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home : columnists and contributors : columnists and contributors October 13, 2015

12/25/2013 12:01:00 AM
Harbor Springs...Now and Then
Cynthia Morse Zumbaugh

Perhaps it is just the stress of the season, but it seems that everyone's patience is pretty much on a thirty second fuse. Be it driving or shopping, there seems to be quite a bit of crankiness out there.

For me, it seems to be manifesting itself in the irritation I feel because of some television commercials. (For those of you that I have already subjected to this rant, I apologize.) At the risk of being simplistic, it sometimes seems that some of the major negatives of our society are being glorified in commercials. For years, it seemed that commercials were too often based around men who were treated as if they were all idiots. Now they are filled with spoiled, manipulating children and/or hedonistic adults.

While doing all the "Christmas" things like decorating, wrapping and baking, I keep the television on for the noise value. Sometimes that gets to be too much. First at the top of my hit list is the Ford Fusion commercial with the bratty little girl sitting on Santa's lap and telling him that she'll have her people get back to him with color swatches for the car she wants. Wouldn't it be great to see Santa stand up, dump her on the floor and tell her to come back when she can respect her elders?

Also not fond of the Yogurt commercial where the girl says her mom switched out something for yogurt, so she switched out the boyfriend her mom didn't like for another just like him. The male equivalent has a grounded teen age boy making life so miserable for Mom that she wants to send him to the mall while he smirks about it.

And just for the record, if my mom would have EVER put anything on the table and I would have said "Can't touch that," like the teenager in the waffle commercial, let's just say I would have been hungry that night.

When we're not hearing from bratty children, we have at least one store extolling the values of buying "name brand." Yeah, that's just oozing the Christmas spirit. Then we have the boxer clad bell ringers from K-Mart; I don't dare criticize that for fear of being ostracized, but if it were bikini clad girls, I don't think it would be as well received. And between the ads suggesting our potential illnesses that we need to ask our doctors about or some of the great medications on the market with a list of side effects that make the original condition seem inviting, there is no gentility. I won't even go into the ads for the feminine hygiene or performance enhancement products and those extolling the virtues of marital aids; call me old fashioned but I just don't find them to be prime time viewing material.

I know I sound old and cantankerous and right now I probably am, but it just seems that the lightness, warmth and genuine humor that so many commercials used to have are gone. I'm told that if you remember the product after viewing the commercial that it is doing its job, regardless of the reason. Maybe that's the concept; I'm not sure how well it actually translates into sales, I know it doesn't for me. I miss the little girl frying chicken who was so happy because "and I helped" or the McDonald's brother sharing fries. I'm told there is at least one commercial out there that is quite heart warming, but I have yet to see it. We need more Budweiser Clydesdales and other commercials with animals; excepting the cat-killing Great Dane from Doritos, those commercials usually aim for the heart. And that Great Dane made you laugh.

I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas surrounded by those you love and that all these short tempers and irritable attitudes (including mine) are swept away in the spirit of the season. This is no way to begin a new year.

Now, let's get to some of our birthdays for this week. On Thursday, December 26, Happy Birthday to Deb Calnen Halleck and Carol Menzi and on Friday to Charlie Brecheisen. Saturday, December 28, we send birthday wishes to Laurie Houseworth Mayhew, Kathi Tippett, Erica Bosma, John Lauer and Glen Morse and on Sunday to Paul Marco. Monday, December 30, Happy Birthday to Gerald Garber, Rusty Gage and Sue Fowler who will be celebrating the first of many of the birthdays she claims during the year. New Year's Eve will see plenty of celebrating for both the New Year and their birth anniversary by Carolyn Chase, Dave Iafolla, and Mike and Gary Bango. Finally, Happy Birthday and Happy New Year to Joan LaCount and Debbie Diersen Adkins on January 1.

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