Wednesday, October 31, 2007

McGonnigal Is Alive And Well And Living In Tampa

Yesterday I read the Tampa Tribune for the same reason that people climb Everest - because it was there. That particular excuse for doing something has been watered down somewhat by the internet - practically everything is "there" as long as you are prepared to look carefully enough. However, yesterday I decided to read the Tampa Tribune and like all apprentice-served time-wasters I will now set about justifying the activity.

Local newspapers provide a splendid insight into the workings of any community. The obituaries, the crime reports, the adverts, the lost and founds : all of these contribute to a powerful picture of the ordinary lives of ordinary people. I usually find that the advice columns provide a good seam of sociological data reflecting, as they do, the problems that dominate the waking hours of readers. They normally cover subjects such as marital infidelity, teenage pregnancy, loneliness, disease and death. In the Tampa Tribune yesterday, there was only one topic under discussion : what is the best hour for a pastor to call on his (or her) parishioners. There were several responses to a letter by someone - who wanted to be known only as "polite visitor" - who was searching for the correct etiquette involved in pastoral visiting. "Get to know your flock before you barge in through their front door", advised Gregg Sealy. "Use a random system such as anyone wearing green at Sunday service", advised Rivka L. "Have cards on the pews for people to fill out requesting a visit" advised Abbey. It was gripping stuff. I read the whole piece searching for the gag-line at the end. But the gag was there was none - it was deadly serious.

A few pages later, an advert caught my eye. It was part of a feature called "Focus On Health". Entitled "Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Who Is The Doctor You Should Call?", it is worthy of a wider circulation than just the good folk of Tampa.

The type is a little too small and too cursive, so let me reprint just a short section :

"Whether you need a lift or "a gift";
Through his before & after pics do sift.
He has all the gadgets and skill
When he's done, "The sights a thrill!"
Mirror Mirror on the wall,
If you don't like your reflection at all;
He is the doctor that you should call.
It has been a pleasure to author this rhyme;
In honour of a talent so sublime.
To look younger do you yearn?
Then get in line and wait your turn.
Who is this ONE that did my youth return?
His name is Dr. Jushua A. Halpern!
Isn't it your time too?
The results will thrill you!
Mirror Mirror on the wall,
Here is the number you should call;
As he is the BEST of them all!
813-872-2696"


McGonnigal is alive and well and living in Tampa. Let us only hope that he got a suitable discount on his face-lift.

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