The Nation's Pulse

Getting Fooled

Never mind has become the national catch phrase.

By 11.24.09

Send to Kindle

Are we being fooled, in this advanced age of electronics and swift communications? Try a few.

There is the series of banks ads: Two little girls are asked by a man if they'd like a pony. "Yes," is the answer from each. The first is given a cheap toy; the second is given a real pony that trots out from stage center. The first complains, "But you didn't say I could have a real pony."

The man dismisses her with, "Well, you didn't ask."

The scenario is repeated with a little girl who may not ride a bike out of a square, a boy who is given a toy truck to play with temporarily, only to have it snatched away and a cheap cardboard replica handed to him in its place. Childish disappointment is a recurring theme.

It goes on. The 40-some woman who is regularly having tests for breast cancer hears suddenly that she is wasting her time, should wait until she's 50 and then have a test only occasionally. Scores of women are thus told that they have been fooled by medical science all along -- except of course for those whose cancer was detected on one of those unnecessary early trips and whose lives were saved. There's talk now of revising the schedule of testing for cervical cancer also. There's equal talk that the entire revision is flawed.

The advent of prescription advertising  has brought new perplexities. If a user of Viagra finds himself with an erection that has lasted for four hours, whom does he call first, his doctor or the Guinness Book of Records?

Scores of cities are now in the throes of the new age of medical marijuana. A couple of small towns in Montana complain that the liberating word is slow in traveling and they are seeing some legal deliverers processed down at the city jail. Marijuana has become a successful agricultural enterprise in North California. One of the few things that seems to work there now that sequoias have become commonplace.

There seems no end to this. Someone even has a car that he insists will run on air, producing a by-product of water. Ask that little girl if she would like one.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author

Reid Collins is a former CBS and CNN news correspondent.