Artist friend of mine works part-time at a store that sells
Red Rooster pills to any guy who thinks he needs
a “male sexual performance booster” or any gal who
wants a 60-tab bottle of that reliable blend of proven
herbal supplements, so when the Red Rooster people
come out with an improved formula, the store owner
asks my buddy to paint a sign for him announcing
this breakthrough, one that says “Red Rooster pills
for sale here” and, in smaller letters at the the bottom,
“New: now contains zinc.” Big deal, you say. Think
of the thousands of fellows who see that sign over
the next year and say, “That’s that bullshit there.
That’s that old bullshit.” But then later that night
or the next day, this same passerby is thinking,
“Well, it’s new. And it does contain zinc.” What is
zinc, exactly? Well, for starters, it’s the thing
that makes other things happen. Zinc works.
Zinc pays the bills. It wipes your kids’ tears, helps
them with their homework, stops your feet from hurting
after a long shift. Zinc is a cup of coffee before
the sun’s even up. It’s a slice of pie in the back
of the fridge when you thought there was nothing to eat,
the newspaper in your driveway, a bus ticket, a boarding
pass, a portal to realms hitherto known only to your
tonier Romantic poets. Zinc’s what you do. It’s who you are.
Let’s say you’re the guy who comes in with a bottle
of new improved Red Rooster pills and wags them
at his wife or girlfriend and says, “Looky here, toots,”
and she says, “Oh, Amos or Ronnie or whatever your
name is, that stuff’s no good,” and you say, “Yeah,
but look, now it contains zinc,” and she says, “Zinc?
Give me that bottle . . . damned if you aren’t right.
Come here, big boy. Let’s try this stuff out.”