A real conundrum for the Prevagen people

By Dick Wolfsie

Last year in one of my columns I made an observation about how strange it was that the OTC medication Prevagen, a product used to enhance memory, was produced with ingredients taken from jellyfish—ironically the only animal on the planet with no brain. They have since scrapped that commercial. You’re welcome.

Now, in every TV ad for Prevagen you see an elderly couple out walking. And it’s always in the woods. Then we see them sitting on their deck talking about their improved memory and boasting about how much they walk every day. Apparently, these folks always find their way back home. Maybe the Prevagen people are on to something, after all. I once got lost walking a golf course.

Mary Ellen is not a fan of products that admit in their commercials their effectiveness has not been fully proven. But she was so concerned about my increasing forgetfulness, she decided it was worth a try. I was very insulted.

“How about you, Mary Ellen? Aren’t you going to try it?”

“Don’t be silly. Why do you think I need it?”

“Well, last month we got pizza delivered four times, brought in Chinese food three times and had stuff from the freezer about seven times.”

“So, what does that have to do with my memory?”

“I assumed you forgot how to cook.”

I thought that joke would make her angry, but she didn’t say a word.  For three days.

For a long time, every time I went to CVS, she told me to buy some Prevagen.  It kept slipping my mind when I was at the store, which seems to me to be a real conundrum for the Prevagen people—the kind of marketing concern that Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank would have been quick to point out: “What good is a memory product if consumers keep forgetting to buy it? I’m out.”

In retrospect, I wish I had not asked my wife to also take the drug. About a month later, I could tell she was annoyed at something and I asked her what was bothering her.

“About six months after we got married, Dick, you told me I was starting to gain weight and now that I think about it, I’m still angry at you for saying that.”

“That was 39 years ago. What made you remember it now?”

“I don’t know. It just came back to me.”

“Well, Mary Ellen, I just remembered when we first met, you forgot about our date one night and you left me sitting alone at the bar for two hours.”

“Wow, Dick, that was 42 years ago. You sure hold a grudge a long time.” Whatever made you think of that again?”

After rehashing a few of our less-than-joyous moments in the past, things that long ago had vanished from our minds, we decided to switch from the Extra Strength Prevagen to the regular strength. There were a few things we wanted erased from our brains forever, and we didn’t want to go overboard with this memory thing.

I’m writing a letter to Prevagen to suggest they put this on their warning label: “This product will not only improve your bad memory but may also bring back bad memories.” Catchy, huh?

Full disclosure: I have written several hundred columns over the years about Mary Ellen and me. Up until now every article was based on something that really happened.  This is the only time everything in the column is completely made up…assuming my memory serves me correctly.

Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@