Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Prison is making me an addict.

A TV addict.
At home, I don't even have a TV. I get the news from other sources. But here, it's TV news or nothing. That would be OK, for the short haul, which is turning into a long haul, since the chief justice denied my release pending appeal, except for the commercials. The TV ads are definitely messing with my head.
A few are funny. Like the boss lady who gets fouled by a faulty mute button. You know the one. Or ads that would be funny if they weren't so sick. Like the Weyerhauser ads using a cut-out tree (inadvertently symbolizing a clear-cut forest) to persuade us that a dead forest is better than a live one. Or, the automobile ads, selling powerful engines to propel reckless young men though our city streets like deadly missiles. The ads for male erectile disfunction simply mistify me. It seems that a whole new language has been invented by men, to keep women in the dark about this problem. The question I have... Wouldn't women be the first to know of a problem?
The ads that really grab my attention are the ones for items not sold in stores. My first downfall was for a book. One that promised secret health remedies. As Telus prohibits prisoners from toll free calls, I contacted my youngest daughter. It didn't occur to me that her masters degree in communication would present a problem. And it didn't at first. She readily ordered the book. But the next time I called, for a food chopper, she hesitated. She suggested that perhaps I should wait until I was released to go shopping. "This chopper isn't sold in stores", I insisted, "and it chops whole onions and potatoes in one swoop." She reminded me that everything looks easier and smoother on TV. At this point it occurred to me that I might have to switch to another daughter for future orders. Unfortunately, when the really neat wall lamp that ran on batteries came to my attention, the other daughters were working or out of town. I instructed the now frankly disapproving daughter to order several of them.
"Mom, stop it!" she demanded. "You hate TV, remember?"
"That's when I'm not in prison," I answered stubbornly.
"But don't you see,"my daughter persisted, "you're being persuaded by a television ad to want something you didn't even know existed."
"But I know now," I snapped, "and I want them."
She sighed heavily.
"Alright, I'll order the bloody things."
But I felt kind of deflated when I hung up, and couldn't help thinking, maybe I'm doubly imprisoned when I turn on the TV. A kind of prison within a prison, so to speak. I have to think about this.
Betty Krawczyk
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