What seems to be the problem today? A question about one of your medications? No? A question about something you saw on TV. I see, a commercial. He recommended you ask your doctor about …? The names are hard to remember. A man running through a field. OK, that narrows it down a little. Was he running by himself, toward a woman at the other end of the field, or with a child? By himself. I see. Was he harvesting something? That could be an arthritis medication. Just running. OK, that’s probably an allergy medicine. Or something for depression. An outside chance it was for attention deficit disorder or panic attacks. I also wouldn’t rule out a combination pill for any one of those problems plus prostate cancer. Do you have allergies? No. Well, then you don’t need allergy medicine. What else is on your mind?

Another commercial. Are there any health problems of your own you want to discuss? No? Tell me about the commercial. They told you to ask your doctor if “Procreator” is right for you? Is that really the name? Depending on the stressed syllable, it’s either a fertility agent or a cholesterol pill. It might also be an attempt to reintroduce Quaaludes into the market. It has side effects including memory loss, limb atrophy, and Weltschmerz. Well, what medicine doesn’t, nowadays? It’s either that or live with the sterility, take your pick.

Two Greco-Roman wrestlers. Interesting. If they were elderly Greco-Roman wrestlers, that might be a pitch for those new growth-hormone supplements, but you’re too young for that. You’re sure they were Greco-Roman? There’s an ad with women in Mexican wrestling masks for a pill treating stress incontinence. I suggest patients avoid pro wrestling for a few months before trying that particular pill.

What did the music sound like? Pay attention to the key of the soundtrack. Minor chords indicate one of the SSRIs; major chords suggest a cure for diabetes. Any Philip Glass score is for an Alzheimer’s drug.

An obese man walking a dog? Jolly-looking or overindulgent? Jolly suggests one of the appetite stimulants or a cholesterol pill; overindulgent usually means you’re looking at a gastrointestinal lipid-blocking agent, or a cholesterol pill. Was the dog a schnauzer? I know that ad—it’s actually for the dog. You don’t need heartworm pills.

A man and woman shopping? Erectile dysfunction. Any commercial showing a man and woman washing dishes, sleeping fitfully, or rubbing their temples is also likely to be for erectile dysfunction. Have you been having any problems … performing? No? Just asking. You seem to be watching a lot of television.

The jogger? You’re on that pill—it’s your blood-pressure pill. There’s another one with a teenager in chest pain, or the grandfather bungee-jumping. You prefer the snowboarding pill? Sure. It’s not on your insurance plan, but we can say you had some anal leakage with the other one and they’ll cover it. You do have leakage? Well, switching won’t help. Did you try that medicine where the woman runs up the stairs? I’ll write you a prescription.

The little girl lost in the woods isn’t advertising anything for you. It’s a promotion for cosmetic appendix transplants, which are still in Phase III. Stick with the one you have for now, and we’ll talk it over next year.

The ad with the cells floating through the blood, zapping other cells—great special effects. I don’t know what the drug does, but we have some samples in the back if you’d like to try it out for a few weeks.

A truck hanging by a single bolt? That’s a commercial for a truck. Do you need a truck?