Like many boys of the 80s, I fell in love with Jamie Lee Curtis after marveling at her breasts performance in TRADING PLACES thanks to the wonder of the VCR. Her subsequent displays of comedic flair in A FISH CALLED WANDA, TRUE LIES and FREAKY FRIDAY solidified her permanent place in my personal pantheon.
She did not need to contribute to my life any more than that. Yet she did. She’s a giver.
Two years ago, I was fast-forwarding through a DVRed television ad when I spotted Ms. Curtis. Screech. Rewind. The commercial touted Activia, something that looked like a yogurt-type thing. Good enough for Jamie Lee was good enough for me. Activia just made the mental shopping list.
I had not eaten yogurt since my last after-school snack in Mom’s kitchen. Back then I was purely a “fruit on the bottom guy” (insert joke here). One time, my mother brought home the Swiss style yogurt, a.k.a. premixed congealed something. She did not make that mistake again.
From the Activia commercial, I gleaned that it was a member of the latter class. So sorry, JLC. Activia just got crossed off the mental shopping list.
But, as I watched the ad for a third time, I learned that Jamie had struggled with “digestive health,” and that Activia had changed her life.
I did not know exactly what she meant by digestive health, but I was fairly certain I did not meet the criteria for digestively healthy.
For more than twenty years, I’d had an “active” gastro-intestinal system. Five to seven times a day, I’d find myself seated in a bathroom. Medical tests revealed nothing wrong, and I did not present the symptoms of IBS. Doctors told me comfortingly, “It’s just you.”
But then Jamie Lee Angel showed me the light. I don’t know why Dannon named the yogurt Activia; they should’ve called it “Panacea.” I began my transformation by having one container every morning for breakfast. (Cherry is the best – not even close – but it doesn’t come in “lite.” I recommend blueberry, peach, raspberry and strawberry, in that order.) Within four days, I was dumping only twice a day; after a few weeks, I was an occasional Mr. One-A-Day. Holy shit, indeed!
So, this is what the rest of the world is like!
What a joy to not have to endure the men’s room toilet on the 14th hole of a golf course or – wretch – at Dodger Stadium. “Digestive health” is a surprisingly unpopular topic of conversation at dinner parties, but I spread the gospel of Activia, anyway. I even went so far as to ask my mother to buy my life-changing yogurt prior to my arrival home; when my tightwad old man balked at the added expense, I explained it would be cancelled out by the decrease in TP usage.
But then I learned the painful lesson of what the phrase “To good to be true” means. It means something that seems so good is not so good as it seems to be.
That is not to say Activia’s impact was merely a placebo effect; I am still, uh, solid GI-wise. But, as a former pharmaceutical salesman extraordinaire, I should have been on the lookout for side effects not listed on the container.
Taking a break from this highly personal essay, I glance over at my coffee table, screaming for relief from the stack of subscriptions it unfairly bears. I didn’t sign up for this/these, it seems to say.
Damn you, Jamie Lee! You never warned me of Activia’s negative impact on my magazine reading!
I am at least six weeks behind on “Sports Illustrated,” eight on “Time,” and I may not finish a “Vanity Fair” prior to Romney finishing off Santorum. (Note: I read “The New Yorker” at bedtime, for obvious reasons, so I’m OK there.) Just how I am supposed to catch up, I do not know. Probably, the most recent of “Time” ran a feature on this critical issue.
Do I cancel my subscriptions? That seems like quitting. But the trees would likely appreciate it. First world problems, these.
Unable to resolve the dilemma myself, I asked myself: WWJLD? What Would Jamie Lee Do?
I think she’d keep riding the “A-Train.” And so I am (with fingers crossed Dannon comes out with a Cherry-Lite soon).
Photo by tsubasuke5