The Idle American: TV Viewers Can’t Win….


The next thing we know is that three out of five New York doctors agree that watching television may be hazardous to our health.

This isn’t exactly “breaking news” until one stares reality in the face, convinced that it isn’t easy these days to find 60% of persons in any group--professional or otherwise--who agree on anything.

We have entered the age of bombardment, when media messages are volleyed with such frequency, we, the bombarded, are the ones paying the price….

In this piece I am addressing overkill, limiting observations to products being pushed on TV ads, and a growing disdain for political advertising.

As may be the case for retirees or those near unto this stage, I freely admit that crushes of ads on the telly make me squirm in my chair, sit straight up or change channels.

In the Metroplex, many of us are growing weary of constant ads promoting bathroom renovation. I have reached the point that I can accompany the pitches, word for word, wondering all the while why the emphasis is on bathrooms.

Have they been overused or built with inferior products? Or, is it more likely that in warehouses across the land, showers, tubs, sinks and such have stacked up? Why is it so important that projects--start to finish—will be completed between sunrise and sunset on the same day? Why is financing so tempting, with zero interest due until 2030, or canceled if the rapture occurs sooner?...

I’m looking for a silver lining in such ads and have discovered one. (Such searches can induce fatigue, and might even cause one to think that a quick shower or bath might be in order.)

Rarely ever truly thirsty, I am ever alert for reminders to drink plenty of water.

When I see the bathroom remodel ads, I hasten to the kitchen to down eight-ounce glasses of water. I can’t wait to hear my doctor’s congratulations upon successfully complying with an elementary suggestion that everyone drink plenty of water….

We tend to remember clever ads, even if we don’t remember the products being featured.

Who can forget the little old lady hurling a tire through the plate glass window at a Discount Tire store? It is still running, now in its 42nd year.

Also stuck in our minds are Clara Peller’s insistence that Wendy’s make meats in their hamburgers easy to find, and Motel 6 reminders that lights would be left on for us.

These are classics, warming our hearts instead of tightening our shackles….

Close runners-up in offensive communications are phone calls, many of which come from callers labeled “unavailable” or “wireless.”

I don’t know anyone named “unavailable” or “wireless,” so such calls are unanswered.

Spam callers grow ever more “sneaky,” sometimes coming from phone numbers in local area codes….

Most laughable are calls from governors, presidential candidates and others of such ilk. They are almost always “canned,” then flooded to millions of phone numbers.

On the rare occasions when “real people” call to campaign for candidates seeking state and national offices, I sometimes thank them, indicating that I have a list of such calls on which I place the names of persons for whom I never intend to vote.

This typically is a conversation-ender….

There’s an old story of a small-town newspaper editor who ran an editorial critical of a senatorial candidate. He ended his editorial with a biting statement: “I wouldn’t vote for him if he ran for dog catcher.”

The candidate was livid, demanding that the editor run an apology. Finally, the editor agreed to do so.

He wrote: “In last week’s newspaper, I stated that I would not vote for (blank) if he were running for dog catcher. I was in error, and hereby apologize. I might indeed vote for him if he were running for dog catcher, but he’s running for the Senate of the United States!”…

Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak throughout Texas. Contact information: Phone: 817-447-3872. Facebook: @donnewbury. Twitter: Don Newbury