Having spent New Year's Day
drinking champagne with fabulous celebrities and sexing chestnut-haired Bates lacrosse players
sitting on a sofa in Chicago watching TV, I saw a lot of commercials. Specifically ones with scary disclaimers. Like the Taco Bell diet.
Yeah, you heard about that thing, right? Some fame-hungry lady decided to become the new Jared—only a lady and, blerp, attractive—by eating nothing but authentically-Mexican folded meat snacks and whatnot, via the cardio-friendly drivethru. Taco Bell caught wind of this (i.e. paid money to have some fame-hungry woman lap banded and beef-stinked) and like set up a whole website about it. Thus trying to convince skinny-wanting Blubmericans that the path to svelteness is paved with Mexican pizzas. Which is insane! Because that cannot, in any dimension or realm (not even on Pandora, green land of dreams), be remotely true. So Taco Bell is forced to simply say, in wee letters, that their food is, in fact, "Not a low calorie food." Which I guess isn't scary in a shrieking kind of way, but in a "wow that's a really insidious and deceptive ad campaign" kind of way. People are gonna eat a lot of Taco Bell and, instead of getting skinny, Gordita Flu. That's really thinking outside the sphere-of-ethical-advertising/bun.
Oohh, what are some more fun and scary disclaimers? Here are three more, two of which currently have ads in heavy rotation. Terrifying.
Longer Eyelashes, In Exchange for Poison Eyeballs
Brooke Shields used to be an actress, but then Ladystick Acres was canceled, so she decided to become a cosmetology witch. Her chief potion? Something called Latisse, which gives you medically-lengthened and thickened eyelashes. Which, move over Louis Pasteur, is quite a scientific achievement. The only teeny tiny catch? "May cause eyelid skin darkening which may be reversible, and there is potential for increased brown iris pigmentation which is likely to be permanent. There is a potential for hair growth to occur in areas where LATISSE® solution comes in repeated contact with skin surfaces." Oh, sure, that's all. Just your eye color changing forever and scary patches of hair growing out of your face (trust me ladies, I've had to deal with beard-management for like 12 years now and it's still terrifying). But it's totally worth it, right? Essentially the bargain is this: Want longer eyelashes? Great, all you have to do in exchange is agree to look like Flora from The Real World for the rest of your life.
Olestra: Now With More Butt Drip
Ha, we all remember Olestra right? That's the thing they put in potato chips that makes them not quite as bad for you. This was greeted as a miracle some many years ago, because if there's one thing you can say about this country it's that we all want chips. As everything is always too good to be true, there was one slight drawback. So teeny and so slight that chip companies were forced to put a little disclaimer on the actual bags of chips: "May cause loose stools." The words "loose" and "stools" were printed on a food product. Mmm. Everyone heard about this and dubbed the thing "anal leakage", which is gross, but for some reason not as gross as the term "stools". Not particular fans of pooping their pants, Great Britain, Canada, and other countries banned the product, but not the good old US of A. I mean, no one really uses Olestra these days, but you could if you wanted to. The FDA doesn't even require the disclaimer about poop floods anymore. So. Eat up.
Chantix, A Quicker Way to Die
No one likes smoking. Well, I mean, everyone loves smoking but no one likes what it does to you. So lots of people try to quit but it is very hard and so they need help from drugs. One such miracle pill is this so-called Chantix, named after a little-known Lisa Lisaesque nightclub singer from the 1980s (one assumes — though back then it was probably pronounced chan-TEEX). Anyway, it apparently works really well, and that is good because smoking is awful (and delicious), but, as always, there are a few hitches. Here, let Chantix tell you itself:
Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions while using CHANTIX to help them quit smoking. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking CHANTIX, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping CHANTIX. If you, your family, or caregiver notice agitation, hostility, depression, or changes in behavior, thinking, or mood that are not typical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking CHANTIX and call your doctor right away. Also tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems before taking CHANTIX, as these symptoms may worsen while taking CHANTIX.
Some people can have serious skin reactions while taking CHANTIX, some of which can become life-threatening. These can include rash, swelling, redness, and peeling of the skin. Some people can have allergic reactions to CHANTIX, some of which can be life-threatening and include: swelling of the face, mouth, and throat that can cause trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms or have a rash with peeling skin or blisters in your mouth, stop taking CHANTIX and get medical attention right away.
Charming, right? Life-threatening skin rashes. Mania and rage. In the TV ads they say "may cause suicidal thoughts or actions." And, um, isn't a "suicidal action" sort of... it? I guess you'll have to decide for yourself. Eventual lung cancer, or a crazed frothing manic death from Fireskin during which all you want, clutching your hair in your lonely padded rash room, is a goddamned cigarette.