Monday, April 12, 2021

Let’s be perfectly clear

| March 7, 2021 12:00 AM

It’s always amusing when your adult children catch a fleeting glimpse of what their parents’ future geriatric years might look like.

Take, for instance, the countless times we middle-aged folks find ourselves roaming the house for misplaced keys/phones/readers, etc.

Or when my husband and I begin debating the facts or timeline of some long-gone event in front of the kids in a mumble jumble of mixed memories, as if we’d been living separate, somewhat parallel lives all these years.

The kids start looking a bit green around the gills and are probably thinking, “Oh, so this is what we all have to look forward to.”

Of course, my husband and I don’t mind ourselves at all. In fact, we’re used to remembering differently — it can actually make for what these days can pass for some rousing conversation.

A recent Garry Trudeau Doonesbury comic strip delightfully pointed out our generation’s collective forgetfulness. Mike Doonesbury is looking for his keys … again. His wife Kim Rosenthal suggests he try useless dietary supplements. In the next scene they’re watching a TV commercial touting the benefits of an over-the-counter dietary supplement that supposedly helps improve the memory of seniors.

“Do you suffer from mild forgetfulness?” the commercial begins. “Well, it might be time for a placebo!”

Of course, that’s not how the actual real life commercial plays, but with so many dietary supplements out on the shelves it feels like we’re being pummeled by placebos for just about every condition known, or unknown, to mankind. The market saturation is exhaustive.

The cartoon commercial goes on “(Insert actual product name here) … is the only placebo proven to stimulate denial in older adults with memory loss.”

Well, that’s one way to sell it, right? And why not take it, regardless of whether its effectiveness is unproven, if it makes you feel more at peace about denying your unraveling memory?

In the actual commercial an elderly couple is chatting and says, “After 30 days of taking it we noticed a clarity we hadn’t noticed before.”

I’m not so sure I can trust this couple. It’s just not clear whether the clarity they claim was actually there before and they just hadn’t noticed it, or whether they’re clearly experiencing greater clarity.

We’ll probably never know, will we? The elderly couple certainly won’t.

One thing we do know, though, is if you spend enough money on supplements, odds are something will probably kick in to improve your life.

The Doonesbury version of the TV commercial continues, “Ask your pharmacist if spending $1,000 a year on (insert product name here) is right for you?”

Personally, I take a moderate share of vitamins and supplements daily. I guess I’m gambling, but I’ll put money on the potential possibility for a better quality of life any day instead of just letting the chips fall where they may.

Now then, there was something else I was going to say … but I can’t remember what it was.

Community Editor Carol Marino can be reached at