During my early stages of recovery from Legionnaires’ Disease, when I was starting to drive again, I was unable to tolerate anything on the car radio besides classical music, and even then, only the salvingly soothing variety. Nothing furious or intense. (I cannot be more specific in this regard as I am shamefully ignorant about classical music. My idea of classical music is Willie Nelson when he had a beard. Did I hear a “Badump-bump”?)
Being physically (and emotionally) fragile post ”Legionnaires’ Disease, I was unable to handle uncalming entertainment. No vituperative “Sports Talk” – “The Dodgers are horrible!” No Public Radio, covering ongoing atrocities. (Benefit of technological inter-connectedness: Any tragedy anywhere – We now hear about it.)
My timidity was hardly a post-Legionnaires’ Disease phenomenon. (It was simply more apparent.) I have always turned to entertainment for reliable escape. Primarily television. (And then, at some point, I escaped into television. No more periodic protection. I was cocooned in the medium full-time.
Of course, not any entertainment would suffice. Historically, I have assiduously avoided programming that is frightening, uncomfortable or dark. The Walking Dead? Forget about it. Homeland? I watched it once; they shot hostages in the head.
I have control over the shows themselves. (Note To Viewers Objecting To A Show’s “Inappropriate” Content: Do what I do. Watch something else.) But sometimes, out of laziness or inertia, I forgetfully drop my guard and I am blindsided by the commercials.
You would think that commercials would be harmless. They’re just selling stuff. Sometimes with humor, which is welcome. The Farmers’ Insurance ad where a giant snowball demolishes a guy’s car? (Apparently, his non-Farmers’ policy did not cover that eventuality.) Or the “Stay thirsty, my friends” beer guy: “His half-baked ideas are entirely baked.” (Did I make that up? I’m not sure.)
Funny commercials are not the problem. Unless they repeat them too often. (For me, “too often” means more than twice.) Or, more egregiously, they are rebroadcast during the same show.
“Didn’t I just see that, and laugh? Well, I am certainly not laughing again. And I am definitely not buying that product!”
Why do they do that? Can they really believe we are that brain-damaged?
‘They won’t remember. Let’s show it to them again.’”
Commercials are generally innocuous. Unfortunately, sometimes, when I’m just sitting there, thinking, “It’s a commercial; what damage can it do?”
I see a sad-eyed puppy needing desperately to be adopted. Or a starving child, with exactly the same eyes.
The Eyes of Personal Accusation.
This discomfiting jolt is hardly and exception. There I am, seeking rescuing sanctuary in meaningless distraction, and what do I get instead?
“There is a victim of ‘Identity Theft’ every two seconds!”
Or a gathering of old people, worrying about funerals.
Can you believe that? I’m watching an innocuous “procedural”, and suddenly, I’m imagining my family dumping me in the river because there is no money for burial expenses. What happened to my money? Gone, because of “Identity Theft” every two seconds!
What else am I confronted with?
A guy in a lab jacket comes on, explaining how everyday foods are destroying my tooth enamel. And it is not coming back!
There’s an ad for a medicine that alleviates a serious disease. They list all the side effects, and it’s like, “Suicidal Thoughts of Actions” – You take your pill and it’s “Hasta la vista”? I’m stickin’ with the disease.
Hey, guys! I am watching TV! Do I really need to hear about these things right now?
You get Mesothelioma from breathing asbestos, and the best you can hope for is a “Class-Action” lawsuit. (So you can cough up your guts into a fancier handkerchief. Although only if you win.)
What is going on here?
“You’ll wonder where the ‘yellow’ went…”
What happened to commercials like those?
We have been deprived of our sanctuary, our insulating shelter from catastrophe and doom. (By the way, do not say “insulating” to a guy with Mesothelioma.)
No wonder people seek refuge in religion.
Forgiveness and love? It sounds pretty comforting.
Wait. There’s also hellfire and damnation. (And an Old Testament meshugenah.)
Good Lord! Am I missing something?
Or is there really no place to hide?