Earlier this week, the city rolled out its latest "terrifying health consequences" PSAs, this time warning against the dangers of excess sodium intake. Sure, they mention the possibilities of salt-related strokes and heart attacks using words, but, in an uncharacteristic move, there are no graphic, impossible-to-scrub-from-the-memory images to go along with them.
It's unclear why, exactly, the city chose to go for common sense on this after such a long, storied history of hyper-intense scare tactics, but here we are, being sternly told to just... read the label. No Empire-State-Building-as-pillar-of-salt, no young woman weeping because her fingers are too salt-bloated for an engagement ring, or something. But, lest we think the Department of Health (or in some cases, just a few rogue advertisers) have lost their edge, let's take a quick look back at all the other gruesome ways they've reminded us to take care of ourselves over the years. It'll be fun, really.
First and foremost on this list will always be the anti-smoking ads. Just when you think you've seen every extreme, horrifying possible consequence of nicotine use in explicit detail, the city finds ways to surprise you. At this point, the "out of sight, out of mind" approach would be a welcome respite.
GLUG. GLUG. GLUG. Truly, a classic.
Not as viscerally gross as some of the others, but picturing this person actually riding on the outside of the doors and maybe running into things (or even just coming really close) is horrible, and makes you clench every single part of your body in anticipation of what will probably become of this kid. Augh.
Speaking of "clenching..." aaaaah! Sorry! Terrible! But not as terrible as these ads, which besides being oddly explicit, are also far less necessary a reminder than, say, warnings about obesity, smoking, etc. Truly gratuitous. But, per an MTA statement released when these started popping up on the LIRR last month, "As a public agency, we’re not at liberty to pick and choose what ads we carry based on content." So, we're stuck.
Far, far too close to home. Truly terrifying.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.