Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 18, 1997)
HIV home kit offers means to responsible privacy
There aren’t many instances
whore television advertisers actually
hawk a product that really can
change your life for $29.95 (plus
that irritating non-refundable
shipping and handling charge).
Lately, however, I’ve seen ads for
something you might want to pull
out your credit card for—you know
—that Discover card you applied
for as a newly independent college
student. Consider it a St. Valentine’s
gift to yourself.
It’s an HIV home-test kit. If your
fingers suddenly clutched the paper
in terror or your breathing just got
rapid, hold on. The people next to
you reading this just did the same
Taking an HIV test during the
month *de amor* may not sound
like the most romantic way to spend
30 bucks, but it is one of the most
Next time you happen to be in a
room with a group of people and one
of those cheesy HIV home-test
commercials come on, try to observe
how the other people are reacting.
It’s kind of like being in a
roomful of men when Kim Alexis
and her favorite yeast infection
treatment commercial comes on. 1
can never tell who is antsier—the
guys or the lone female. Personally,
when it’s me — I just laugh. After
all, maybe “yeast infection” is a
secret code word fen* “Women rise up
and give wedgies!” Men have no
If you were smart enough not to
get sucked into applying for a *
Discover card, local pharmacies also
carry home tests. Unfortunately,
most people are still too embarrassed
to buy condoms and tampons —
how they plan to get out the store
with a Confide box would be one of
the ultimate tests of courage.
Since you don’t get the results
right away on a stick, taking a home
test gives you plenty of opportunity
to obsess, which is one reason why a
health center or agency might be
preferable. They’ll offer pre- and
post-teat counseling and are usually
anonymous or confidential.
Of course, if you feel more
comfortable, there is a sneaky way
out of all of the above. Under the
good Samaritan guise of giving
blood, you’ll be screened—and if a
positive result occurs—they’ll let
you know about it. Drawback: an
indefinite time of terror.
I think it’s time that we do a little
bit more to bring stuff like this out
into the open. The fewer skeletons in
our closet, the more room we’ll have
to put in the things that belong in
there — like Celine Dion and
Perhaps if we weren’t raised to be
embarrassed about tampons and jock
strap sizes, we’d feel less prohibited
about having to replenish our supply
of Trojans at Walgreens. I hope we
won’t feel too embarrassed to
replenish our supply of compassion
when it comes to HIV.
Hollimo n-Sto vail is a senior
broadcasting major and a Daily
Mariboro Man ‘Absohitf-ly loves ya, rian
Drinking, smoking because of ad is just sad
You know, after seeing three
frogs croak “Bud-wei-ser,” only one
thing goes through my mind: I must
Yes, the image of those cute frogs
stays in my mind until I drop that
24-pack in my shopping cart, get
carded by the cashier and am forced
to put the Bud back.
I also get the strange urge to buy
cigarettes after seeing the Marlboro
Man rope up a horse that was
probably drugged to make it easier
A thought just enters my mind
that says: “Kasey, buy those ciga
rettes. You too can rope cattle and
sleep in the back of a pick-up truck.
Buy the cigarettes, I tell you!”
And then sometimes, I see an
Absolut vodka ad gracing the back
of a Playboy in a convenience store
and declare aloud: “Damn it, I don’t
really need to read that interview
with Conan O’Brien! Where is the
But seriously, none ot those three
ads has ever urged me to go out and
buy something illegal or in the case
of cigarettes, unquestionably
Yet about 20 percent of the 534
teens surveyed by USA Today for a
Jan. 31 article disagreed with me.
They said the ads made them want
to chink the product or smoke the
This is sad.
But it's also funny.
I mean, come on, you can’t tell
me that it’s not the slightest bit
funny how humorous beer commer
cials can have such a profound
influence on beer consumers too
young to make it through the check
I mean, what are they hoping for
— child-influence shopping?
14-YEAR-OLD: “Dad, I love
14-YEAR-OLD: “But I love you
FATHER: “That’s it! I’m putting
back the cheese puffs!”
14-YEAR-OLD: “But — “
FATHER: “And so help me
Billy, if you mention another Red
Dog commercial, you’re going to be
drinking Thng until graduation!”
All jokes aside, however, there
has been concern that the advertise
ments for beer, liquor and cigarette
companies are targeting younger
The cigarette industry has been
the prime industry receiving
criticism because of the comical Joe
Camel and rough-shaven Marlboro
Yet i Tina it tunny mat any teen
would be lured to smoking by a
cartoon camel whose head is
strangely shaped like a penis.
But sure enough, 17 percent of
those teens who saw Joe Camel said
they wanted to join him and smoke a
Just think — nearly a fifth of a
sample teen population getting
sucked into smoking by a cartoon.
Maybe other “criticized” mem
bo’s of society should start using
cartoons. You know — lawyers,
politicians, the Clinton administra
Imagine that: a magazine ad with
a cartoon Bill Clinton shooting pool
in a smoky bar — cue stick in one
hand, Big Mac in the other.
The capiion below the cartoon
could read, “Hey kids, don’t worry
about that $5-trillion debt thing —
Uncle Bill’s got it knocked down
like the side pocket... ”
Then again, maybe cartoons
wouldn’t be such a great idea. After
all, how would you turn Bob Dole or
Newt Gingrich into believable
“cool” cartoon characters? The
cartoonists would stab themselves to
death with the paintbrush first.
But there is at least one positive
aspect to teens being influenced by
alcohol or cigarette ads: most aren’t.
I’m still concerned about the ones
who are. Somewhere between
morals, Hollywood and Profitsville,
you have to wonder where a line is
For me, it’s a hard line to see. A
few croaking frogs, a penguin saying
“dooby, dooby, doo... ” or a man
whose only catch phrase is “I love
you man,” is funny. I’m not taken in
and it’s hard to imagine how
someone could be.
But for others, it’s the association
with a brand name that’s making the
difference. If it sticks, it doesn’t
matter what age you are.
As a corporation, if you can keep
your image “cool” until the teens
come of age to drink or smoke —
you’ll be first on their list.
Yet in the end, if you’re aiming
for underage teens, you’re not only
pathetic, you’re shady.
And if you’re a teen who gets *
taken in by them, you’re not only
gullible, you’re stupid.
After all, no animatronic frog
riding in a hydroplane is going to
make me want to down a cold one.
Bob Dole in a hydroplane might
make me consider it however.
Throw Newt in there too and you
might just have a deal...
Kerber is a sophomore news
editorial major and a Daily »
Grandpa and Johnny
Illness heightens awareness, love
When I was a little kid, I had an
imaginary friend named Johnny.
Johnny was cool — he could be
whatever I wanted him to be.
Mostly, he was a boy who used to
ride around in my grandpa’s shirt
pocket. See, my grandpa was in on
the secret — we were the only two
who could see Johnny. Johnny woulc
hang out with Grandpa for a while,
then come back to me, usually by
mail. Sometimes, if Grandpa
concentrated hard enough, he could
send Johnny back through the little
holes in the telephone receiver. For
that, Grandpa was better than
Superman in my eyes.
But my Superman’s powers must
have failed him, because he died
We knew it was coming. He made
it to my high school graduation, but
his health declined from there. It
was some kind of brain sickness.
That’s the only way I can describe it.
It was similar to Alzheimer’s in the
fact that he didn’t recognize us.
He hadn’t been himself for more
than three years now. He’d have
violent spells, where he’d call us
every name in the book and even
take swings at us. He had to be
institutionalized a couple of times,
but mostly he stayed in a nursing
home. It was so hard on my
grandma to see him there — they
would’ve been married 65 years this
it was realty nara to see a man so
strong reduced to the way he was
existing. I wouldn’t wish it on
anyone. He used to beg us to kill
him when he was lucid. When he
wasn’t, he’d tell us that he was _ "
already dead. He’d say other things,
some of it pretty amusing in a
twisted kind of way. He once said
that JFK was God.
My grandfather was once police
chief of Sutton ■— the town he spent
his whole life in. He used to bring
home GIs during WWII who had
nowhere else to go while they were
on leave. He did this in the name of
the military that turned him away
from serving his country because of
his flat feet.
My grandfather taught me a lot,
whether he knew it or not. He taught
me how to burp, swear, open pop
bottles without an opener and make
gravy. I didn’t have much in
common with him — though I can
wiggle my ears like a bunny rabbit
the way he could. I don’t think
anyone else in my family can do
that. If they can, they won’t admit to
it. I’m stubborn and strong-willed,
the way he was, but I think I’m
When we were growing up, my
cousins and I would beg to wear his
white, cotton T-shirts to bed when
we stayed over. I’m not sure what
the attraction was — they were just
!plain, cotton undershirts that hit us
around our knees and threatened to
swallow us — but back then, those
pseudo-nightgowns were the bomb.
.Maybe they just made us feel closer
I loved my grandfather, but we
weren’t close in the later years.
Johnny must’ve fallen out of his
pocket somewhere along the way,
because we never saw eye-to-eye
again. Sometimes I thought I
disappointed him because I was so
different froip ipy cousins. I know I
frustrated him, especially when I hit
my teen-age years and was full of
righteous, neo-ferainistic indigna
tion over how he treated my grand
He used to order her around like
a drill sergeant, but I understand
now that’s how he was raised to
treat women. Women’s rights took a
few years to get to central Nebraska.
It wasn’t until I realized how
close to losing him I was that I made
an effort to get to know him again.
And I found out I was wrong —
he’d never stopped loving me. And
he was fiercely proud of his young
est grandchild. The last time I saw
him, one month ago, he focused his
glazed eyes on me and smiled
through cracked lips.
“I love you, Goldilocks,” he
whispered, squeezing my hand.
“I love you too, Grandpa,” I said,
smiling sadly. I wish I would’ve
known then that it was the last time
I was going to see him. I would’ve
slipped Johnny back in his pocket
for one last ride.
Stack is a senior news-editorial
major and a Daily Nebraskan 1
taught me a lot,
whether he knew it
or not. He taught
me how to burp,
swear, open pop
bottles without an
opener and make
Powered by Open ONI