Just ’cause it’s old don’t mean it ain’t cool

Remember when the COVID-19 pandemic first started, and you couldn’t find toilet paper anywhere? We didn’t have a problem because we buy stuff like that in bulk when it goes on sale, but a lot of people were left high and dry, no pun intended.

Well, since then I have serendipitously found out how to reduce or even eliminate the need for toilet paper. Don’t believe me? Read on.

Back in the sixties, three generations of us would gather around the TV on Sundays at 7:30 p.m. to watch “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” This show was great because A, it was about animals, and B, you never knew what was going to happen.

In one famous episode, a huge boa constrictor started to wrap itself around one of the hosts. It took quite a bit of effort to free him. Wow.

After Wild Kingdom came “The Ed Sullivan Show.” At that point, my brothers and I hightailed it out of there. Why did we do that? The thinking was, if it appealed to my parents and, God forbid, my grandparents, it couldn’t be “cool” like Wild Kingdom was with the animals. So we ignored Ed Sullivan at the time.

Fast forward to today and there is a channel on cable called “Decades” where they play all the old shows, including Ed Sullivan. So now, after all these years, indeed, decades, I can see why my parents and grandparents loved Ed Sullivan. Here was a true variety show with the best singers, dancers, actors, and vaudeville acts of the time on every week for your entertainment. There has been nothing like it since. Too bad.

The Ed Sullivan show is where the Beatles made their first United States TV appearance. The screaming of the girls in the audience was deafening. You name the group — the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Santana — they all appeared to wild applause on this show.

In fact, when Elvis Presley made his appearance, his swaying hips were considered so risque he could only be shot from the waist up. What a difference between then and now, eh?

Ed Sullivan also had all the great comedians on — Jack Benny, Richard Pryor, Rich Little, George Carlin, and so many more, including novelty acts like jugging unicyclists, spinning-plate balancers, ventriloquists, and knife-throwers. And who could forget the cute little talking mouse puppet “Topo Gigio?”

But my favorite thing about this show was that he had the best tenors and sopranos from the Metropolitan Opera on frequently. Can you imagine that, live opera on prime-time TV? I don’t know of anyone else but Ed Sullivan who did that.

The other day, I watched a rerun that featured Beverly Sills, one of the greatest sopranos of all time. She did this thing where she was singing tones, not words, and she hit high notes, repeatedly and with ease, that one would otherwise have presumed are not humanly possible. Truly amazing.

So what does the Ed Sullivan show have to do with not needing toilet paper anymore? Well, the second worst part of the pandemic, for me, is that the library is closed (the worst part is not getting to see my grandson). This means I have not been able to get my normal one or two books a week that I usually get.

So I’ve been forced to read my own books over again. I just read five, count ’em, five Kurt Vonnegut novels in a row. More on that in another column. I also glanced at a book of heath tips that I have lying around.

Turns out there is something called psyllium fiber, made from the husks of “plantago ovata,” whatever that is, which is very, very good for your digestive system. The authors went on to say they normally don’t recommend specific brands, but in this case they had no choice because one product of this type stood out above all the others. That product is Metamucil.

Now what do you think of when you hear the word Metamucil? I know what I thought of: old people. I mean, I’d heard of this stuff before but, since I never considered myself old, I never thought much about it.

Heck, I’ve now been on God’s green Earth for six decades and I still don’t consider myself old. I ran three miles this morning, and I’m going to practice guitar after I finish writing this. If that’s old, I wish I’d gotten old sooner.

So just for grins, being that the medical-tips book had otherwise very sound advice, I went and got some Metamucil. I’ve been drinking it once or twice a day for a couple of weeks now. The good news is it tastes orangey, like Tang, if you’re old enough to remember that.

The better news is — wait for it — now, because of Metamucil, I don’t even need to wipe anymore. I mean I still do, but there is nothing there. I kid you not, folks. I don’t know how it does it, but it fixes you up so you basically don’t need to wipe anymore.

Is that a miracle or what? I wish I’d been using this product all my life; it’s that good.

Take a tip from me: Just because your parents or even grandparents like something does not automatically mean it’s not “cool.” And don’t go out now and buy up all the Metamucil like you did with the toilet paper. Please leave some for me! Like the old Monkees’ song goes, when it comes to Metamucil, “I’m a believer.”