What is a catheter and why is it stalking me?

I’m a political/news junkie who works from home, so the TV on my desk is often tuned to MSNBC. While Morning Joe, The Daily Rundown, Jansing & Co., Andrea Mitchell Reports, The Cycle and the rest are sweeping through the hours like the sun across the sky, the TV commercial above appears on my screen over and over, what seems like hundreds of times each day.

In it, the smiling, moustached Jim R. extols the innovative catheters from Liberator Medical that changed his life. Jim chuckles about catheters on the phone. We see a “men’s catheter that lubricates itself right in the package.” There’s a discreet men’s pocket catheter which can be palmed and tucked away like the coolest new Apple device. Plus, Liberator Medical apparently does everything for Jim, and all this costs him nothing.

While it’s true that I am beginning to see the 50th anniversaries of events which occurred during my lifetime, I do not personally need a catheter as far as I know. Of course, this was also the case with reading glasses until a couple of years ago. To date, I have just been trying to stay as ignorant as possible about the topic of urinary catheterization (or “cathing,” for short).

But now, because these commercials are repeated so often — and because Jim seems so obviously pleased — there’s a part of me which actually wants to order a catheter or two, just to have on hand.

To learn more, I Googled “liberator medical” and clicked through to the Liberator Medical Supply website. They have a Sample Offers page which lists Olive Tip Catheters, Condom/Texas Catheters, Straight Tip Catheters, Foley Catheters, GeeWhiz Condom Catheters, and much more. I was intrigued to learn that catheters are typically sized according to the French catheter scale. How exotic! There is even an opportunity for me to star in Liberator Medical’s next TV commercial. Just imagine — I could be seen on MSNBC almost as much as Chris Matthews.

Before long, though, I had my fill of catheter facts and decided to get back to serious Web work. Minutes later, I realized that my life was now forever changed. Where I had previously been seeing Web advertising for guitars — Martin guitars, Gibson guitars, Fender guitars — I was now seeing the smiling face of Jim R. and his catheter come-ons. Catheter ads were everywhere — on news sites and in my search results, as well as on my TV.

Okay, so maybe the pocket one.