Mr. Chatterbox

By staff November 1, 2005

Well, I just got back from the Florida magazine convention. My 20th year. And while you may find this impossible to believe, I was once again passed over for a prize!

And you ought to see what won. I felt like Jessica Simpson watching that awful, pouty, overweight Kelly Osborne being chosen Prom Queen. How could she beat me? I'm prettier, I'm more popular, richer, cuter, smarter, and I have bigger breasts. How could they possibly choose that bitch over me?

Fortunately, prizes mean nothing to me. They're for insecure people who need validation. I just find it embarrassing for the Florida Magazine Association. Just think how this is going to look in 500 years. It will be like not giving Shakespeare the top prize. Future generations are going to laugh at them. Yes, laugh.

Oh, they threw me a bone. They gave me ninth place or something like that. Pam Daniel, my editor here at the magazine, says I should be greatly honored-entries came from all over the state. Great. I'm competing with some pinhead from Palatka. And as for Ms. Daniel, that was easy for her to say. She won Best Editor or something like that, and for two magazines! Unbelievable. I'll tell you what: Read the stuff she writes and then read mine and decide which is better.

And then, to add insult to injury, the judges write a little blurb about the entrants' work, and you know what mine said? It said my writing both "attracts and repels." Then they called me "Hunter S. Thompson on Geritol"!!!

But it started me thinking, this whole fiasco. Do you think I'm beginning to sound, well, old? I've always been such a vibrant part of the younger set. But now they-my "set"-are starting to move into Assisted Living. Somehow walkers, catheters, orderlies and going to bed when it's still light are not really conducive to a truly smart social milieu. I've tried to make the proper adjustments-i.e., drop them and get younger friends-but I'll be honest. It's just not the same these days.

Luckily, I have the right attitude toward aging. I only see the pluses. Take health, for instance. I feel you're actually safer the older you get. Life has less risk. If you're on a cruise ship and it starts to sink, you get to go in the lifeboats with the women and children. If you're hijacked you'll be one of the first hostages released. And as for that chair in the shower-everybody should have one. It's fun to just sit there until the hot water runs out.

As for disease, well, certain things shift in your favor. A little boy is only expected to live to 72, but a man of 80 is expected to live until at least 81. And illnesses with a long incubation period aren't so much of a problem. You can eat all the British meat you want and still not get mad cow disease for another 50 years. You're well past childhood diseases. And a lot of the illnesses you currently have weren't even curable when you were younger.

Even sex has improved-sort of. The good part is that a little sex goes a long way. My rule of thumb is that when your sexual memories get misty and vague, then it's time to try it again. One "fix" should hold you for another eight months. And no more of this nonsense about "doing it" in so-called unusual places, like the garage. The bed's just fine, thank you. Or anything within a walker's distance.

Speaking of sex, one of my readers recently sent me a book he'd written entitled Erectile Dysfunction? It's Time to Straighten Up. My first reaction was, What has he heard? Not that there's anything to hear. But I decided I'd give it a gander. So many of my friends suffer from this problem. Practically all the men here at work, in fact. And I really feel I should do all I can to help them, instead of just laugh and laugh, like the girls in the art department...

Anyway, the author of this new book is Bob Bryan. After careers in the emergency medical field and nursing, he decided to devote himself to urology, rather like St. Francis devoted himself to birds and animals. And as Bob explains in the introduction, he sure was living in the right place here. Older men who play golf are ED magnets.

The first step in treating ED is to admit there is a problem. This is something I would never admit, but millions do. The next step is to figure out the cause. I always assumed it was either moral failing or some sort of retribution from God, but it turns out that there are all sorts of medical conditions you can blame it on. Diabetes, hardening of the arteries, Parkinson's disease, alcohol abuse-you're bound to have one of them. My favorite is priapism-painful, prolonged erections. I can't even imagine such a thing.

The next step is to consult a doctor and plan a course of treatment. Those wonderful new drugs like Viagra and Cialis will certainly be mentioned first, and I can only reiterate what Elizabeth Dole said not too long ago-they're wonderful! Even if they do give you headaches and make everything you look at seem blue. That's a small price to pay. And what with the Internet, they're so easy to get hold of. Why, you could hide the problem from your doctor for years.

But what if these drugs just aren't enough? For many older men, Viagra is strictly amateur night. They need stronger remedies, and Bob describes each in detail. There's injection therapy, which is relatively unknown as an option (it's just what it sounds like) and supposed to work great. It lasts for 45 minutes to two hours, meaning the biggest problem is racing home from the doctor's office. Then there's the urethral suppository, which is also exactly what it sounds like (ugh!). There's even a kind of implant, which has three parts, including a prosthesis and something called a "reservoir" and which I don't really understand but just isn't "me."

I'm much more interested in the Vacuum Erection Device. It's a hand-held cylindrical tube with a pump that's placed over your you-know-what. The best part about it is that you're supposed to use it all the time. It's like physical therapy. You have to keep those arteries working, and this is the way to get them in shape. It's exercise, like a Stairmaster. You can do it while watching TV, at least if you don't live in a group home.

Bob's book will certainly be an inspiration for all you men who suffer from this problem, which I don't. You can order it from And as for the Florida Magazine Association, well, I won't let your cruel comments and put-downs dissuade me from doing what I do best-helping people. If I've made one poor loser feel better with this column, well, that's why I was put on this earth. Not to win some silly prize.

Filed under
Show Comments