(This classic Dave Barry column was originally published Dec. 21, 2003.)
Let's say you're a middle-aged guy. It's a Sunday afternoon, and you're watching a little football, defined as ''11 consecutive hours of football.''
You settle on the sofa and turn on the pregame show, and the first thing you see is a commercial for a pickup truck. This is followed by another commercial for a pickup truck, and then, for a change of pace, several more commercials for pickup trucks. Then there's about 45 seconds of men talking about football, followed by more commercials for pickup trucks. At this point, you start to wonder if you're the only guy in America who doesn't drive a pickup truck. You drive a Toyota Camry, because in your line of work -- accountant -- the largest load you haul is Chinese food.
But you are envious of the men in the truck commercials -- manly, bulging men, with manly, bulging vehicles; men who handle large tools; men who do not mind getting sweaty and dirty. In the morning, when white-collar Camry drivers like you are applying underarm deodorant, these men are deliberately perspiring and smearing dirt on their bodies, preparing to go work on the rig.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
That's where the men in truck commercials always work: on a rig. You have never, in your accounting career, seen a rig. You're not sure what a ''rig'' is. But now you wish you had one. You have rig envy.
Of course, you couldn't get to the rig in your Camry, because you have to drive over boulders. The truck-drivin' guy always gets to his rig by driving over the biggest boulders he can find.
There is always trouble at the rig in TV-Truck-Commercial-Land. It requires the truck-drivin' man to save the day by hitchin' his truck to some massive object -- a tree, a building, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy -- and towin' it up a boulder-strewn mountain. Then, it's quittin' time, as indicated by Bob Seger shrieking ''Like a rock! Oooooooowww, like a rock!'' with all the passion of a man who has a rabid shrew in his undershorts.
By the 15th pickup-truck commercial, you are feeling deeply insecure about the size of your Camry. You wonder if you could trade it in for a pickup truck. Of course, you'd have to convince your wife that there were practical benefits. (''Look, honey! It has a 1,700-pound payload! I could carry 250 gallons of wonton soup!'') But she would never go along. Your wife is -- face it -- a woman.
When they finally stop showing truck commercials, you heave a sigh of relief, only to realize they are now showing: Viagra commercials. They're all basically the same: A man -- a rugged man, far more manly than you -- openly acknowledges that he had problems with his rig. But then he took a pill, and, ZING, he can perform again! He can play professional baseball! He can (winkwink) throw a football through a tire!
So now, on the sofa, you are a husk of your former self, a man with a tiny shriveled Camry, wondering if you should be using Viagra. But that would mean going to the doctor's office, which, in your imagination, has a giant neon sign outside that says ''VIAGRA DOCTOR, PROVIDING VIAGRA FOR GUYS WHO NEED VIAGRA.'' Also in your imagination there are pickup-drivin' guys outside the doctor's office, workin' on some kind of rig. As you drive up in your Camry, they give you noogies through your moonroof.
This is what you're picturing as you lie on your sofa, curled into the fetal position, when finally, mercifully, the pregame show comes to an end, and the actual game is about to start.
Are you ready for some football?
(c) 2008, Dave Barry
This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Electronic or print reproduction, adaptation, or distribution without permission is prohibited. Ordinary links to this column at http://www.miamiherald.com may be posted or distributed without written permission.