By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
There is one school of thought — well, actually it’s The Little Woman’s (she still doesn’t like that pet name) school of thought — which says I watch too much television. I guess, if I were honest with myself, I would have to agree.
We have big wall clocks all over the house (almost as many as we have TVs) but they are not really necessary. I tell the time by the program that is on at any given time, to wit: I get up and perform my morning chores to “Imus in the Morning;” at 8:20 a.m., it’s a switch to ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning;” at 9 a.m., it’s “Live with Kelly and Michael;” at 10 a.m. it’s “The View;” and at 11 a.m. it’s “Jeopardy;” then 30 minutes of “Sports Center;” and the morning rounds out with the “Midday News” on Channel 8.
Suffice to say the afternoon is segmented much the same way by ESPN sports shows and the Food Network. Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri are about my favorite celebrity chefs. They both appear in a number of venues but Rachael is best known for her “30-Minute Meals” and Guy for “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” I’ll bet very few of you know, or care for that matter, that Guy Fieri was born Guy Ferry.
Because I watch so much of this stuff, I also get saturated with the requisite commercials that repeat, and repeat, and repeat...much like a bad burrito. I often find myself reciting the scripts and singing the jingles and this drives TLW absolutely up the walls. She fires off endearing outbursts like: “Knock it off you old fool!” “Don’t say that one more time!” and my all-time favorite, “Mister, you need to get a life!”
Some of the commercials are cute and clever — the first 20 times you hear them — but some are about as cute and clever as the nasty political ads that are inundating our world. The dreariest ones are the ones for products that are “...unavailable in stores,” “...satisfaction is guaranteed,” and have “...operators standing by.”
Invariably, there is a household problem that one phone call “...in the next 10 minutes...” will cure. It starts out illustrating the problem in black and white or drab colors and then the cure is presented in living color. A few situations that come to mind are: the lights go out in the house and you’re stuck with a half-dozen flashlights that don’t work instead of having a 100-hour lamp at the ready; you stab a Q-tip in your ear and pack ear wax through your ear drum instead of using their cute little ear wax vacuum; and you’re butt, back, and legs are suffering from prolonged sitting in a chair without their special whoopy-cushion. I don’t want to hear from the long-haul truck driver that the whoopy-cushion makes his butt feel good. That’s just too much information.
Every one of these spiels has a hook at the end that tells you how much the product would cost in stores and their “...unbelievably low cost of only...plus shipping and handling.” What that translates into is you are buying a specialty item that costs $5 to make, you pay $19.95 for it, and they charge another $12 for “shipping and handling.”
Just before the auctioneer rattles off the 1-800 phone number to call three or four times the real hook comes...wait for it, wait for it. “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! If you call right now we are going to double your order free — just pay separate shipping and handling.” Yeah right! Both of the products are probably not worth what you’ll pay for those “separate shipping and handling” charges.
Well, there you have it. I have ranted on for a page and a half about a pet peeve that, in reality, is a self-inflicted wound. If I weren’t so addicted to the boob tube, I wouldn’t be wishing I had a chef’s knife that cuts plywood and then slices tomatoes and I wouldn’t have electrical repair jingles rattling around in my anal-retentive pate.
I’ll close by comparing my feelings about these doofus commercials to what “Big Tex” said to the fairgoers on Oct. 19.
“Howdy folks! Every time Ah think about the way those low-down, gol-derned Sooners beat our Longhorns like a bunch of stepchildren, it just burns me up! When them carpetbaggers award my ‘Big Tex Choice Awards’ to deep fried jambalaya, fried chocolate tres leches cake, and chicken-fried cactus instead of my bacon-wrapped, hand-battered, and deep-fried possum gizzards, it just burns me up! When them same carpetbaggers build the ‘World’s Largest Fritos Chili Pie’ up against mah imported emu-skin boots, it just burns me up! You know what? Ah’m outta of here!’
Dallas Fire-Rescue dispatcher: “Got a rather tall cowboy with all his clothes burned off...”
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org