Was it Ed who Fell or Norman?

My most bizarre high school halloween costume was a homemade amalgam of oddity–“Marilyn Mon-Conehead.”

I paired a 1970s floor-length bright red gown I’d found in my parents attic(that was the “Marilyn Monroe” portion–in my mind at least) with a Conehead I’d found at the local Conehead store, or some similar establishment.

I have no idea why I felt that these two iconic, yet seemingly opposite figures should meld into one. The costume lacked irony, humor and/or topical relevance.

The same year I confused the hallowed halls of Union Catholic students with my Monrovian master-disaster, a friend of mine chose a more hip and timely disguise–he dressed up as the lady from the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial; yup: he went as the “Life Alert” lady.

Life Alert and, more specifically their classic catch phrase, has had remarkable staying power.

My friend spent halloween as the “helpless human” close to 25 years ago. And Slip-n-Slide Sally is still around today.

Well, maybe not the same exact Sally, but a facsimile thereof.

I know this to be true, because—-ok, I’m going to swallow my pride and admit this now. I’m not only someone who laughs at the concept of Life Alert, I’m also a potential customer.

My first reaction to Social Worker Tracey’s suggestion that I look into getting a Life Alert system was mild, “Oh, ok….I’ll look into it.”

At the time, the lightbulb had yet to spark over my head–I didn’t associate Life Alert with the classic commercial. It wasn’t until I googled the term that I realized the connection. My second reaction was to laugh out loud and yell “This is f-ing absurd! I’m actually going to look into ordering something from the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial?!?!? What’s next–I’m at a local vegan restaurant I’m forced to order the Where’s the Beef? soy burger?!!??”

25 years ago and the fallen lady was so far out of our concepts of reality that we found its existence comical enough to turn it into a halloween costume. Fast forward two dimes and a nickel and I’m at a point in my life where my husband’s convinced that he can “smell carbon monoxide since he was a volunteer firefighter”, he places frozen chicken patties in the toaster and can often been seen wandering up and down the highway we live on.

This should NOT be my life right now.

My 47 year old husband should be falling and getting up, damnit.

I should be reading about the infamous commercial on some Buzzfeed post about “Top 10 80s Phrases”, not reading about the cancellation policy on the company’s website.

This. Is. Just. Absurd. F-ing. Absurd.

But I guess there are probably people out there in their 80s now who are also looking into getting Life Alert for their loved ones.

And maybe they remember chuckling at the helpless human in the commercial some 25 years ago too.

And they also remember back to a time when their grandkids made them homemade birthday cards and they went on cruises and played pinochle…..to a time when their spouses should be falling and getting up, dammit.

And even though they’re in their 80s, they think it’s absurd that they are at this point in their lives, too.  Just. F-ing. Absurd.

So—–UC folks…was it Ed who fell and couldn’t get up for Halloween or am I starting my own descent into memory-loss madness?

3 thoughts on “Was it Ed who Fell or Norman?

  1. Yes, that was me as Mrs. Fletcher….falling down in the cafeteria yelling “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up “. Think I won funniest costume that year which paid for gas money for that weekend.


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