Flex Your “Can Do” Muscle: Advice from a Cough Drop

Because nothing says “live your best life” like a cough drop

And to think, I almost crumpled it up and tossed it in the trash can.

There I was, in the throes of practically coughing up a lung, legs crossed so I wouldn’t pee myself, all the while thinking, “gee, I sure could use some advice on how to have a better life”.

Okay, so I really wasn’t thinking that. But the ad agency or marketing folks at Mondelēz International, the company who brings the world Hall’s cough drops (as well as a zillion snack products), must have thought otherwise because printed all over the cough drop wrapper were peppy words of wisdom.

The first one I noticed told me to: “Flex your can do muscle.”, “Fire up those engines!”, “Seize the day.”, and “Impress yourself today.” Seeing as to how I’d been coughing for eight hours straight, I admit that I was definitely impressing myself, although I doubt that’s what they had in mind.

I guess maybe the good folks in charge of Halls are trying to jump on the Dove train. (In case you don’t eat Dove chocolates, you should know that they, too, come wrapped in pithy sayings. Evidently, so do a certain brand of tampons. But that’s a post for another day.)

I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but for a couple of years, I kept a smoothed out Dove wrapper that said, “Test your limits and keep going” plastered on my fridge.(Dove likes to dole out their life-enhancing wisdom one pithy bit at a time.)

There were other Dove wrappers my daughter or I found appealing that made the fridge cut for a few weeks or a month or so, but the “Test your limits and keep going” one was my all-time favorite, so I let it have the place of honor right at eye level.

Then, last summer my husband staged a fridge magnet intervention and “suggested” that I might want to pare down my collection a bit. He had a point. There were so many magnets, photos, faded “kid” art masterpieces, and advice from chocolate candies on the doors that it’s a wonder the extra weight hadn’t sent the refrigerator crashing through the floor into the basement.

Even though I really wanted to hang on to it, I eventually decided that Dove’s pep talk could live on inside me without having to actually be plastered to the fridge. So, I tossed it along with all but a few photos and a couple of “classy” or funny magnets.

To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about that old Dove wrapper until I ran across the cough drop pep talks. I wracked my brain trying to remember what it had said, but ended up having to text my daughter to see if she remembered.

After she told me, I realized anew the power of subliminal messages because, even though I hadn’t kept the wrapper, or remembered its message, I still had taken the advice.

I guess that seeing that wrapper several times a day for the couple of years it lived on my refrigerator caused it to embed into my subconscious. Before I turned fifty-five, (I’m fifty-seven now)I made a decision to test my limits and keep going.

So far, so good.

Sure, there are days when I look at a wall that someone has thrown up in my way and wonder if I have the strength or the guts to hurl myself through it. Sometimes, the wall is a little (or a lot) harder to overcome, and I have to do a little tuck and roll, then take a rest before I find the strength to pick myself up and keep going.

Maybe I should write a testimonial to the Dove folks. And, maybe, I should tack the cough drop wrapper to the front of the fridge.

Who knows? There might come a day when I suddenly decide to flex my can do muscle, fire up my engines, and seize the day. That, I expect, would lead to my being quite impressed with myself that day.

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