New: Now Contains Zinc

David Kirby

Artist friend of mine works part-time at a store that sells
                        Red Rooster pills  to any guy who thinks he needs
            a “male sexual performance booster” or any gal who

 wants a 60-tab bottle of that reliable blend of proven
                        herbal supplements, so when the Red Rooster people
            come out with an improved formula, the store owner

 asks my buddy to paint a sign for him announcing
                        this breakthrough, one that says “Red Rooster pills
            for sale here” and, in smaller letters at the the bottom,

 “New: now contains zinc.” Big deal, you say. Think
                        of the thousands of fellows who see that sign over
            the next year and say,  “That’s that bullshit there.

That’s that old bullshit.” But then later that night
                        or the next day, this same passerby is thinking,
            “Well, it’s new. And it does contain zinc.” What is

zinc, exactly? Well, for starters, it’s the thing
                        that makes other things happen. Zinc works.
            Zinc pays the bills. It wipes your kids’ tears, helps

them with their homework, stops your feet from hurting
                        after a long shift. Zinc is a cup of coffee before
            the sun’s even up. It’s a slice of pie in the back

 of the fridge when you thought there was nothing to eat,
                        the newspaper in your driveway, a bus ticket, a boarding
            pass, a portal to realms hitherto known only to your

tonier Romantic poets. Zinc’s what you do. It’s who you are.
                        Let’s say you’re the guy who comes in with a bottle
            of new improved Red Rooster pills and wags them

at his wife or girlfriend and says, “Looky here, toots,”
                        and she says, “Oh, Amos or Ronnie or whatever your
            name is, that stuff’s no good,” and you say, “Yeah,

 but look, now it contains zinc,” and she says, “Zinc?
                        Give me that bottle . . . damned if you aren’t right.
            Come here, big boy. Let’s try this stuff out.”