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Jewish World Review August 6, 2002 / 28 Menachem-Av, 5762

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Damage control | The following are e-mails sent to and from Sergeant Able, head of the Super Prosperous Pharmaceutical Co.

To: Public Relations Department
From: Sergeant Able, CEO

We're getting our heads beat in by Peter Jennings and the AARP zealots who lobby for older people. We must get the story out that the only reason our prices are so high is that it costs us millions of dollars to develop these drugs and we get a patent for only 17 years. Drum up the fact that our antidepressant pill Cheer-X, our biggest profit maker, is threatened because it now costs $15 per pill. But it's worth taking because it works twice as fast as Alka-Seltzer.

Point out in a press release that Cheer-X should not be taken by everyone - only those in the top tax brackets.

I am willing to go on television, provided Mike Wallace doesn't ask me any trick questions, such as why is it so much cheaper in Canada?

To: Sarge Able, CEO
From: Tom Rich, Marketing Department

We're working on several projects to increase sales. One thing we are reviewing is the awards program for doctors who attend medical conventions. The competition is getting stiffer and stiffer. It's not enough to just give them tickets to the Super Bowl or the World Series.

We should also offer them cruises to Tahiti or Greece. If they prescribe more than $100,000 of Cheer-X, they will get a new Lexus.

Additionally, we should hire 300 more company representatives to visit doctors' offices to explain why Cheer-X is so important to their patients' health, and to present them with a new Louis Vuitton doctor's bag if they listen to our story. While doing this, they should also trash the competition's product, Zeniflex 4, which causes people to belch if taken without water.

To: Sergeant Able From: Harvey Fish, Advertising Manager

We're working on a new TV campaign. We should show an ordinary person who is suffering from depression standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, ready to jump off. At the last moment, Spiderman comes along and gives the man a bottle of Cheer-X pills. "Take these," Spiderman says. The man takes the pills and in the next shot he is jogging into Manhattan. He turns to the camera and says, "Thanks, Spiderman."

A second ad should indicate that Cheer-X will do the same thing for you as Viagra, with no side effects. We'd show Hugh Hefner at his house with two beautiful girls. He says, "Cheer-X keeps me from getting depressed, but it also gives me the opportunity to do the same thing a 26-year-old can do."

To: Sergeant Able From: Arthur Steiglitz, Legal Department

I have been working on our patent problems. Cheer-X will be in the public domain next week. We have to move fast. We need to take our Cheer-X pill, which is now yellow and green, and change it to red and black. We then call it "new and improved Cheer-X2."

By adding a new color we can claim it is a new product and patent it for another 17 years. This will cause the generic drug companies to sue. We can either defend ourselves in court or pay the generic companies a large sum, possibly $20 million, to keep their product off the market.

To: All Staff From: Sergeant Able

Congratulations to one and all for making our company one of the most successful on Wall Street. To further our prosperity, I'm asking every department to cut staff by 25 percent.

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07/25/02: House for rent
07/23/02: Doin' time
07/19/02: The loophole game
07/16/02: Money as a game
07/11/02: Just desserts
07/02/02: So you want to win?
06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
06/04/02: RED ALERT
05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
05/21/02: Why Bermuda?
05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

© 2002, TMS