Flag on the Play: My Toddler Is an Ineligible Receiver

10/20/2011 04:51 pm ET | Updated Dec 20, 2011

When my son, James was two years old, and I heard the jazzy music of an erectile dysfunction commercial start playing, I wanted to throw a penalty flag. Even at two, James could understand context, and could deduce inferences. I was afraid he'd ask me about the couple in the bathtubs -- the ads where the two lovebirds were having a good soak in the middle of a green pasture. The bemusement would have been understandable -- how do two cast iron bathtubs get to such remote places? Where does the clean water come from? Do you have to be an exhibitionist to take these drugs?

I haven't seen the bathing duo this season while watching football with James. Where did they go? I've seen the newer E.D. commercials, however, where men are doing very manly things. Like the one where the guy holds the reins to his horses while in the driver's seat of his pickup truck, and the horses tow him out of mud. I don't have a pickup truck, but doesn't a real man buy one that can drive through mud?

I haven't seen Bob in a while, either. You know, the whistling main character for the natural male enhancement commercials. I've been afraid that while James and I were waiting for an instant replay decision, wondering if the receiver got both feet down in the end-zone without juggling the ball that we'd see Bob, and James would ask me why he's so happy.

Bob walks around with a big grin in these ads, and a chorus of jovial whistling bounces along over the narrator's voice. Bob drinks coffee with wide eyes and raised brows. He waves to his forlorn neighbor holding a limp hose that lacks water pressure. He smiles at the office. He smiles when he returns home. He opens the door to his wife who's rather eager to welcome him.

I've wondered if James saw Bob on the screen, if he'd ask me if Bob has a present for her. Otherwise, I'm really glad for Bob. Really. I'd like to think erectile dysfunction and male enhancement medications are renewing relationships. I hope they help couples whistle.

And even though some E.D. commercials start out innocently, with a little dancing, or wine sipping, others get right to the point, like the couple in the middle of a staring contest on a boat, on their way to their remote straw-roofed love shack. The man appears to have never seen a woman before. She is ever so coy too, grinning and grinning while looking into his eyes. Isn't there a terribly lug slang term for overly intense eye contact? Well, that's what they're doing. That's illegal touching, and a flag on the play. My son is an ineligible receiver who shouldn't be exposed to foreplay when he watches football in the afternoon.

When the two adults disappear into their love shack and the bliss of their lively romance, the warning about erections lasting longer than four hours makes me wince, a little out of sympathy, but mostly because I'd rather not have to worry about explaining what an erection is to my curious toddler. We were watching football.

Spare the NFL's afternoon audience from listening to warnings about priapism. Let the manly middle-aged men drive through mud and their erectile dysfunctions during the Sunday night and Monday night games. If Bob is still out there, let him whistle all night during the commercial breaks, once the kids are asleep. But when the sun is out, and a father is watching football with his son, the only players that should be trying to score are the ones on the field.

A pervious version of this essay first appeared in Fairfield Citizen.