Succumbing to Modern Advertising

Hook, line and sinker. My husband fell hard for a brilliant spot of in-program advertising today. It’s the new rage in advertising – ads inside the show. Carefully crafted, it sends thirsty gentiles running to the market for tasty drinks to whet their whistle. Crassly done, it is annoying and chintzy – immediately provoking the ominous eye roll.

I’ve seen both the subtle product placement and the cumbersome commercial exchange. It’s (apparently) utterly irresistible when that main character cracks that ice cold Red Bull Cola – no words necessary. But then there was the car ad in a soap opera I saw once – how friggin’ annoying – that neither flowed with the conversation nor provoked in me any desire to shop. Advertisers should capitalize on chances to promote inside the story; but not like that.

Advertising in the modern era must be hard. (Besides trolling social networks for privacy loopholes with which to exploit internet user navigation.) There’s a certain level of finesse to successful ad making that takes creative and artistic skills beyond the reach of most mortals. (Like the Old Spice ads featuring President Camacho (Terry Crews) – HILARIOUSNESS!!!) But somewhere, someone is getting it so right, it’s sending people running round the corner for a pop like a sucker.

Monza sure can fight!

Monza don’t take no shit.

My cat Monza is crazy. We play really rough with her all the time. My husband has an arm full of scars from their rambunctious “play” sessions. If you come over here and play with her, you better be careful. She growls. She hisses. She bites. She scratches with her front legs and back. She is one mean mama.

There is another cat that roams around here. He is extremely large (probably twice her size) and very aggressive. And Monza LOATHES him. He tried to attack her twice early on through the storm door glass. (Idiot.) And Monza nearly put a hole through the window screen trying to attack him one day. (My landlord takes care of that beast, so that went on their tab.)

Monza was outside today, taking in the evening sun. Mean cat came.

Monza yelling.

Monza growling.

Monza scratch, bite, kick.

Monza don’t take no shit.

I don’t know who attacked who. But I found them in the neighbor’s yard, wrestling in the grass. The other cat darted away when I came outside and yelled. Monza hasn’t got any bites or scratches. But she is still pissed and growling so hard she’s snorting. And all she got was a tiny scuff on her toe.

It sucks to break a nail, doesn’t it?

My 9/11 Story

On September 11th, 2001, I turned on NPR on my car stereo on my way to work as usual. But that day, the news broadcast was reporting an impossible thing. They said a bomb or something had hit a tower of the World Trade Center and that tower was burning.

I thought, “This can’t be really happening. This must be another War Of The Worlds tale or something. But why would NPR pull that Orson Welles trick again? This can’t really be happening. It’s an awfully odd hour to do a Wellesian tall tale like this. This can’t really be happening.”

When I arrived to the office, I realized this was no tall tale, no fictional saga, no Wellesian trickery. In the front office, my coworkers were standing around a little tv, color drained from their faces. I will never forget their faces: blank stares, hands covering agonized expressions, tears. I knew the news report was real before I made it behind the front window to see the tv screen for myself. Their faces said everything.

I imagine my own face contracted the same affliction affecting theirs – horror and tears – as I saw for the first time the black smoke pouring out of that tower. I will never forget those moments. As I left the front office to report to my post, I proceeded in a state of shock.

That day, the phones didn’t ring too much. We workers didn’t chat in our downtime. We took turns visiting that front office; took turns revisiting that pain and horror like masochistic pawns in a mad man’s game. We sat together in grim repose while the second tower was hit, while both towers fell.

I relived the images as the day grew old. That night, I drove right on by the gullible lemmings queued up in hysterically long lines at the gas station. I had an altogether different kind of ‘fuel’ on my mind. As I drowned the day’s frightening events in a cadre of friendly, cool pints of beer, I screamed, I cried, I laughed, and I lived. And I will never forget it.

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