Do you have a love-hate relationship with television commercials? Many people, including this writer, abhor commercials.

Why do you think someone invented commercial skipping gadgets? Commercials shout their message at the viewer. They are louder than the program we are watching. The purpose behind such blasts of unwanted information is to get your attention. On some stations, like the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, they play five minutes of programming and nearly ten minutes on commercials.

Hubby’s usual response is to work on his carpal thumb-all disorder by flipping through channels. The problem is programmers have figured out the inclinations of viewers to channel surf during commercials. Consequently, when it comes to commercials, most channels seem to be synchronized. Such synchronization is particularly evident with sporting events.

People often ask “Where do ideas for your columns come from?” Or, “Is there something specific that triggers the idea for a column?”  Or, “Do you ever run out of ideas for columns?”

The best answer to all of the above is if you are a people watcher, the ideas come faster than you can write them down. Sometimes something is said on the radio or happens on the drive to work that starts the brainstorming part of the writing process. The problem is the antics of inconsiderate drivers are distracting. By the time the Lexus Lite reaches the parking garage, most of the terrific ideas have disappeared with the gas fumes.

An AT&T commercial inspired today’s column. It was not only annoying because of the frequency with which it aired, but because the commentary on society is depressing.

“Dad, I think the Internet just went down,” the daughter says, looking up from her smartphone. “It’ll be back up in a minute,” he replies.

Four minutes later the mother is catatonic without her iPad. The frustrated father slams his laptop shut with a disgusted look on his face.

“Something happened in the world, and we don’t know about it,” the daughter laments. How will they ever survive?

The next scene is the daughter playing the piano, badly and off key while the family sits with gaping mouths and pained expressions on their faces.


Has this family considered engaging in conversation? What a novel idea! Is it possible they never developed conversational skills? Are they more comfortable letting their fingers do the talking and communicating with strangers and semi-strangers, instead of family?

If the girl spent less time on the phone and practiced the piano, she might turn out to be a tolerable player.

If the family spent time interacting with one another instead of sitting in the same room staring at their machines, they might bond or do something equally radical. How about getting to know your kids and your parents?

Aside from the annoyance factor, commercials reflect society, and not always in the most favorable light.

One interesting thing about the commercials this writer finds entertaining is that most of the time the product identity escapes me. Does this mean the only way to remember what product a particular commercial is hawking is to make it boring or annoying?  Not necessarily.

Although, some irritating commercials will pound the brain’s “I hate it” button with such ferocity that the product identity never registers. One recent commercial comes to mind is the weird monkey in diapers chanting “puppy monkey baby.” I have no idea what that little mutant is selling.

On the other hand, there is the equally cringe-worthy Progressive Insurance commercial in which Flo is trying to keep the rain from falling on a car or a bird dropping its present on a vehicle. She also bats away the newspaper a kid is trying to deliver. At least, in this case, the product name is repeated enough times that even a mutant monkey will remember it.

Since television programs are on the twelve-year-old level, how do advertisers justify medicine commercials for erectile problems or pills for females disinterested in sex?

Are twelve-year-old kids suddenly wise beyond their years? Just asking.

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