Thursday, October 30, 2008

Physician, Heal Thy Wack-Ass Advertising

by pistols at dawn of save your generation

I was sitting on the subway this weekend, and since all the attractive girls I kept creepily staring at were starting to get "call Transit Authority Security" uncomfortable, I tried looking at some of the ads plastered all over the subway instead.

The one directly in front of me spoke to me – literally. In a raspy voice, it told me to kill all the left-handed people in the world. Then I realized that was one of the voices in my head – the one not constantly singing Hall & Oates' "Private Eyes" – so I filed that thought away for later.

The print ad was fairly nondescript, he wrote, preparing to describe it anyway. It featured an aging, in-shape couple on top of a verdant, secluded mountain, clearly in the middle of some hike that took them far away from everything fun, like "television sets" and "couches" and "booze" and "members of the opposite gender to have forgettable sex with."

The text touted some sort of health insurance from a company named GEHA, ending with the clincher, the part of their offer that no human being could possibly turn down – the opportunity to be involved in the company's free walking program. (Said walking program is also cited prominently on the company's Benefits page.)

Instantly, I thought: free walking? And here I've been paying for it like a sucker. And then, I thought: walking program? Is walking ever complex enough to necessitate a program? Because here's the program I've been working with for decades: 1) lift foot; 2) place it on the ground again in front of where it previously was; 3) lift other foot and do the same; 4) repeat as necessary, but try to live close to stuff so it's never necessary.

What newfangled ideas has GEHA come up with in the realm of walking? And how many of their doctors are wasting their time on walking-based research when there are actual diseases out there that could use curing? Unless walking cures AIDS or starvation, how about we focus on the things that are killing people? I haven't seen a lot TV doctor shows, but I've never seen one where the doctor turned to the attractive, weeping family member and said, "It doesn't look good. This man is suffering from a decided lack of a rigorous, well-researched walking program."

And with that, GEHA had lost me forever, which is terrible, because I'm their target audience. I currently don't have health insurance because I can't afford it, which is crazy, because I'd never go to the doctor even if I did have something wrong with me, so a company offering me health coverage is essentially saying, "Sure, I'd like some free money." After all, I come from strong, Midwestern stock, with a grandfather who told us "not to worry" about his stroke. Growing up, my father's medical advice, regardless of the malady, was: "Cowboy up and shut that pie hole, son. If I wanted a daughter, I wouldn't keep pulling out."

I wonder if a walking program could help heal those emotional scars.

Probably not as well as my current drinking and stumbling program.


katrocket said...

Your walking program is the same as mine! But I'm Canadian, so I put one metre in front of the other.

BeckEye said...

Walking is pretty complicated these days, considering that most assholes have to yap on the phone, text, eat, and finish the last few pages of that book while doing it. And the rest of us have to figure out how to navigate through the obstacle course of morons.

CDP said...

Plus, creepily staring at women on the train is its own exercise program; you'll get plenty of cardio outrunning the Metro Transit Police.

surviving myself said...

That's how you're supposed to walk??? I am contacting GEHA right now and starting a program.

Dolce said...

Nice, Pistol. "Cowboy up and shut that pie hole, son. If I wanted a daughter, I wouldn't keep pulling out." - This could me my favorite quote of all time.

The Guv'ner said...

My company used to offer an exercise lunch hour program thing where you paid so much a month, they gave you like....some bananas and shit and you walked ten blocks during your lunch hour with a big group of likeminded, insane people. I always wondered why those people didn't just go outside and walk for free and you can get a banana for 70 cents. Insanity.

Brookie Brooke said...

You really don't think theres a need for a walking program? Have you seen the idiots in an airport or a mall? Or I don't know, wherever you may be walking (but you may not be, being that you chose to live close to, everything, so it's never necessary, i'm impressed.) But there should be some classes or something. (and maybe that's what the program is all about.)Cuz it ain't as easy as your steps lay it out to be. I mean for all the idiots out there who can't walk , I am doing just fine over here. I too grew up in a family where "suck it up" or "go take a hot shower" was the cure to everything.So if I ever break my leg or have a heart attack you know where I will be.

SouthernBelle said...

Awesome. For some reason this reminded me of the Boniva ad where the woman says "I asked my doctor to give me one good reason to take Boniva" and the doctor says "So I gave her one!"

My husband started saying "So I Boniva'd her!" every time the ad came on.

MelO said...

At least the fine print didn't warn against possible tripping, falling, dislocating, stumbling, possible interferences while walking, or possible death.

Red said...

Everyone should have health insurance. Everyone. You never know what shitty surprising disease may be coming to get YOU. You don't even have to do anything to get some of this stuff. I should know.

I walk a lot more slowly than I used to, because about a year ago I noticed that when I walked at my usual clip, I kept falling down. My "walking program" involves trying not to do that anymore, so I walk more slowly and take smaller steps.

I know this is a place we come to be funny. I apologize for being all serious. But it was beaten into my head by my mom and my undergrad advisor that I should never go a day without health insurance, and I'm profoundly grateful for that.

pistols at dawn said...

Kat, I hear you also apologize to the Earth with each step for stepping on it.

BeckEye, I never realized how boring we all are until I was forced to listen to so many cell phone conversations.

cdp, being creepy does require a lot of semi-anticipated workouts.

SM, it's a bold new world out there for walkers. Or so I hear, anyway.

Dolce, I'll do my best to not come up with anything better to take its place.

Guv, that sounds absolutely ludicrous. Who likes bananas and the company of others?

BB, I just hire a helicopter and I parachute everywhere. It's far more stylish.

SB, I would hope there's more than one reason to take it.

Melo, all thoserisks were implicit. Plus, sweating and becoming one of those annoying people who shop at REI.

Red, while I appreciate your concern, I'm keeping it up because a) if it's a choice between eating and paying an insurance bill this month, I'm always choosing the latter; and b) I am invincible and uninjurable.

ÄsK AliCë said...

You could always come to Canada - land of Free Healthcare and FREE walking*. We're crazy like that.

*If said walking involves ice skates, a hockey stick and padding, must be 18 or over, side effects may include: nausea, headache, diarrhea, improper use of the word ""eh", frostbite and flu-like symptoms.