Please know it could have been worse. I could have given you muscular distrophy, Parkinson's disease, or late-stage anal cancer, because we also market those treatment drugs here at Healthcare Synergy Marketing or as we like to call it, "The Dream Factory." I know this doesn’t make matters any better, but anal cancer is just as serious as it is hilarious. And so, I hope a good chuckle will temper your quiet sobbing and soften the blow of becoming the new face of herpes simplex type 2.

“But, herpes? Herpes? Why me? I’m approaching 60!”, you might be asking yourself. Well, in short, you are a handsome 60. And while I'm sure you'd bashfully disagree, all 34 people in our focus group suffering from this ravenous STD agree with me. Contrary to popular belief, HSV-2 is predominantly an affliction of people over age 70, in their apartments, among hoarded newspapers and war documentaries, battling loneliness by mashing together their brittle and highly contagious genitals. An act that induces vomiting both as a witness and participant. Which is where you come in. The “aspirational” image of you and your wife by that pond, laughing and feeding baby geese pieces of baguette, kills that bleak picture of reality, like herpes does to 3% of sufferers annually. It might be 2%. It might be 4%. But the point is, you’re part of the majority that, as the headline over you states, “Enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle thanks to once a day Valtrex.” In advertising lingo, we call that a home run. And you're the batter. 

In a nutshell, you give sufferers hope; a silver lining. Metaphorically speaking of course, because in some cases, the lining of their urethra is actually inflamed.

I'm trying to stay positive here, but I know it might not be enough to stave off the anger and bargaining stage of grief. In which case, I should highlight your compensation package. The total figure I can't be sure of, although I imagine it to be quite a bit, since your likeness will be associated with herpes on a national level in magazines with the highest circulation. Magazines like Time, Newsweek, GQ, Sports Illustrated and Guns & Ammo. I know that last one came out of left field, but our research tells us there's a correlation between firearms and STDs. When readers finish all of the eight-point copy filling the three-page gatefold, they'll want to learn more at ditchtheitch.com, where they'll see you stretched out on your gingham picnic blanket, playfully wrestling a Frisbee away from your Shih Tzu. Another opportunity to cash in while becoming the familiar face of America's most unrelenting venereal disease.

I hope this eases you into acceptance. You, your dog and the woman I believe to be your wife, could have made far less money. Like in a brochure about vacationing in the Poconos, or in a direct mail pamphlet – your optimism encouraging people to sign up for a credit card.

In closing, I’m truly sorry. But it’s time to stop acting like the victim and embrace your newfound fame. When you retrieve your royalty check from the mailbox, your neighbors will wave a hand of recognition and mouth, “congratulations” from a safe distance. Don't be bashful. Return a confident nod from your new Boxster with a "HERPES2" vanity plate. Just make sure you add the "2." "HERPES" is on the back of a LeBaron convertible owned by the face of last year’s ad campaign. He had crystal blue eyes just like yours. Windows to the soul that say, “Everything is just fine, even though I have a full-blown infestation of open sores underneath my khakis.”