Have you ever ruffled someone’s feathers? I have. Very recently, in fact, I ruffled the feathers of a senior executive at a large corporation that is in the business of manufacturing, among other things, toilet paper. In Monday’s column I brazenly expressed my opinion that a television ad and the companion tag line for this particular brand of toilet paper, manufactured by this particular company, is…well, it’s ludicrous (there’s really no other way to say it). Some people will agree with me and others won’t. Mr. Senior Executive did not agree with me and he exercised his right to tell me. That got me to thinking about how lucky we are to live in the United States of America. Americans enjoy the right to speak freely; to express our opinions without the threat of imprisonment. I cherish this right to free speech. How blessed am I to be able to write columns every day and to press the publish button boldly and without fear. Really, the only thing I even come close to worrying about theses days is the potential that some bored attorney might be lurking around the corner waiting for the next opportunity to spin the benign musings of a housewife into something slanderous. You know, the one with no sense of humor and not enough real work to keep him busy. Anyway, freedom of speech got me to thinking about all different forms of communication.
If you think about it, advertising is really just clever, persuasive communication. I love communicating, writing especially, so I suppose that’s why I always have been intrigued by advertising. I guess it’s why I pay such close attention to ads and have such strong opinions about them. If I don’t end up achieving my goal of becoming a syndicated humor columnist, someday I’d like to win a CLIO. I love print ads, radio ads, and television ads, but most of all I love funny ads. I saw a very funny television commercial the other day for toilet paper. I know you’re probably thinking, “What is it with this woman and toilet paper lately?” I’ll tell you what. I don’t know. Perhaps all of this toilet paper business happening at once is a coincidence. Or maybe there is just something inherently humorous about toilet paper. Anyway, this guy steps out of the bathroom and hollers, “Hey honey we’re all out of toilet paper. Can you toss me a roll.” A roll of toilet paper flies by his head, shaving off a large section of his hair. A narrator breaks in and says, “Your toilet paper shouldn’t be too rough.” The same guy, with a large shaved gap on the side of his head, steps out of the bathroom again and hollers, ‘We’re out of toilet paper. Can you toss me a roll?” A roll of toilet paper flies at him again only this time he catches it and it explodes all over him creating a mushroom cloud of toilet paper dust. The same narrator breaks in and says, “Your toilet paper shouldn’t be too soft.” It’s hysterical. The premise, of course, is that the best toilet paper is the one that strikes the perfect balance between strength and softness. Gosh! Who can argue with that? I’d love some of that toilet paper! Unfortunately, there’s one problem. Even though I cannot stop those comical scenes from replaying, over and over, in my brain, as I stand in the toilet paper aisle of the grocery store, ready to snatch myself a 12-roll pack, I realize I can’t remember which brand of toilet paper they are pitching. Too bad because it’s a really, really funny commercial and I might have bought some even if it wasn’t the cheapest brand, which means a lot because I hate spending money on toilet paper. I usually purchase whichever brand of ultra-soft is the cheapest. I’m not particular about my toilet paper. I’ll use just about anything with one exception. I just can’t bring myself to buy the recycled stuff. I like to think of myself as having a pretty good sense of humor, but the idea of recycled toilet paper ruffles my feathers. There’s nothing funny about it.
Till tomorrow… Good night. Sleep tight.