Why would I buy this product?

Be advised. This column could cause shortness of breath, skin rash, sore feet, a runny nose, temporary or permanent loss of the use of your extremities, a second head growing from your spinal cord, the ability to see dead people, your hearing to be replaced by a consistent beeping sound and a near-complete shift in your gender identification. Also, if you happen to notice staggered bleeding from your eye sockets for more than seven consecutive days, consult a physician immediately.

Why wouldn’t you want to keep reading?

And, in a generally inquisitive foray into the field of common sense, why would a person willingly take a medicine that involves side effects like the ones we consistently hear at the end of commercials?

Fine. I’m guilty. I find myself rushing back from the kitchen if I hear a prescription drug commercial beginning on my television. The sandwich I’m hastily putting together gets tossed toward the heavens and I shoulder-roll over the back of my sofa to get into the perfect position to see first-hand the horrors that await the unfortunate soul who is in need of said wonder pill.

I smirk, thank the powers-that-be for regulations requiring truth in advertising and try to remember the beginning of the commercial so as to know what the product in question is claiming to cure in the first place. And then, and only then, do I contemplate the risk-reward quotient for taking the medicine in question.

For example ...

Yes, a runny nose can be bothersome and tiring. But, does it seem worth it to dry up the sinus cavities if it could involve massive hair loss or your hands turning into flippers? Probably not.

Helping speed up recovery from the ravages of chemotherapy might be worth some loss of sleep and skin irritation. I’d have to go ahead with that product.

Toe fungus should never be tolerated, particularly when one considers that creepy commercial where the little cartoonish germ lifts the toe nail off the bed of the toe and scurries underneath to wreak havoc more quickly than a Sussex County Council member considering a land use upgrade. But I’d tend to not go with the product if potential side effects include howling at full moons and growing a handlebar mustache — on my forehead.

Male ... well, performance issues, seem to have the longest list of potential side effects, and one of the most staggering warnings I’ve ever heard at the end of one product’s commercials. There is no way anyone can justify to me why a moderately sane person would risk some of these heinous and horrifying potential ... oh, no, I get it. Carry on.

And just short of having a reaction which causes your nose to spin clockwise 180 degrees, thus opening up the possibility of drowning during a rainstorm, I can’t really think of a side effect that could cause me to not take a pill that could help me deal with depression if I was feeling so down on myself as to contemplate the unthinkable.

It’s a mental balancing act — much like I find myself in almost every day.

For instance, as much as I enjoy going down to the chamber and talking to the energetic crew of women who work in those offices, is it really worth the splitting headache, dilated pupils and temporary lower paralysis I suffer as soon as they start quizzing me on whether or not Sam Harvey is as much a gentleman in the office as he is when he greets them? No. No way. Not worth it.

Is the possibility of getting jittery and anxious from drinking too many cups of coffee a day going to keep me from frequenting Kool Bean? Nope. In fact, the more coffee I suck down a day, the more quickly I seem to be able to get up and down the steps. And, besides, there is no way I’m going to tick off Nancy or Kathy by not going there. Last time I got her mad Nancy stapled me to the bathroom door and beat on me with a milk-steaming machine until ...

But I digress.