wmthomas-sliderBy William Thomas

So I’m well into the 6 o’clock news hour and during a commercial break they show a guy applying a stick of deodorant to his armpits. This is odd because almost every minute of commercial time on every American channel between 6:00 and 6:30 is reserved for big pharmaceutical companies advertising erectile drugs. There are more ads for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra on TV than on my computer screen first thing in the morning. We can’t cure cancer and we can’t slow Alzheimer’s, but we can sure help grandpa grope and grunt all the way to the grave.

So the guy in the deodorant commercial looks totally out of place until I actually listen to the ad and, yeah, it’s also a testosterone-building erectile drug which, if you ask me, is being applied to the wrong place. I’m no expert on these things, but if that guy in the ad suffers stiffness in both arms then I’m right, the armpit is the wrong area in which to address this problem.

The commercial for Axiron is about 5 percent about the drug’s benefits and 95 percent about all the harm it can do.

“Axiron is not for use in women or anybody under 18 years old. Exposure to Axiron may harm your unborn or breastfeeding baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you have breast cancer or prostate cancer or urinary or heart problems or …”

Who would buy this product after watching the ad? I mean would you fly Air Emirates if the ad showed two people enjoying an intimate in-flight meal followed by a minute and a half of crash footage?

“Keep Axiron in a safe place, out of the reach of children.”

I should hope so! There’s little Jimmy crawling down from the sink with Daddy’s deodorant and suddenly “Boing!”

The series of “not for use” surprises are only the warnings. The side effects include increased acne, aggressive behaviour, enlarged genitals, excessive body hair growth and male-pattern baldness.” Excessive hair growth and baldness happening at the same time?!? Wow!

Show me a man who is able to grow body hair below the neck while going bald on top and I will fill a circus tent at fifty bucks a seat. Throw in Chuckles the Clown with an oversize electric shaver and I will put Cirque du Soleil out of business.

Promising to restore low testosterone levels to normal in about two weeks and urging prospective customers to “go the extra mile,” the ad goes on to warn consumers about the serious side effects of possible prostate problems, enlarged breasts, blood clots in the legs, problems breathing while sleeping, ankle, feet and body swelling.

As opposed to “serious,” “common” side effects include red and irritated skin, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting and increased PSA. I have no idea what PSA is, but I’m sure after everything else that’s going on here, it’s a welcome relief.

“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and witness the Amazing Harry! Before your very eyes this man will go bald and grow body hair at the same time! It’ll be like watching a werewolf with the head of Dr. Phil and the body of Bigfoot!”

“And that’s just the beginning, ladies and gentlemen, before your very eyes the Amazing Harry’s ankles will swell up and his breasts will get really big! He’ll remind you of your Aunt Florence when she was pregnant with twins!”

“And that’s not all, ladies and gentlemen. When I poke him with this stick, the Amazing Harry will get so angry and so aggressive, pimples will pop out the red and irritated skin of his face. His groin will swell to the size of his head, which will be contorted in pain due to a severe migraine.”

Seriously, I realize that men as they age often suffer a loss of testosterone, which results in a diminished libido, which by extension … okay, there is extension, okay. That’s the problem. Get used to it.

Need I remind aging men that the original purpose of all this business was reproduction and, unless you’re Tony Randall, the chances of you fathering a child at your age are about the same as Johnny Bauer coming back to play goal for the Leafs this season. I’m well aware that would be an improvement but it’s not going to happen, okay!

A low testosterone problem is often described as “male menopause” and sometimes characterized as a “midlife crisis.” Live with it or seek treatment is the question. What’s your preference? Having a hot flash or growing a three-piece suit from unwanted body hair? Gaining a little weight or wearing a DD cup bra when you go out to cut the lawn? Mood swings or blood clots? You want to look like grandpa or the hirsute gorilla that held New York City hostage? It’s just a midlife crisis. Seriously, buy a sports car.