Mysteries of Life: “A pep talk in every drop”

That is the motto? sales pitch? for Halls Cough Drops.

I am well versed in the phrase because I am a dedicated user of Halls, given that my chronic lung condition can display itself through coughing. I find it useful and soothing — possibly similar to a baby sucking on a pacifier — to take a Halls at night while I’m reading. And I never leave home without them.

There is no question of Halls’ superiority in the cough drop market. Once, when I was having trouble finding Halls sugar-free drops, I inspected the ingredients in other drops and saw that Halls had a greater percentage of menthol than the other drops. And menthol is what does the trick, in my experience.

However, Halls offers something else in each cough drop: that “pep talk” in its motto.

How does it do this? In teeny tiny letters on each wrapper are a few…what should I call these things? Irritating nits. That’s what I’m calling them, maybe because I’m resistant to pep talks of any kind. Once, a very wise woman encouraged my writing by saying, “Do the best you can.” And then immediately amended her comment to, “No, do what you can.”

So you won’t have to unwrap a Halls to squint at the wee messages, I’ve done it for you. Here is my collection of “pep talks” from three wrappers:

March Forward!

Go for it.

Hi-five yourself.

Be unstoppable.

Put your game face on.

Go get it!

Don’t wait to get started.

Seize the day.

Don’t waste a precious minute.

Inspire envy.

It’s yours for the taking.

Put a little strut in it.

You got it in you.

Take charge and mean it.

This is what Halls delivers to users who are sick. Stuffed nose, can’t breathe, lungs clogged, coughing their guts out, blowing through a box of tissues every day…utter misery, brought to one’s knees with a punitive malady that is, nevertheless, a minor problem in the long run, so nobody feels sorry for you and rushes over with chicken soup when you sob, “I have a cold!” Your MD doesn’t care, unless you develop further, maybe mortal complications.

“Put a little strut in it”? Where are we supposed to strut? Into our kitchen for hot tea, except it’s more a shuffle than a strut?

“Go get it!” Get what? See above, re hot tea? Is that what we’re being encouraged to get?

Well, I don’t get “it.” These efforts at cheerleading customers who are as close to comatose as colds can make us are so removed from the reality which Halls is otherwise terrific in addressing, they might have wandered out of a kids’ cartoon. Is there an advanced term for “cliché”?

Or maybe they’re meant for dog owners who are tired of saying, “Good job, buddy!” when the pet disgorges shit, as the pet is wont to do.

Now I’m wondering if the writers who compose Halls cheers have escaped from a fortune cookie factory and have not quite acquired new skills. Meanwhile, they’d make me grit my teeth and growl — except my mouth is otherwise occupied with a Halls cough drop.

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