Saturday, November 01, 2008

He loves your parts and services

In the old place I never got any trick-or-treaters, ever, because it was on a major road and in the back. But the new house is on a placid lane with a few children. I asked my neighbor David, the old retiree, if they got trick-or-treaters and he said they did. So I bought a metric ton of candy (which is, I believe, about equivalent in U.S. customary units to 1.6 buttloads) and not one single kid came to the door all night. They probably all went to the affluent neighborhoods.

You ungrateful bastards! You come here and eat this goddam candy!

...But not the Whoppers, because I love them so.


I remember very clearly from when I was a kid a television ad for some medicine or cleaner or some crap, in which the authoritative actor representing a scientician intoned, "Many surfaces in your home are covered in germs. You touch the top of the toilet, the side of the tub, or a kitchen counter, and then your face, and" --- here he snapped his fingers to indicate the stark suddenness of it ---- "you can catch a cold."

This made a big impression on me. Being the kind of kid I was, I spent the next several weeks vigorously rubbing toilet tanks and kitchen counters, then wiping my hands across my eyes, nose and mouth several times. I wanted to get sick and miss school. And I never even caught so much as a sniffle.

Of course, I learned quickly that advertisements are lies. But it wasn't until many years later than I realized that this ad had been an early example of the preying on the fears of neurotic parents that many companies are engaging in much more explicitly these days. I laughed and laughed at a later ad that implied that kids touching non-sanitized doorknobs was horribly dangerous, but on the web the other day I saw an ad that implied that unreliable batteries will get your kid murdered by pedophiles.

Most people are gullible and prone to panic, which explains why so many of them are Republican.


daveawayfromhome said...

I've seen studies that show that the ultra-sanitary environment that some parents raise their kids in is actually bad for them, because they dont build up immunity to germs in the early years when they are little germ-fighting powerhouses.

Love the Tom Waits image on the header, by the way.

Michael5000 said...

Oh, sure, try to undermine my faith in my battery-powered anti-pedophile gear....