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.
“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”.