Monday, February 12, 2007

Sign of the Apocalypse #41: Over-the-counter hard-ons

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Once upon a time, and for thousands and thousands of years, men had erections. And did things with them. There was erectile dysfunction, no doubt, but humanity survived. Generations and generations of copulation, for procreation or for pleasure -- or for less admirable purposes.

Enter Pfizer. Enter Viagra. Enter Cialis and all the rest for all the others. The little blue pills were meant for a medical condition, or so it seemed, and that was a good thing. Why should men condemned to flaccidity, not to mention their partners, not enjoy the benefits of the erect penis? Modern medicine triumphed. Progress ruled.

But as with all other medication, it was not long before it was abused. After all, why should men not want to enjoy the benefits of the 72-hour erect penis? Or whatever. Think of the pleasure to be had. Think of the partners to be pleasured. Flaccidity -- be damned! The little blue pills could be taken by any and all, medical condition or not.

But where does it end?

For we have now arrived at this:

British pharmacy chain Boots will begin a trial program on Valentine's Day to offer men the anti-impotence drug Viagra without a prescription.

The initial pilot program is expected to last six months, and Boots will then consider whether to expand it to other pharmacies. The chain has about 1,500 stores across Britain.

The pilot will be offered in three of the chain's stores in the English city of Manchester, 300 kilometres northwest of London.

Would-be customers between the ages of 30-65 will be required to see a pharmacist, provide a medical history and have their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels tested.

The cost? £50 for four little blue pills. Over here that means about $97 American, $115 Canadian. Pricey, no? Better make sure your partner's Viagra-worthy.

Think of the room for abuse here. Will the little blue pills end up with the dysfunctionally non-erectile? Or with the functionally erectile who just can't get enough? The pills were meant for a medical condition, but now, OTC, they may pose a health risk to a new generation of men who desire a pharmaceutical aid to fuel what normally comes naturally to them.

Behold the raging hard-on, a symbol of our pleasure-seeking time, surely a sign of impending civilizational apocalypse.

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