Pulled Pork for the Common Man

This article was originally published in The Land of Farts and Sunshine.

I hate Bob, the Enzyte guy, with a passion. Or maybe I just hate what he stands for – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Either way, I’ve had more than my fill of the Enzyte “male enhancement” infomercials. I can scarcely avert my eyes and hit the mute button fast enough when the Bob’s rigid (no pun intended), smiling mask appears.

I hate the Enzyte commercials because, 1.) They are stupid, and because 2.) They are stupid.

Seriously, though, it’s ludicrous to think that a guy can lose his drawers at a middle-American suburban pool party, and all the retro ladies (where did they come from? – this is 2007) are going to be either charmed, or awed, and his wife is going to be proud. How about shocked, traumatized, and mortified?

It pretty much goes to show you, however, that some American men hold their “little buddy” in the highest of esteem, else Enzyte wouldn’t sell so well. Capitalizing on the hope that at least some men will psychically graft their head onto Bob’s shoulders, the manufacturer of Enzyte, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, has made millions selling a product that simply doesn’t work. Last year, they also had to pay out $2.5 million in a class action suit, accusing the company of deceptive business practices. Mind you, these “deceptive practices” had nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not the product actually produces “male enhancement” (because “male enhancment” is deliberately vague enough to mean almost anything, and certainly vague enough to account for any placebo effects that men taking Enzyte may experience, which they might interpret as “enhancement”). The lawsuit, rather, concerned unethical business practices, like billing customers for product they never purchased, and not giving refunds, even though refunds are ostensibly the company’s policy.

The implication – although not expressely stated in more recent commercials – is that Enzyte will increase the size of the male member, thereby improving Bob’s life in every conceivable way. In one of the commercials, as I have mentioned, the camera pans to a shot of Bob’s drawers floating in the pool as he emerges, and then to the neigborhood ladies expressing looks of either awe or admiration, their heads ever-so-slightly inclined downwards.

But, no – Berkeley isn’t making any claims about increasing penis size. The ladies must be admiring his physique, not his dingus.

The catch, here in America: It is, in principle, perfectly legal to sell snake oil in the United States, so long as:

1.) It contains no known toxins or toxic elements (like lead or arsenic), and no controlled substances, as these are defined by the FDA. Note how I do not state: “as long as it doesn’t make you sick.” It is a fact that there have been number of “supplement” products which have made people ill, that were within FDA “guidelines.” It should also be noted that certain “legal” herbs such as skullcap, and others, which are not regulated by the FDA, have potential detrimental affects on the liver and other body systems. In the case of certain other herbs, the effects of long-term usage are simply not known.

2.) No specific claim is made that the supplement is intended to diagnose treat or cure disease. Hence the disclaimer in tiny, tiny print at the bottom of many infomercials, stating, “These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose..blah,blah.” The warming is ostensibly intended to protect the consumer, but it’s functionally an escape clause for the snake-oil pusher. By deliberately using vague language and creative innuendo, almost anything can be “suggested” without making a specific claim. In the prior example of “Bob” emerging from the swimming pool sans swimsuit, it’s all body language, narrated by a wolfish sounding narrator doing what’s basically the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge,” routine.

3.) It’s an “herbal remedy.” Herbs are not regulated by the FDA; consequently, the enterprising individual may blend a variety of exotic herbs, advertise with various deceptive, but nevertheless legal tactics, and sell you what is basically a capsule full of ground weeds for an ultra-inflated price.

Don’t think I’m 100% down on medicinal herbs, here. I well know that peppermint tea will soothe an upset stomach, that a tea of licorice root and mint will soothe a cough, that an infusion of white willow bark will reduce pain and inflammation and fever, that slippery elm is good for a dry mouth and a sore throat, that at tea of valerian or hops will make you drowsy and help you sleep. It is not this judicious usage of herbs that I object to, but rather the formulation of “radical” blends with exotic herbs that have been little studied in terms of their short and long-term effects, and selling these with the indirect suggestion that this will help you in this way, or that way.

Back to Bob. I still feel like I hate this guy. Curious. It’s got to be that “tetanus grin” on his face, coupled with what he’s helping the company to sell. I also hate him because he hasn’t gone away yet, and still pops up in my face when I’m watching a little late night TV. I hate that it’s possible to get filthy rich in America selling garbage, while honest, hardworking people have to struggle just to make ends meet.

Furthermore, despite being a male, I find the all-too-common male preoccupation with his own sex organ distasteful, and “Bob” is a symbol of that. Bob’s got a “new spring in his step,” Bob’s got a “new air of confidence,” according to the commercials…

Why not just come out and say it? Bob has a HUGE schlong. It’s like a damned baseball bat made of meat; he has to tuck it in his sock. Got it registered with the FBI as a lethal weapon, yes indeed, Bob has an ENORMOUS COCK. And women love him for his preternatually large member. Kudos to Enzyte.

Language betrays the cultural preoccupation with our “naughty bits.” In deference to any women readers, I will not discuss the many names given to the female parts, but I think it might be entertaining to consider alternate names for various body parts. The lists are off the top of my head, and aren’t intended to be exhaustive:

Arms: arms
Legs: leg, stilts, pegs, gams

Fingers: digits, claws, hooks

Nose: honker, shnoz, snotbox, beak, snout

Toes: piggies, tootsies, toesies

Penis: bug, chubby, cock, crank, dick, dingus, dink, doodle, dong, herman the one-eyed german, hose, johnson, john-thomas, meat, mouse, one-eyed trouser snake, pee-pee, pole, pork, pud, salami, sausage, schlong, skin-boat, skin-flute, snake, stinger, tallywhacker, tool, trouser-mouse, tube-steak, wang, wanger, wick, willy, wing-dang-doodle, weenie, weiner

Isn’t it awfully nice to have a penis?
Isn’t it frightfully good to have a dong?
It’s swell to have a stiffy.
It’s divine to own a dick,
From the tiniest little tadger
To the world’s biggest prick.
So, three cheers for your Willy or John Thomas.
Hooray for your one-eyed trouser snake,
Your piece of pork, your wife’s best friend,
Your Percy, or your cock.
You can wrap it up in ribbons.
You can slip it in your sock,
But don’t take it out in public,
Or they will stick you in the dock,
And you won’t come back.

– Monty Python, “The Penis Song,” from The Meaning of Life album


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