As a general rule, I am not one to lurk about the family planning section of my local drug store and certainly not with my 18-year-old son in tow. However, when the pharmacy’s printer suddenly went on strike during a routine pick-up, we were directed to a small enclave of standby customers clustered around a wall of products all promising Fort Knox-level protection with a cornucopia of kinky bonuses. I’m telling you; it was an eye opener.
“What do you suppose they mean by ‘Fire and Ice’ sensations?” I muttered as Boy Wonder groaned quietly beside me. “I’m serious. Is that like putting Icy Hot down there? Lord, I don’t like that feeling on my shoulder, let alone a private part.”
“Hey, did you see that nice blood pressure machine over there,” the prude interjected, trying to divert my attention. “Why don’t you go get your blood pressure checked?”
I ignored him and continued to peruse the merchandise. Once upon a time, before intimacy was a matter of life and death, and safety became the industry byword, product options were limited to a red box and a blue box. Now, thanks in part to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a handful of other conditions and the cleverness of the good people at the Church & Dwight Corporation, there was a wealth of choices complete with a wide range of special effects. I’m not kidding. No matter what your deficiency, there is a product to compensate for it. Quite frankly, I don’t think that George Lucas had this many bells and whistles when he filmed the original Star Wars movie.
I discovered that depending on my mood, I could be pulsed, twisted, tickled, ribbed or, so help me God, “charged.” Electro shock therapy aside, there were boxes that boasted “extended action” (though exactly what is being extended remains a mystery to me), a “triple threat,” an assortment of fruity flavors, fun colors, two different sizes, several quantities and an ominous line of goods designed “For Her Pleasure.” I’m not exactly sure what is going on there, but I would love to tell the bozo behind that misnomer that there is not a woman alive who places the success or failure of her entire experience in a sliver of latex and unless that box also contains a bottle of champagne, a dozen roses and a massage, you clearly aren’t thinking about her at all.
The more I contemplated this area of retail, the more I realized that the industry leader remains a brand of products synonymous with a group of legendary losers. I am not sure who came up with that namesake or why millions of people seem to trust it, but wasn’t a failed defense system the plot line of that tale? If I remember my mythology correctly, a group of warriors feeling rather cocky about their prowess went to sleep safe in the notion that their fortress was guarded against all unwanted invaders. However, when the opposing army penetrated their city walls sheathed in disguise, those goobers couldn’t protect themselves, let alone anyone else! I pointed all of this out to my son and said that despite the distinctive helmets and a profile that looked great on the logo, perhaps naming something after those connected to one of the biggest security breeches in history may not have been the smartest marketing move in the world.
“Maybe not, but it’s obviously working for them,” he said. “Still, I see your point. It sure does seem like they backed the wrong horse.”