I wanted to understand the hullabaloo behind the movie “Bird Box,” so I watched it. At least enough of the movie to get the drift. So, last night I took up the challenge, with one minor modification. Just before going to bed, I put a blindfold over my eyes. For the most part, I was able to function, even getting up a couple of times to race to the bathroom without tripping and falling over the dog.
However, blindfolded as I was, I couldn’t see my dreams, and that was perhaps the biggest drawback. Otherwise the experiment was uneventful. (Kids, do not try this at home.)
Okay, I did dream and in my dream last night I was watching “Jeopardy!.” The three contestants were immediately recognizable. J.K. Simmons, the Oscar-winning actor who escorts us through the Farmers Insurance Hall of Claims; Flo, the upbeat woman in white who promotes Progressive Insurance. And that crazy-looking guy who plays “Mayhem” for Allstate Insurance. Alex Trebek introduces the three and then runs through the show’s categories: Nondeductible Deductibles; Earth, Wind & Fire; No Collision, No Collision; Know a Thing or Two; Groupie Annuities; and The Finer Points of Fine Print. But before any of them could ring in, I woke up.
Which was unfortunate, because it means I missed my favorite part. This is the scene when Alex briefly interviews each contestant about a piece of trivia in their life, reminding viewers at home that their own lives are much more interesting:
Alex: “J.K., you had a lucky experience as a child. Do you wish to tell us about it?”
J.K.: “You bet, Alex. When I was eight, I found two prizes in the same box of Cracker Jacks.”
Alex: “Flo has an unusual, some might even say strange, wardrobe habit. Please tell our viewers about it.”
Flo: “Sure, Alex. Once a week I take a blouse out of my closet and wear it inside out, with the label exposed. I like to give the inside of my blouses a chance to see what the world looks like.”
Alex: “That’s nice. I heard you do something special when you read books, Mayhem.”
Mayhem: “Yes, Alex, that’s true. Whenever I read a book, I always dog ear the last page I read so I know where I left off. But instead of pulling back a corner at the top of the page, I fold back a corner at the bottom.”
Okay, I didn’t really have that dream. But I had a hard time sleeping last night. Instead of an ear worm playing “She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain” in my head all night, like some kind of drooling village idiot DJ raised by Satan, I was playing commercials.
First off, am I the only one who thinks it’s creepy to have a live Jimmy Dean on TV pitching his sausage in 2019? The man died in 2010, yet he’s still showing up in person and in voice to hawk his products. Marketers of the world, I implore you, let the man rest in peace. Find someone else to push your meat. Seriously. How unfair is that to today’s struggling actors? I’m sure they’d line up in droves, like links of sausages, to be the next spokesperson for Jimmy Dean Sausage and be on the receiving end of a residual. Dead people can’t cash royalty checks. So why not give a struggling actor a break?
Second, where are the classic TV commercial slogans of old? “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” “You ate it, Ralph.” “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” “Where’s the beef?”
Case in point, I’ve had atopic dermatitis my entire life, and now it looks as if itchy skin is making a comeback. Some company is pitching a new product with a made-up name specifically designed to take care of the age-old condition of dry skin. It’s a boring commercial, quite frankly, and lacks memorability. It’s certainly no “The heartbreak of psoriasis”… Now that’s a slogan I can get behind. “Heartbreak” conjures an image of a room full of parents and grandparents and siblings, all distraught, with perhaps both a priest and a rabbi present in the room offering solace. Everyone’s wearing black. Cue the weeping and gnashing of teeth. While nearby in the bathroom, Little Billy applies a soothing ointment to his dry, red, scaly, itchy arms.
Sometimes you feel like a nut.
Not sure what to buy for that special gift this season? Give the gift that keeps on giving. Let’s face it, everyone he knows is singing. Why not on Broadway? Order now and beat the tariffs.
I just received the program (see attached pdf) for “Please Pass the Gravy,” a short play festival by Clairemont Act One (San Diego) that included my play “Two People.” From the email message I received, the short play festival opening weekend was wonderful and full of laughs. Thank you, Char Sivertson and all the other dedicated and talented people that made Clairemont Act One’s festival a reality. I’m honored to have been part of your show.
In honor of Rosh Hashanah.
David Boxerman and I drew this cartoon many years ago for our weekly comic strip “KVETCH!”… I found the cartoon on my hard drive and wanted to share it with friends and family. Happy New Year!