One of the things I love about the dead of winter is a time, somewhere between the new year and spring when the wind or cold or snow is so bad that I have to stay in, and I become hostage to my best worst instincts. Instead of doing all the productive things I should do, like cleaning out the linen closet, or de-cluttering my files, or finishing the afghan which is in its fifth year of construction, I give in to sloth. I lie in bed, un-showered, my false eyelashes unapplied, and watch tv — Not even Netflix or Amazon — just a warm bath of Star Trek re-runs, and Monk marathons from morning ‘til night.
It occurred two weeks ago, and things got pretty intense, because when I reached for the remote my hand kept being interrupted by a tray of rice krispie treats, and I never got to mute the commercials, as I usually do. So this year, and just temporarily I became an unwitting expert on the good, the bad and the ugly of tv ads; I went close to the edge of crazy and maybe over, and had what I will call my commercial break:
- I can quote verbatim the disclaimer at the end of the commercial we love to hate, which lists all the side effects from diarrhea to death that might accompany eczema relief.
- I decoded the subliminal message behind that commercial where the famous actor acts famous against a backdrop of dinner party, pool table and car. (Sex, power, youth, cash).
- I popped the top on a can of cola and got that carbonated feeling of kumbaya that cola brings on and now I’m a better person.
- My next car will be a Subaru because it proves I love my family more than you love yours with your Chevys or Fords. Never mind the overprice. It’s a love surtax.
- I understood incoherent commercials, like the one that wants me to buy a car because its driver avoided hitting a man who dropped papers in the street, or the insurance company spokesman in witness protection who dives off a bridge, cut to the logo.
But I knew I was in real trouble when I began to obsess over anthropomorphized ad creatures. It began with the talking taco shell (who sounded a little like my ex-therapist). Then I fell for the orange bladder-shaped bladder with the big blue swoony eyes, who tagged along with his lady on her frequent visits to the john, holding her hand like an anxious kid (though I did not like his pushy cousin, the colon with boundary issues). I felt sorry for the green mucus blob who gets banished from noses by the right spritz. In fact, I became so captivated by those little animated avatars, I dreamed up some new ones. I dreamed of Patty Pancreas, who was a forlorn, droopy, dried -up pancake of a pancreas, dragging herself through the desert until she finds an oasis of REBORN and gets reconstituted like a sponge in water. Patty meets Lung John Silver, a breathless, deflated, grizzled old guy shaped like a lung with legs, gasping, trying to make it to the finish line of a race when someone on the sidelines hands him BRETH in a cup and he is his old, inflated self.
The little toe fungus family were there too, in my fevered state, doing ring(worm) around the rosie, but alas, they never made it to prime time because they were too cute and the focus group (me) cried at the thought that they would be blasted to smithereens by the antifungal medication. Same with the dancing flakes of dandruff.
I auditioned The Two Sinuses, who made funny sounds, and The Kidney Kid, whose agony was a little too graphic, and may have been the reason I came to my senses, decided to snap out of it, get out of bed, turn off the tv, put on my false eyelashes and get on with the winter until it ends — as it will, as commercials do. And maybe winter is a commercial for spring?