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The latest news on this change — carefully culled from the world wide web by our change agents. They do the surfing, so you don't have to!

Wilford Brimley's Diabeetis

Wilford Brimley's Diabeetis

If you've ever watched any daytime television in the last decade you've undoubtedly seen character actor Wilford Brimley pitching diabetes supplies for Liberty Medical. The 74-year-old star of movies like "Cocoon" and "The China Syndrome" won the hearts of millions with his grandfatherly advice and folksy way of pronouncing "diabeetis."

Although he hasn't made any commercials in a while, America still has a soft spot for Brimley. There are several Wilford Brimley diabetes dance mixes on YouTube, the popular cartoon show "Family Guy" did a spoof on Brimley's Liberty Medical commercials, and there's even an entire website, Diabeetis.com, dedicated to Brimley's spokesmanship.

Visitors to Diabeetis.com can buy diabeetis t-shirts, participate in forums, and even play a "Beat the Beatis" video game in which an animated Wilford head floats around a living room, trying to catch floating insulin shots.

Sure, it's not exactly PC to poke fun at such a destructive disease, but many people participating in forums are getting a kick out of the schtick. A user by the name of LUVMITENDUR on YouTube had this to say about a video called "The Beetis":
"i have the dreaded beetis.
and this is great.
funnnnnyyyyyy." (sic)

I tend to be of the camp that humor can make just about any situation better or more manageable. (It must run in the family; my grandpa was wearing a Three Stooges t-shirt on his deathbed.) Although I'm fortunate not to have diabetes, which also runs in the family, I think Brimley mania is quite healthy. It's a fun, silly way to get people talking about a not so fun disease.

What do you think? Should they leave poor Wilford alone, or does the humor help people cope?

—Joy Hepp

Posted: 12/5/08