Short Letters to Random People

30 11 2010

Dear House,

I regret to inform you that your TV show is no longer my favorite.  Since I was diagnosed with Lupus, that show got a little too real.  Now I listen to Castle as I fall asleep because it’s just as entertaining and it will never happen.  Seriously.  It would take David Baldacci getting writer’s block, and deciding to drop in and follow me around being a stay-at-home-mom. He could make stupid comments while I make parenting look sexy and cool and once an episode come up with some spectacular solution.  David Baldacci once answered my question on a LibraryThing forum and did it without any mockery or stupidity, so I can’t say I see this ever happening.

I will still watch and enjoy your show but you will no longer be top billing in the part of my brain that dishes out pop culture references to serious situations.

 

Dear Dr. Cuddy,

In the season finale of Season 6 and AGAIN in the first few episodes of season 7, you told House that you being in love with him had nothing to do with wanting him to change.   He told you that you’d eventually start being pissed off at the things he’s ALWAYS done – like lying to you about a patient – and you said “nuh uh, won’t happen.”  Now, you’re pissed at him for doing exactly the same thing he did in every single fucking episode in the last 6 seasons.  If you really don’t want to care about him doing what he does, only assign him patients you hate.  Then if they die from some stupid treatment that will spike your BP, you can at least be comforted in the fact that they are DEAD.

Or whip out the ole “really long consent form” for all his future patients.  “By signing this you agree that you’re about to be treated by a mad genius.  You agree not to sue him or his employers for any retarded, unethical, experimental, insane, and unrecommended treatment.”  You’re smart enough to get what you both want.  It’s just going to take some creativity.

 

Dear “As Seen on TV” Toy ads,

Thank you so much for teaching my kids the art of creating stupid jingles.  In response, I have taught them about the psychology behind advertising.  At least now they know not to sing me the little tune and beg for something at the low, low price of $59.99 for 2 packs of glorified play-do unless they really want to hear Mommy rant for hours.

 

Dear Girls,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.  I know I don’t want you to ever read this because no one should have to carry this with them, but I can’t hold it inside me.  If you ever do find my blog, this is at least an honest recollection from a woman who loves you.

I replaced the last pictures we had of you with more recent pictures of our forever children.  For some reason, God had different paths planned for us and we were only together for a short time.  I spent and I spend a lot of time mad at Him for what happened.  It’s odd to me that I still love you the same amount as I do the children who live in my house.  With them, they get older and smarter.  They make mistakes and grow.  They get more and more like us.  They have opinions – rather loud ones – and desires and needs.

With you, all I ever got was a few months and some pictures to remember you by.  I remember you as 5 and 7 year olds but 4 years and an entirely new family have come for both of us.  With them, I was handed their novel.  With you, I was only given a few short chapters.  I’d like to read more and know more, but it’s best not to pester the author while the story is in progress.  In another 10 or 15 years, hopefully I can learn the rest.

I still have the pictures on the computer I use most often.  Every file I pull up, I see your pictures.  I’m learning to let go – quietly and slowly – but I haven’t made it to the point of putting your photos on an external drive yet.

 

Dear my fashion sense,

Are you done with your little vacation yet?  I know I spend most of my time in sweat pants and a tank top but I’m ready for that to change!  Do you know that lately I started throwing out DSW catalogs before even looking at them?  Why?  Because there’s no point in buying shoes when I have a closet full that I don’t wear.

Do you hear me?  I rationalized NOT BUYING SHOES.  I’m going insane without you.  I haven’t had a haircut in months.  MONTHS!  I want to start a blog for fashion choices for people with neurological disabilities (or fibromyalgia or anything that comes with dysautonomia or allodynia.)  I can’t do that when my uniform includes navy blue sweat pants, black knee socks, and a crazy colored tank.

Fashion sense, you better get your ass back here RIGHT NOW.  Put down the tropical drink, put on some clothes and clock back in.  You’ve got work to do!

 

To my children –

Effective immediately, I’m spraying you with Lysol the instant you get in the car after school.  You end up with a virus and get sick for a day or two.  I get the virus and the Lupus tries to eat my face off.

I have been on antibiotics for 10 days now and have 4 more to go.  I taste onions constantly.  Look, even the baby knows “don’t talk to Mommy until she’s had a cup of coffee.”   You try drinking coffee in the morning when all you taste is onion.

The only solution is to stop exposing your mother to germs and I’ve caught you little shits licking tables in fast food restaurants.  I KNOW I’m nuts so I can only imagine what disgusting things the little shits who do not have me as a mom do.  Those kids are sharing their germs with you and I don’t want them.

 

Dear Levenger,

Stop sending me two catalogs several times a month that have the same beautiful, lustworthy items in them.  Once a month, I get to drool over your leather goodies.  After that you’re just rubbing my nose in the fact that I’m too poor to buy them!  I already send you way too much money for Circa supplies – but now I get to cry a little inside when I see the Bomber Jacket leather card wallet that matches my Bomber Jacket leather Circa cover.  It’s the only thing that makes me want to replace my red leather card wallet that I bought 4 years ago.    The red leather wallet that goes everywhere with me.  The red leather wallet that I bought a matching clutch for so I could tote my lipstick and perfume along with my personalized note cards.

I really love you, Levenger.  I love how Mr. Leveen replies to posts online and writes a thoughtful blog.  I love your customer service.  I grudgingly understand how you’ve had to adapt some of your products to Apple’s tomfoolery.  But please stop taunting me!

 

 

With all the love in the world, Cyndi

 

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who told people the recession was almost over?

24 11 2009

Seriously.  I want the person who told people – out loud – that the recession would be over by the holiday on my doorstep.

Whoopdy doo – good news.   Yay for money and jobs!

But really now, we’ve come head to head with my love/hate relationship.  Advertising.  I like ads for the most part, but they should be in their place – not hidden inside magazine articles or designed to look like instructions on something that should be useful.  Holiday editions of magazines are THE WORST.  It’s not like they’re showing a shopping guide (I like those.)  It’s that 3/4 of the magazine is advertising and the other 1/4 is so badly done that the ads are more attractive.   It’s not like someone just announced that suddenly it was going to be Christmas in December and it’s this new thing we need to rush around for.  Come on now, isn’t there like an archive of something or other you can set aside say sometime in July?

I was 3 pages into a decorating article before I realized it wasn’t just another shitty ad from Pottery Barn. (Really, have you just caught on to the whole “people decorate with brown and a pastel” trend yet?  My bedroom has been two shades of brown with “pops” of color for over 5 years now.  Even all my Ikea furniture matches.)

Last year, magazines were slender because advertisers were using their cash efficiently and thriftily. I have a tiny shelf unit in my bookcase that holds 18 months of Real Simple and a year of Architectural Digest.  It’s maybe 18″ of shelf space.

This year, they’re 200 pages with 50 pages of actual content that’s squeezed into half a page because of the Hellman’s mayo ad taking up the opposite page and spilling over.   My Real Simple came in the mail and is an entire inch thick!  (I measured it.  It really is.)  I got home from the hospital yesterday and saw it on the edge of the couch and Shaun said “it’s huge!  It will take you a week to read it!”  But no.  It was mostly advertising.

See – the sandwich method is being fucked up!

The Sandwich Method is an informal rule you’ll probably only learn person to person in the breakroom at work.  It’s a bald-faced manipulation tactic that is used mainly on evil supervisors or stodgy neighbors.

Here’s how it works:  when you give someone bad news, first you say something good then say the bad thing then immediately follow up with more good news.  It goes like this:  Hey Jimmy, I noticed that your flowers outside bloomed while I was checking on the soft spot in the grass.  It turns out your septic tank is leaking.  Hey, did you hear about the 50% off sale at Home Depot?

Your target is still getting the info – the septic tank is leaking – but you at least have a pleasant lead-in and a get-away plan.  The sandwich method is not to form an action plan.  It is meant to inform and escape.  Then after the escape, your target can think about what you said in the middle at their own pace.

This is also the basic theorem of advertising within content.  You have 10 minutes of TV, then 2 minutes of 30 second commercials with the expectation that if you sit there and watch them, soon you will get 10 more minutes of content you care about.  If it’s any longer of a time, the target will run away or take up under-water basket weaving or something.

Because what you want the customer to SEE is the middle.  That’s the meat.  What the customer is there for is the package – the sandwich.  What your advertising should be is the MAYONNAISE!  The customer takes a bit thinking “wow, turkey and bread are great, we should do this more often.”  Then they taste the mayo and go WOW, mayo is awesome!  Then you keep slipping in stuff and they start to expect the cleverness and interest your mayo adds to their experience.

The problem is when your sandwich comes with 6 oz of mayo, a thin slice of turkey, and a handful of croutons that were graciously called “bread” last week.   Then your customer is not only gone, but they’re pissed off.  When they think of your brand they’re going to think of a giant, goo of white fat that has overtaken the awesome memories of a plain ole turkey sandwich.

What you have said is “Jimmy, I got out of my car and noticed your yard was sinking into a puddle of shit.  Your flowers look nice, but that’s only because of the “extra fertilizer.”  Here’s the name of the most expensive guy in town and he’ll even beat you with a monkey wrench if you complain about the bill.”

And now advertisers have money again and they’ve forgotten about their role as unexpected, awesome goodness that’s needed as a layer of fat and flavor in between actual content.

Magazine editors – you should be ashamed of yourselves!  You cheap floozies!  So yeah, we toughed it out for a while, but if you’re going to suck this bad just sell the company to the advertiser and let them frame some made-up content with pretty pictures.    It appears that your skilled writers and photographers all work for the advertising companies now.

I can honestly say that in this 200 page magazine I just finished had 2 interesting things in it.  (Normally I flag 30 or so things to follow-up on.)  It was a giant mayo glob with poo pellets and some regurgitated wheat germ.

This is also an apt analogy from one of my favorite movies, Robin Hood:Men in Tights

(apparently my rant has now turned into another episode of the “free business analysis for how to not suck” segment of my blog.)