We’re putting an emphatic pause on this blog’s kneejerk disdain for pharmaceutical greed to celebrate some chest-thumping news here in Latrobe.
Our local country club is featured in what to me is the “Gone With The Wind” of pharmaceutical commercials, a 90-second epic of sweeping drama, humor and potential side effects which may include bleeding, fainting, itching, muscle pain and spasms.
Why the policy hiccup?
Arnold Palmer is endorsing Xarelto!
Networks are airing the second commercial for the drug, but this one was filmed at Latrobe Country Club. Besides Palmer it stars Kevin Nealon, NASCAR driver Brian Vickers and NBA star Chris Bosh.
It’s the first drug ad I’ve DVRd for convenient repeat viewings.
Xarelto prevents strokes by making blood thinner, a fact that leads me to believe Big Pharma is about to seize the obvious opportunity to release yet another erectile dysfunction drug proven to make other things thicker.
They could call it XXXarelto.
The ad’s cool to me because it’s local and because Palmer’s also on the cover of my book endorsing . . .
I remain very proud of that and wish my father had been alive to see it.
He died in 2004 of an aortic embolism. Who knows? Maybe he’d still be alive today had he seen then an ad with Palmer endorsing Xarelto.
Certainly, the old man bought anything Palmer suggested he should, the exceptions being Rolex wrist watches, Cadillac Coup de Villes or other luxury items too cost-prohibitive for an ever-humble optician.
But I thrill to see the commercial because it features the course I play more than any other.
I’m not a member, of course, but I’m friends with members who are kind enough to invite me to join them there. It’s always a treat.
Plus, I like to soulfully celebrate the man while we still can.
He was beloved and then just seemed to disappear. Many of his most ardent fans wondered if he’d died.
Now, he’s back.
But he could go at any minute. The guy’s not getting any younger.
I’m talking, of course, about Kevin Nealon.
He’s a wonderful comic and was uniformly hilarious on SNL from 1987-96, where Nealon, 61, was part of what to me was the show’s best cast.
He wasn’t as big a star as Mike Myers, Dana Carvey or Chris Rock, but he never stumbled and was reliably hilarious as Mr. Subliminal and one half of Hanz and Franz.
Plus, I know the guy loves golf.
Seeing him on TV always makes me happy.
I wish while he was here filming we could have met and had a drink or two. Or maybe popped some freebie Xareltos.
I know nothing about the race car driver and all I know about Chris Bosh was that he was once teammates with LeBron James.
Now, Palmer. Him, I know.
I’ve interviewed him more than 50 times and by now all we do is banter. It’s a real joy to me.
And, honest, I think it is to him, too.
How cool is that?
I had one of my favorite exchanges with him earlier this summer.
We were talking about Westerns and how he was once invited to star in a cowboy flick that never got made.
I asked if he’d ever met John Wayne.
“Never did,” he said. “But I’m good friends with Clint Eastwood. We had dinner last week. We own Pebble Beach together, you know.”
I did know. The pair were part of a group that in 1999 paid $820 million for the earthly Eden.
He was very casual about saying he owned one of the world’s most famous golf resorts. It was sort of like the way I say I own the DVD collections for all six seasons of the John Lithgow sitcom, “3rd Rock from the Sun.”
Not bragging. Just sayin’.
I asked him how Clint’s doing.
He kind of shrugged in a sympathetic way and said, “Oh, he’s okay. We’re both 86 and we’re both having the same kind of issues.”
He said it in a way that conveyed growing old ain’t for sissies.
His tone led me to ask an impulsive question that immediately resurrected the steely competitor in the aging warrior.
“Who’d win a wrestling match between you and Clint?”
“Oh, I’d kick his ass.”
It was hilarious.
I think his reflexive outburst to challenge surprised him as being somehow impolite and he tried to backtrack.
“He has stand-ins. I do all my own stunts.”
I just love that man.
And to this day I know if I could arrange a pay-per-view wrestling match between Clint Eastwood and Arnold Palmer I’d never have to worry about money ever again.
The concept is something to think about next time you see Palmer, one of America's most ebullient legends, on TV.
Side effects may include irrational exuberance toward hometown celebrity spokespersons.
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