Watching TV in bed before I doze off, which is pretty much every night, I’ve become more attentive to some of the ads and sales pitches.

It must be my age because the ones that seemingly grab my attention are those advertising pharmaceuticals that promise to improve a male viewer’s “morale.”

This bizarre way of doing things is nevertheless a natural consequence of our American way of life, where everything is for sale, just about everything can be advertised on television and there is a “quick fix” for any problem. Or at least one promised.

For us men, it’s Viagra or Cialis to improve our romance. We can have hours of greatful bliss.

I don’t need hours. I’m not starring in any movie. No need for lights and cameras. Just shut the door and put the “Do not disturb” sign on the knob.

But then comes the disclaimer listing all the many side effects associated with taking the “blissful” drug. That list is nearly as long as the satisfaction supposedly guaranteed.

That list went on forever — diarrhea, high fever, bad breath, blurred vision. I think I could have gone to the kitchen for a sandwich and come back to still hear the disclaimer going on: constipation, perspiring feet, rashes and, in rare cases, don’t forget the “risk of stroke and death.” Also, if it lasts more than four hours, call your doctor.

But you will note I did say at the beginning these drug ads may also improve a viewer’s morale. If you don’t feel better after listening to some of the side effects of these advertised drugs, you may already be dead, but I would suggest getting a second opinion.

No matter how bad the condition, there’s no way I am going to ask my doctor to prescribe such drugs. Unless, of course, I’m feeling suicidal.

However, if drug companies are required to broadcast side-effect warnings, it might be time to attach such a label to this column, which is sometimes read by people for whom it should not be prescribed. So here goes, in the spirit of consumer information:

• This column is to be taken by eye once weekly after breakfast or before reality has set in. It is only for the use of patients who like to scratch and laugh.

• Patients suffering from Humor Dysfunction Syndrome — defined as the inability to feel better from a joke — should not take this column. This column is not advised for the literal-minded or the humor-impaired.

• Some patients report snorting coffee through their noses or crying hysterically. Others report falling asleep, which is why heavy machinery should not be operated while reading this column.

• Nobody has died laughing from this column but the author lives in hope.

• If depression lasts for more than four hours after reading this column, see your newspaper vendor or local circulation manager.

You’ve been properly warned. Read according to directions.

Rick Head is the editor of The Alma Times. He can be reached at