Consents, concerns and failure to fit

Hey, pharmaceutical companies! We aging Baby Boomers are neither deaf nor stupid!

Photo of pills.

Here’s some senior humor by Charleston Mercury columnist, Patra Taylor.

Meet the Intergalactic Interloper

“Have you heard this news story about how some universities are requiring students to have a written agreement before they have…well, you know?” I asked my husband as I pointed to the television.

Stephen smirked. “Nothing says amour quite like a signed affidavit.”

My husband. Always the grammarian…and smart aleck.

“How will it work?” I pressed, my voice slipping into its upper range. “A couple writes a consent on the back of a bar napkin. Do their signatures have to be witnessed? Do they have to spend their condom money on a notary public? What if someone changes her mind…how does that affect the contract?”

I stared wide-eyed at Stephen anticipating his wisdom. “How am I supposed to know?” he finally huffed.

“You’re a lawyer. Lawyers know these things.”

“Trust me, Patty,” he replied. “This is way beyond me.”

Stephen flipped the channel to football, my cue that our conversation was over. As I headed toward the bedroom, I was once again overwhelmed with the feeling that I don’t fit on earth anymore. With each passing year, the sensation that I am an intergalactic interloper intensifies. At this point, I can completely identify with the uneasy feeling a prostitute might experience sitting in the front pew in church on revival Sunday, although if Stephen were still talking to me rather than calculating the number of days until the Super Bowl, I’m sure he’d advice me not to disparage prostitutes.

As I’ve aged, I’ve made herculean efforts to keep up, just to avoid the “blank stare” that often besets those of us of advancing years when we hear statements like, “Rijndael uses a symmetric-block cipher supporting variable block and key lengths,” or the more urbane “Wuzzup, dawg?” I Google, I Facebook, I play Words with Friends. I’ve even considered Tweeting, but in the last 12 months the only thing worth sharing about my life with a throng of followers was, “OMG, I just saw Darius Rucker at Dunkin’ Donuts.” (I go for the coffee.) If my current research reveals that my ancestry is actually deeply rooted in the silicate mantle of Planet Zork (which would explain a lot), then I might have something interesting about which to Tweet on a more regular basis.

Television commercials are one of the primary indicators that make me think I am completely out of place here…an alien among mortals. Several years ago, when rapping rodents were used to sell cars, I just figured the advertiser wasn’t marketing to me. Now it’s abundantly clear that no advertiser is attempting to sell me anything. You’d think that those of us that are 50+ might be a great demographic for the pharmaceutical companies, yet those multi-billion dollar industries haven’t figured out that being followed through life by elephants, dark clouds or bladders tends to creep us out. And worse, the “beautiful life” visuals for those commercials have an underlying commentary that goes something like this: “Stop taking this medication and contact your doctor immediately if you experience an allergic reaction; slow, weak breathing; seizures; cold, clammy skin; severe weakness or dizziness; unconsciousness, or you suddenly feel like throwing yourself off a bridge. Other less serious side effects that are more likely to occur include constipation; dry mouth; dizziness; muscle twitches; sweating; itching; decreased urination; or decreased sex drive.”

“Hit mute, hit mute,” I scream at the onset of these commercials. If Stephen doesn’t dig the remote control out of the sofa cushions fast enough, I’ve got my eyes closed, fingers in my ear, chanting loudly, “La, la, la, la, la,” as I stumble for the door to try to escape the perpetual visions of constipation and decreased sex drive that will most certainly follow.

Hey pharmaceutical companies! We aging Baby Boomers are neither deaf nor stupid!

Other concerns I have about my ability to fit on earth include recipes with ingredients I’ve never heard of, riots and civil unrest resulting from the outcome of a soccer game, and those new soda machines that give restaurant-goers 300 choices because a dozen beverage choices just wasn’t enough.

These days, so many things are beyond my ken. I guess I’m destined to be an observer in a world gone weird. If by chance the mothership is coming for me, I hope it hurries.

Copyright © 2019 by Patra Taylor Bucher. All rights reserved.

This column first appeared in the January 2015 issue of The Charleston Mercury.

Need more of Patra Taylor’s biting humor? Check out these articles:

The wolf, the chocolates and the curse jar, Part 1

Science fair may draw cynical parents closer to nature

Author: Patra Taylor

A freelance writer for three decades, Patra Taylor is currently a regular columnist and features correspondent for the Charleston Mercury. In that capacity, she has interviewed numerous Charleston celebrities along with a few national figures including FOX News political commentator, Tucker Carlson; Washington, D.C. insider-turned-winemaker, Bear Dyke; and country music singer/songwriter, Philip Claypool. She is also a regular contributor to Charleston Style and Design and the Southeast Film Guide.

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