Song of the Symptoms

Song of the Symptoms


Let me apologize in advance. I was trying to come up with something to write about and that stupid “Pepto Bismol” commercial came on TV. You know the one where they sing about the five symptoms it cures…Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion…Upset Stomach, Diarrhea. You’ve probably seen it. Maybe you didn’t pay attention. I didn’t think I was and now I can’t get the stupid song out of my head.

Then I started thinking about how the whole thing came about. I’ve written a few commercials…and am available if you want to do something funny to promote your brand…Do you see how I gave myself a little plug there?

Anyway, there must have been a meeting. Probably the original was between executives trying to decide how to promote their product. You know men in suits without a creative bone in their bodies. It probably went something like,

“How can we get people to know what we’re all about?”

“I think if they get sick to their stomach, they know we’re available.”

“But do they know all of the symptoms we cover?”

“I’m not sure if I even know.”

“It’s right there on the bottle. Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, Upset Stomach, Diarrhea.”

“So, we just have somebody tell them that. Maybe John Houseman.”

“He’s been dead for about thirty years.”

“Really? Maybe He should have taken Pepto Bismol. There’s our hook, take Pepto Bismol and you won’t die like John Houseman. He would be alive today if he’d taken it.”

“He’d be 116 years old, you idiot.”

“Even better. Take Pepto Bismol and live to be 116!”

“I’m thinking a song.”

“How many people that are 116 listen to music?”

“You’re fired!”

So, now there’s another meeting. This one between the men in suits and musicians….I’m picturing stoned guys in jeans.

“Can you write a song about all of these symptoms?”

“I’m thinking of Nausea as more of a ballad. Heartburn…definitely country, Indigestion would be best as heavy metal…I think we can do a rap thing with Upset Stomach and of course Diarrhea is grunge.”

“I wanted them all in one song.”

(Long pause)

“Then it’s got to be a country dance.”


So now we have that annoying song that I can’t get out of my head. I have to tell you, it’s given me an upset stomach. I just wish there was something I could take for it.

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