I’m Half the Man I used to be….

I left the house the other morning with my son, and dropped him off at school in plenty of time (if you don’t know how big of a deal that is read this).  I turned on the radio, lowered the window, stuck my hand out and began making wave motions to the Dave Matthews Band song that was playing on the radio.

It was turning out to be such a good morning….and that’s when I heard the commercial.   he man

“Hey guys, do you know your testosterone level?….well you should.”  Testosterone level? Of course I don’t know my testosterone level.  She sounded shocked that I didn’t have an answer for her, and she was helpful enough to explain to me that the best years of my life most likely occurred when I was just 19.

I’m sorry… what now?….19??  The only thing I remember about being 19 is that I’m glad I am no longer 19.  Now I’m being told that the pinnacle of my life happened 17 years ago?  She continued in sultry tones to tell me that falling testosterone levels are making me slow, tired, forgetful, lifeless, boring, and less appealing to my wife. “It’s not my testosterone levels” I shouted at her, “My wife and I have 3 children under the age of 8!?!” Didn’t she understand this?  She refused to listen, and continued to inform me that without her supplement, I could look forward to years of sharp decline ending in my 40’s, where I would be found lying in my pajamas on a recliner, wearing a ball cap, Isotoner slippers, with an afghan draped over me as I watched the morning business reports.

I pulled my hand back inside, closed the window, and stared in to the distance. Suddenly I felt tired. I caught my reflection in the rear view mirror and notice a hearty swath of grey hair growing up around the fence row of my forehead.

I let out a long sigh as I entered the supermarket to pick up some items for my wife.  I walked up to the self-checkout  and set down some pull-ups, Clorox wipes, a gallon of milk, and a bag with 2 donuts inside.  (might as well go out eating something I love).  Next to me this young guy sets down a 6 pack of Red Bull and a pack of Hostess donuts.  “I was once like you” I whispered to him….”Before the decline”….”You’ll see”….

I searched the code wheel for the appropriate numbers to punch in to the machine. It rang up for a dozen donuts. I tried to go back but hit the spanish button instead. As the machine was explaining what to do next in a language I didn’t understand, I tried to punch in a different code. That’s when the alarm went off, flashing lights spun overhead, and the computer said, “Attendant has been notified to assist you.”  On the screen there was actually a picture of the “attendant” who stared at me with a sympathetic smile, as if to say, “hey, it’s okay buddy, this is a big, scary, complicated machine and with your testosterone levels decreasing, it’s no wonder you had so much trouble.”

Every day we are ambushed by a marketing machine designed to make us feel inadequate so as to sell us the answer in the form of a pill, a diet plan, designer label, newest self-help book, gold portfolio, and full body detox programs.  The whole system is designed to tell us we are not happy, not who we should be, but we still have a chance if only….And we fall for it, we make the payments, we buy the products and we wear the clothes.  We chase that which another human being has labeled as “ideal” and we subtly teach our children to do the same. In the absence of finding ultimate value and worth, we gladly chase cheap imitations of significance.

After “Testosterone Girl” and her commercial came on yet again, I turned the radio off, opened the car window and stuck my hand out into the cool spring air. I pulled into our drive way and opened the door to the house, “Honey, your man is home.” I declared with a Tarzan sort of swagger. My wife looked at me confused, “You ok?” “Oh I’d say I’m doing pretty good, numerically, I’m probably above average compared to other men my age” I bragged as I pulled her in for a hug.

“Oh hey I got you something today” she says. “Oh, what is it?” I said.

“Well I found these house slippers on sale today, and I know you don’t normally wear that sort of thing, but they are SO soft….I put them by your recliner if you want to try them on”.

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140 thoughts on “I’m Half the Man I used to be….

  1. Too funny! And that’s exactly how you have to look at the commercials insisting we’re inadequate so we’ll buy their crappy product which will in no way improve our quality of life!

  2. We hear complaints all the time about the media pressures for women to be perfect, but there is also a lot of pressure for men to do the same. Probably not as much, but it’s obvious (to me at least), that companies have woken up to the fact that 50% of the population can also be suckered into their hamster wheel.

    But at least I know now – if I buy some artificial testosterone, then I can truly be happy.

  3. you have to be happy with who you are and not let anyone, especially soulless corporations tell you that there is anything wrong with you.

  4. Doesn’t taking extra testosterone actually make you produce more oestrogen to counter it?

  5. Awesome! I like your writing style. Every time I hear one of those commercials, I chuckle and shake my head at the poor suckers who need that stuff, have a glass of warm milk, yell at the commies, and then take a nap.

  6. As a chagrined former maker of one of those male “assistance” product infomercials, I want to apologize personally. I loved your theme statement paragraph about the mercantile attack upon our sense of adequacy. AND NOW, A WARNING (cue ominous stinger music)…

    Watch out for retirement! The machine is set up to make you feel REALLY inadequate once you can’t make / sell plastic crap and fake miracle drugs anymore. They cast robots in the commercials for “those golden years”.

  7. It is ironic what our culture is like today right? Makes me thing perhaps the audience knows more about testosterone levels than the supposed experts?

  8. All part of the Testos Matrix Reloaded! Tell the lady to watch out! Tell her, the testosterone level is half full, NOT half empty! and Hey, you have a recliner?

  9. You are one funny man (in a good way).

    Perhaps you can explain another marketing ploy that is lost on this over-the-hill male: Why is everyone in the Cialis ads in a bath tub at the end of the commercial?

    I am a follower now,
    Allan

    1. Thank you Allan. Another good question. My wife and I have thought about ordering a matching set for our front lawn….but you know..HOA and everything….Thank you for following

  10. lol…such is marketing and such is life – ironical (how your wife bought you the soft slippers and kept them near the recliner)
    though if it were to the marketing world, they will make us feel our own redundant self.
    loved your writing style and congrats for being fp!

  11. These commercials depress the hell out of me. I cannot BELIEVE that they are trying to convince men that they were at their most manly when they acted the most like tantrum-throwing toddlers (in other words, when they were teenagers). IMO, manhood/adulthood starts when the testosterone levels drop enough to let the brain come back online.

  12. I think the same scenario played out at our house. Now I know where the angst came from.

  13. well deserved freshly pressed – very well written! yes advertising is truly evil if you ask me. i hate commercials – horrible, horrible invention. this is probably why i don’t listen to regular radio anymore – just use my ipod or cds most of the time in the car or find some other way to ignore commercials when i can. i agree with a previous commenter – some things get better with age. :) thanks for sharing!

  14. Very funny post, but true!!! It is a shame how advertising is used in some ways these days. I try not to even listen to the radio anymore while riding in the car.

  15. Thank you for making me laugh today. I find myself arguing over the same things. One question though, were the slippers comfortable?

  16. I HATE that commercial. We have a couple in the local area that are pretty much the same thing. Try the MAN STACK! Are you fighting LOW T?! Blah! So annoying, and funny at the same time.

    Sadly, I think we’re seeing a marketing trend that is kind of ironic. Advertisers have made women feel completely horrible about themselves, and now that they’ve beaten women down about as far as they can go, they’re turning the same methods on men. It’s an ironic form of equal opportunity.

  17. He Man dragged me in and I loved the punchline at the end.
    There was a point in my late 30’s when I said “screw it”, shaved my thinning hair and committed to myself that I’d be a fit bald guy who’s happy with himself.
    I do have a physical on Monday though so I’ll be sure to ask about that T level ;)

  18. I hate this ad too. But the best way to target potential customers is to play on their insecurities. It’s evil and wrong, but I guess it works!

  19. Loved your write! And you’re so right ON target. I was just telling someone the other day..backintheday we didn’t see ALL the commercials pushing drugs…OMG..Who is buying this crap?! And the side effects they list?? *slapping forehead* Most are worse than whatever the issue is they’re pushing the drug for…We’ve become a pill-popping-want everything instant society..Problem IS happiness can’t be found in a pill and nothing worthwhile comes in an instant. Lessons learned during my life journey..withOUT pill popping. And the best things in life? Mature slowly, gracefully over time..or least thats the way I see it. Again, enjoyed reading you!

  20. Love the ending, quite cheery! And I’m also glad it’s written from a man’s perspective – I feel like women are attacked by this sort of thing so frequently and are also more frequently talked about as such targets, but it’s really a battle for anyone, no matter gender age or anything else really. Tough world to live in and not loose our minds sometimes…

  21. In college, I did a major research paper on the negative effects of prescription drug commercials. It’s hard to remember sometimes, but life was so much sweeter when you could turn on the TV or radio without hearing catchy slogans for bladder control pills and testosterone boosters. On the plus side though, these ads discourage people from leaving the TV on during the supper hour. Nobody wants to hear about that stuff while they’re eating!

    1. I wonder if the increase in TV and radio ads of pills that alleviate conditions that come with growing older is equal parts proliferation of these products in general or a decrease in non-pharmaceutical ad sales? or maybe both.

      Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, and the Travel Channel seem to think that all of their viewers are in need of new carpeting, medicines for incontinence, cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, better car insurance rates, incentives to lose weight, and with just a sprinkle of better haircare/skincare products.

      When I read the title of this blog entry, I was half expecting a trip down memory lane of Stone Temple Pilots. ^_^

      I’m half the man I used to be
      This I feel as the dawn
      It fades to gray

    2. I wish I could have thought of interesting research paper topics like that! It’s true…there are fewer and fewer places to “hide” from all of them

  22. That is the funniest thing I’ve read in years!!! I loved it, what a great post! I laughed so hard my sides hurt.

  23. very funny but true too ads now a days seem to go by the philosophy ;first (imp) create a point and then strike it real hard so that it begins to hurt

  24. I guess that’s one good thing about living in Germany, I can’t understand a single word when the commercials play over the radio. ;)

  25. What a hoot! You are such an inspiration and blessing!! I’m so glad that you are part of our family!! and what wonderful lessons you teach everyday!!

  26. The sovereign remedy for this sort of problem is to avoid exposure to commercial radio. I listen to none of it, and I’m in far better shape at 46 than I was at 19.

  27. Very funny and so true! If we don’t think we have a problem then we don’t! We certainly do not need to be told we do by someone looking to make a buck.

  28. I would respect any man willing to admit he sat in a recliner with an afghan and slippers after working a long, hard day. That sounds like a great night to me.

  29. I had someone tell me the other day that she should be able to control when she’s happy or sad and, she had gone to a pharma-psych specialist who had told her that she was too smart to not be able to control when she was happy or sad, so was obviously bipolar. Medication was prescribed and then the girl started self-harming and engaging in other atypical behavior as side-effects. I could do a whole post about this, but she’d see it and get angry.

    As a human being you have only nominal control over what’s going on in your brain and body. People need to get over thinking they have any true measure of control over fine tuning their biological mechanics. Suicide rates and death by Pharmaceutical are becoming epidemic, stop medicating, start exercising and eating right. Otherwise you’re just making yourself a victim of the new natural selection.

  30. Great post…You are exactly on point with everything. They try to make you feel small so you are tricked to buy their products to be better. Instead of chasing these material things, we need to be happy with who we are.

  31. So funny! I just wrote a post about how men get all the cool toys and I wished I had more boy skills. It might make you feel better. Or you can just put on your slippers, take a nap in your recliner, and remember that some men your age marry 19 year-olds, so maybe one just needs to look at the testosterone as a glass half full. Cheers! :D

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