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Strawberry Pills Forever

By Jim Pickett

March/April 2000

Everyone these days is being asked to think outside the box. Ya know, come up with new and fresh ways of looking at the same 'ole thing, see things from a non-traditional perspective, be creative, inventive.

So I thought, why not me? I can do that.

And so I've a few new millennium suggestions for the Research and Development arms of the world's big drug companies, like, both of them, or whatever the total is now. I'm aware that R&D doesn't get the big funds that Public Relations and Marketing enjoys, but I feel confident that these ideas, if well-funded and nurtured along with tender loving care, will make another trillion, minimum, because they'll be meeting the needs and desires of consumers on the front line like me.

I'll begin with an idea involving the emotions, and work my way through the five senses as a means of exploring this issue in a thorough, systematic, yet imaginative way.

Check this out -- "protexan" -- pronounced "pro-tuh-zan." What is it? It's my plan for a new combination drug, a protease inhibitor fused with Xanax. This new drug will make you feel blissed out, a little loopy maybe, kinda toasty and giggly, and you won't really care that your kidneys are failing, or that you can't see your shoes anymore from that paunch. Hey, it's just more of you to love! And because you will quickly become addicted to this innovative new super drug, your 100% perfect compliance will leave your doctors gasping, the marketing guys creaming, and the bottom line growing. Everyone wins.

Sight. We like to see beauty, we don't like to see ugly, right? According to Vogue, "beauty is in," so let's work on the color palette here, shall we? My current (dis)array of pharmaceuticals range from a sterile white, very Helmut Lang on a bad day, to a rather repulsive shade of beige, a horrific sort of bland. Let's make them pretty! Let's infuse character and style and life, let's do like fashion does and create "color stories" to go along with our HAART. For those days when I'm feeling nautical, I'll don a sailor suit and I'll pop the pills in seafoam and salt grey. When I'm feeling bold and confident, I'll break out the shoulder pads and have my orbs in fire engine red, which, by the way, is the new black, and when "tease" and "tarty" are my watchwords, I'll throw down my prescription in sheer, not quite transparent, but almost. Naughty! Designers interpret the same outfits in different shades, you can get a toaster in any color you want, why can't Glaxo give me Agenerase in paisley? I have so much that would go perfectly with, and for those of us who are more style-challenged, we can have a Martha Stewart-style creature do a hit show educating us all on how to mix and match our meds for a truly lovely presentation.

Sound. We associate special times in our lives with songs. Whenever I hear Cher's "Half Breed," I think of the six-year-old me doing that very number dressed in one of my mother's slips, a long towel or blanket wrapped around my head for Cher hair, lying vampishly atop my dresser and expertly lip syncing "... the white man always called me Indian squaw ..." as my brother Kevin gamely sat in front of a half-opened drawer and pretended to be Sonny playing the piano, bless his heart. Let's transfer that warm fuzzy to our pill bottles. They could be programmed somehow (let someone else figure that out) to play our favorite song when we open the cap. It could be "Half Breed," Al Green's "Love and Happiness," "God Bless America," the Kate Smith version, "Muskrat Love," or an instant classic from that scrappy little pop vixen Britney Spears. And it could be changed ad nauseum, just like your answering machine message. Ker-ching! Ker-ching! I think we got a hit on our hands here. Hear! Hear!

Taste and Smell. I don't know about you, but my pills stink and they taste bad, like sewer chemicals. They stink going in and they stink coming out, and not just in the poopy way, but also in our sweat and on our breath, as I was horrified to discover when my boyfriend mentioned he can smell it on my skin, and he can taste my triple combo when we make out. He says he doesn't mind, but how nice would it be if he could smell and taste something scrumpdiddlyicious, like a double whopper or a pan pizza, or something minty and refreshing, or even Listeriney would be okay. There are several ways to go about this one. The drugs could be bonded with a Tic Tac sorta deal, so they'd taste wintergreen both going down and when you're breathing heavy. Or they could come with nostalgia tastes/smells, like raw onions atop a grilled burger on a lazy summer afternoon, or warm Tollhouse cookies. Or they could smell like CK1 or some sporty fragrance -- don't know how they'd correspondingly taste, but it could be worked out. The mind reels with the possibilities. Clean! Fresh! Sexy! Delicious! Mouth watering!

Touch. The importance of this sense cannot be underestimated. Again, things either feel good to us, or they feel bad. I don't particularly care for how my horse pills feel, their waxy, gelatinous texture is high on the ick factor in my palm, going down, and I really don't like how they make me feel on the inside either. Now this recommendation is what they call "really out of the box," but I hope you stay with me, as I hope the R&D goons do as well, because this has the potential to be real big. I was supping on falafel with another heavily treated visionary recently when we stumbled upon an inspiration for a new delivery method for our mounds of meds. Why, we thought, don't we take all our pills for the day and have them formulated into a sort of dildo/suppository kinda deal. We'd simply insert the dosed dildo in the morning and the drugs would be time-released throughout the day. Hello! Please sir, may I have another? Of course, we realized that we are "versatile" gay men, and our good feelings may not, in fact, be everyone's good feelings, but hey, straight men have prostates too, umkay? Right? Learn to love them! The gals, who don't have a prostate, can have nice times with their booties too I'm sure, so why not? And just maybe since the drugs won't be absorbed in the stomach anymore, we'll have no more tum tum troubles. Who can complain?

I don't know, but I hazard to predict a lot of happy faces and record-breaking compliance with this innovation. And with the others of course. Now it's time to advance to go and start working on the execution of these proposals. As a matter of fact, I just happen to be sitting on a prototype this very moment. That's me, smiling all the way to the patent office.

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