One Saturday morning, watching the news and hearing about the day’s disease fun run – The Run for the Lump – or something like that, it occurred to me that Muldoons Bar on Augusta at Westheimer, right next to Beck’s Prime, hard by the Galleria, is now such a community icon that it could easily polish its escutcheon by sponsoring its own disease. I thought about that for a few weeks and discussed it with Belinda who thought it a ridiculous notion – I mean, after all, what kind of disease would be appropriate for sponsorship by a saloon? And isn’t it enough that the first Thursday of every month it is the meeting place for franchise lawyers and anyone else interested in franchising – The Franchising Happy Hour with Seamus Muldoon? Never to be discouraged, I continued to nurture the idea.
About a month later, I summoned a meeting of the Muldoonian advisory board on inventory and raised the issue. After completion of our responsibilities regarding inventory, it was moved and seconded that the advisory board form a committee of one to come up with suggestions for a disease to be sponsored by Muldoon’s and to present the outline of a promotional campaign to be launched when the Muldoonian Pox Fun Run was to be announced. The board voted to appoint me as the committee.
In Texas, it is the custom for all social climbers to hire publicists to arrange for the writer of the “social column” to make public comment about where and when the climber(s) eat on weekends, go on vacations, attend museum show openings and so on and so forth. The names are always printed in bold face type in the paper, which explains why these people are referred to in this city as BFT people. Being a BFT gets you on the radar screens of everyone who sends out requests for contributions to their causes. If you don’t send in an ostentatious check, you have just wasted the money you spent on your publicist. BFTs keep track of how much and to whom they send such checks, and later send their own donation requests to these other people when the BFTs have achieved sufficient status to be able to adopt their own disease. Think chain letter. Thus is constructed a network of contributors for the support of scientific research in South Texas.
As this is really insufficient to make a dent on real medical research on anything, events must be planned and staged to raise additional funds. That is how the Run for the Lump disease fun runs came into existence.
There is a pecking order of diseases. Some disease names and symptoms are simply too disgusting for anyone to be willing to associate with them. That explains why there is no external hemorrhoid fun run. The top diseases have long been taken by people who may have been climbers ten years ago, but are now thought of as old money. In Texas you are old money if you have accumulated a lot of wealth and not been convicted of having done it by cheating widows and orphans. It takes a while – sometimes as much as five or six years. Bernie Madoff could have achieved old money respectability if he lived in Texas and wasn’t Jewish. His subsequent difficulties would have caused his name to be ground off every list and plaque, but in that interim he would have had a lot of fun. For that reason you can no longer have “real” rights to the big time diseases. On the other hand, no one wants to be known as a “me too”, copy cat disease adopter. Everyone is already doing breast cancer to death. It is now just a Ho Hum disease with its several times a year “Run For The Lump” events. You want to find some orphan disease that is respectable and not so disgusting. It gets tougher and tougher every year. This is the problem I face in my assignment on behalf of Muldoon’s.
I am somewhat familiar with techniques of market research from my days with large companies that invested heavily in market research. One of the things I learnt well was analysis of something called idiosyncratic demand patterns – finding small niche demand pools that were overlooked in more grandiose schemes – the odd flavor for a new soft drink, for example. Something that could account for only one one hundredth of one percent of a market could still represent seven million dollars a year in potential sales. This explains the approach I am using to identify the appropriate disease for The Muldoonian Pox.
Market research is taught in B schools as serious scientific shit. In truth, it is pseudo scientific and can be faked with attitude, sensitivity and your favorite recreational beverage or pharmaceuticals. It is the system used to determine from demographic information and known purchasing habits what a likely demand pool profile for any given product or service should be. Hypothetically, you might posit that people who drink grape flavored/colored beverages might also like grape flavored/colored breakfast cereals. If you were going to contemplate such a project and wanted to hedge your bets, you might expand your product scope concentrically in the hope of enticing those whose chromatic preferences might be a tad more catholic. Think Froot Loops!
Now that you understand the process, I can go ahead with how I arrived at the ideal Muldoonian Pox.
One of the first decisions was that of focus. How specific did we wish to be? Were we, for example, to focus upon parts of one’s anatomy and all the maladies that might afflict them, we would run into the issue of gender discrimination, depending upon the part we might select. On the other hand, were we to focus, for example, upon genitalia, we could have competitive events at which the performance in pursuit of the award for the winner would tend to pit one gender against the other. Think penises versus vaginas. Then it dawned on me that such an arrangement would be quite unfair, as in so many instances, whatever women drink is charged to a gentleman’s account. Spending by men versus spending by women would always end up with the men winning the award, and the pattern would not inform anyone of the relative significance attached to penises and vaginas. And if the contest were not a drinking contest, but say a marathon or shorter foot race, men would fear winning because prevailing over women would be seen as likely to result in the women being sufficiently disappointed at not having won to not be in the mood, if you get my drift. Winning by men would be seen as likely to result in day long celibacy, so the race would never be truly competitive. Penises versus vaginas did not seem wise. There will be no Corrida Por Panoche.
Moreover, vaginal disorders tend to be on the rather disgusting side. Intelligent states now inoculate high school girls against Human PapilloVirus. The more militant feminists amongst us are certain that the HPV inoculations came into vogue more for the purpose of preventing high school boys from contracting HPV disorders of the mouth and throat, and that before boys started catching it in the mouth and throat, nobody gave a damn. A recent medical study into why high school boys are tending more to become hoarse revealed that what was once thought of as mainly vaginal was actually being transmitted from girls to boys through oral sex. This held the promise of being a source of great humor, but in the end it seemed to me that a lot of women might take offense were we to make light of it. For some reason there is a social taboo about making fun of virulent vaginas. Besides which, anchovy pizza jokes are so old that people just groan when someone comments about that or about spaghetti sauce a la puttanesca. Muldoons must be au courant if nothing else.
On a positive note, it is nice to realize that this generation of high school boys is sufficiently liberated to appreciate the positive relationship impact of having your girlfriend sit on your face. Moustache rides were less prevalent when I was in high school.
In looking at the way other institutions that adopt diseases conduct their programs, it was clear that the smarter people focused upon one particular disease and not upon where in the anatomical universe it might strike – except for the breast cancer people who really know what part of the female anatomy a man will run a race to save. Indeed, men will probably run even faster and farther for vaginas, but the dash for the gash and other similar slogans relating to vaginas were just a tad over the edge for general publicity purposes. Many newspapers of general circulation would decline to accept our adverts if we were even euphemistically to try to promote such events. Who, for example would fail to recognize the prurient intent of a cunning stunts event? I could come up with all sorts of promotional doggerel in support of organ specific programs, but … Nah … Forgetaboutit! While Organic is a very popular movement today, the reference is not to genitalia. Damn!
Then it hit me like a thunderclap. Erectile Dysfunction. What a perfect illness for a drinking establishment to adopt as its signature disease. Even though it is organ specific and gender specific, the public is already accustomed to its presentation on the TV at the dinner hour with public dignitaries as the spokesperson. Think Bob Dole, for example. And though it is gender specific, any movement to reduce its incidence will definitely have female support.
Blue noses assign blame for ED to drinking, as well as blame for any number of other unpleasant circumstances. The context relationship is already there. There is already a respectable library of appropriate music, including the good old gospel song “Stand Up For Jesus”. Slogans abound that could be misappropriated for the program. Think of the old Pepsi Cola slogan “Come Alive!” There was one old story about President Lyndon Johnson pouring Pepsi Cola on his penis and yelling “Come Alive!” It never worked, but it was a good story. There is a great and appropriate song I remember by a musical group called The Diesel Dykes of Dixie, on their album entitled “Lesbian Truck Driving Music” – “Oh, His Name May Be Richard But They Call Him Whiskey Dick”. EUREKA!
Now that we have the proper disease, we have to build an advert and promo campaign around it. Passing a real estate development sign a few weeks ago I saw a sign that described their lots as “heavily wooded”. Now that would be a great tee shirt considering that at Muldoons we have a giant oak tree that shades the outdoor patio drinking area. Muldoon’s – We’re Heavily Wooded”. What a great lead in campaign ad double entendre! We could have special drinks for the erectile challenged – say, for example Red Bull and tequila with two high dose Viagra ($ 35 - $ 45 if we want to give a percentage to the ED research foundation – which does not exist but could be invented by us as a tax exempt enterprise. Another tee shirt would proclaim “Pour Me A Stiff One At Muldoon’s” – as if you could really do that. There used to be a great song “Why Don’t We Git Drunk and Screw?” that we could change to “Why Can’t I Git Drunk and Screw?”
We can also stage charity drives, something like the grocery store food drives that sell you bags of non perishable groceries to be given away to poor families. At ours you could bring your clean used wanking toys to be redistributed to underprivileged adolescents. Be sure to boil them first, please.
Now I wonder if we could get promotional funds from Pfizer and other pharmaceutical manufacturers, considering how much they make on the eventual effects of celebration on one’s ability to get it up. When I called around, none of them wanted to touch this. What bloody cowards! On the other hand, I have many doctor friends who can get me all sorts of advertising specialties relating to all the get it up pills, so there is more then one way to skin back this cat.
The next campaign involves the slogan “Women On Top” which I stole from Smith College. It is calculated to garner feminine support for their favorite position, with another tee shirt that says “Yes – I can Fuck Up!” and a cream drink named “Fucked Up”, which will replace the waning popularity drink called the buttery nipple.
I am on a roll, and I can’t wait to present this campaign to the Muldoonian inventory advisory board’s next meeting. Erin go braghless!
By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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