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This is what I learned from some Post-it brand 2" by 3" pads given to me years ago, in a Christmas stocking. I will be mentioning rectal gel and advertising, so if that's not your cup of whatever, just read about something else. Pasta or politics or poetry, anything brought to you by the letter T. I watched a movie yesterday because of the relative humidity, realised I wish I could fly in black leather and kill people who bother me with sharp ancient swords, not caring if I wiped out an entire clan in slow motion, but saved a baby because I wanted to change my warrior way of life. Or just live for a while in a dusty, run down town with a broken circus. I would like the merry-go-round that no longer moves up and down, the same old circle every time. People pay for these rides, dizzying.

So, the logo on the left is an hourglass. I was going to say egg-timer, but their maximum sand is 2 minutes and 45 seconds, hardly enough time or space for a human brain...which is what is inside the top of the hourglass. Gaily floating across the center, at the slimmest point is a ribbon that has the name of the rectal gel, Diastat. There is a small pile of what is probably supposed to be fine sand, below the brain and the ribbon. Talk about mixed message.

A less prominent logo, which actually draws more attention is on the lower right, a red and black fire extinguisher. The brand name is in black and red, then under that in parentheses, (diazepam rectal gel) and a website, www.diastat.com. I hope I have described this so that you get the visual. I should explain at this point, these were a gift from my husband, carefully gift wrapped and labelled "from Santa." That, and I got 2 dozen of them or more. I keep finding them, in drawers, on top of the telephone, in my purse... even though I've re-gifted them as a joke to my gal friends. And used them to leave notes when I dash from the house and want my guys to do things in my absence. (I should also explain the website is still there, though their logo is now a puzzle piece, and the site explains the serious health condition the drug is prescribed for; I am not making light of others' disease.)

Assuming you all know what valium is and its generic username, diazepam, I invite you to send me your guesses or first reactions to what I've described. What the symbols and words would mean to you; there are no wrong answers. I'm just curious because after the initial shock of trying to make sense of this advertising and wondering what my husband was trying to tell me with this gift, I have come up with my own Protect What Matters list. (For those of you who think I'm criticising my husband, I'm not. When I asked him why he gave them to me, he said they came free with an order of some LEDs he ordered from a surplus catalogue. He hadn't even looked at the Post-it message. I had to explain the ambiguity of it and what was to me, unintentional humour, even though he was in advertising years ago.

I'll tell you my initial reaction: Protect your ass...or your brain, because time is running out. Ideally, protect both, but the ribbon implies you can stop the sands of your life from leaking out of your disembodied brain by using the drug, which doesn't come in pill form. However, fire extinguishers always suggest potential danger to me. I don't feel safe and secure seeing them, call it a quirk. I have plenty of those, too.

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