who buy these products and keep these companies in business also vote.

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