I bet my single girlfriends haven’t realized that their heartburn medication is what’s holding them back from finding Mr. Right. I was clueless myself until just tonight when I was enlightened by a Prevacid commercial that aired during The Biggest Loser Finale. Really, how could we all have missed such an obvious connection?
Have you seen the advertisement? An aesthetically flat-lined woman wearing a chalky green dress with pleats jutting out from under her bosom and flat brown hair talks about how her date with Hunk-o-Love was going nowhere fast because she had unresolved heartburn. The moment she found Prevacid, he discovered the real beauty that was hiding under the pain of her unresolved heartburn. At first, I balked at the commercial for its far-reaching reality and wondered how many desperate people were taking notes to remember which pill to ask the doctor to prescribe. Ironically, though, I also wonder if the marketing people at Novartis are really undercover Mensa lifetime members. Maybe there is more to heartburn than acid and more to the Chalky Dress Woman’s love life than Prevacid.
We live in a world of pills. Jagged pills, pink pills, white ones, horse pills, and people who are little pills. Pills that make us thin, happy, sleepy, zippy, and calm. With the pop of a pill, you can change the pace of your heart, the regularity of your irregularity, and the size of your penis for up to four hours at a time after which time you should consult a physician. We’ve come to believe and expect that there isn’t anything for which there isn’t a pill to cure. After all, even socially inept Chalky Dress Woman cures singleness with a little Prevacid.
There are some ailments that don’t go away with pills. They can be muted, tranquilized for a time. One in particular, heart break, as common to the human experience as hunger, strikes the unsuspecting and takes no prisoners. Similar to heartburn, it’s fiery and ravaging and leaves scars in hidden places.
You should know that I watched the commercial, analyzing the obvious and subliminal genius of heartburn pills while thawing out from a Colorado deep freeze. Just a few months ago, summer blazed over head and life sprung up all around us. Tonight, Denver is being preserved in below-freezing temperatures, the signs of life tucked away like roly poly legs under the curious investigation of a young child.
Winter is kind of like heart break. Sunlight is dim. Flowers don’t bloom. Clouds loom overhead. The crystalized air cauterises your lungs like love songs shred the images of once beautifully framed hopes and plans. I think it’s times like these that women wear chalky green dresses and let their hair fall flat. Yes, I really did think about all this while watching The Biggest Loser and then The Jay Leno Show. Ironically my mind gained speed, racing off the back stretch when I formulated a cocktail to cure the chill of hopelessness that began to settle in. We need a pill for winter, for heartburn, for heart ache, for dashed hopes and dreams. And, with a little philosophical reflection by Jay Leno, the Prevacid advertisement began to make sense.
There are no pills to cure the paralysis of deep freeze temperatures, heart break, or dreams that bleed. Being cold is part of being in winter and winter is part of spring. Who better to appreciate the blooms of summer than she who’s known the cold stillness of winter? Who more fitting to lap up the Hollywood spotlight as a thin, fit athlete than the guy who was spotlighted for being a person of size just seven months ago?
You see, sometimes the painful things are the most important things to endure. If there were a pill for all our ailments, we’d miss the glory of victory that’s reserved for fighters and survivors. I’ve toiled for a long time to avoid disappointment. I guess you could say I’m wearing some chalky green underpants beneath an otherwise coordinated effort and I bet most of you are, too. Maybe it’s a new job, better health, lower debt, less stressful relationships, or more joy in your heart that you’d take a quick-fix pill for, but I’m afraid there’s no pill for these things.
And, if I’m to be honest, the idea of shedding those chalky green underpants is pretty alluring. The thought of shimmying out of them and jumping into a deep pool of disappointment only to emerge as an emotional, spiritual Olympian is — while frightening — strangely alluring. Pills don’t make legends of cowards. Valor, unwavering determination, and the fire of spiritual hunger are the armor of legends.
So, what is the heartburn you’re medicating? How much chalky green fabric is restricting you from the dance of life? Are your toes and fingers freezing in the cold of a season that seems to never end? How buoyant is the dream that seems to grow more and more pale with every passing year?
I’m as certain that Prevacid won’t result in marriage as I am that winter is followed by spring. And, I’m also convinced that heart break and runaway dreams, unlike heartburn, are mended most carefully one piece at a time, in time, and a day will come when the victory of healing the hard way will seem like the only way. As for me, I’ll pass on the pills.