Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Commercial Break

“Where’s the instructions for the TV,” asks my wife, “It’s gone all green.”

St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps?” I blurt out, and suddenly realise that I have committed a terrible domestic gaffe. You see, my wife is from Texas and as we all know, or jolly well should, Texan jokes are bigger and better than any other jokes. So my little sally was greeted with scorn and derision plus a few other things.

But we all make mistakes and even the good Lord was not immune, as otherwise how come those giant tortoises are in the Galapagos Islands and not in Texas where, by the natural order of things, they should be?

Anyway, I’m no great lover of television, green or otherwise. I feel that they should have patted John Logie Baird on the head and given him a medal or a knighthood (they seem to come pretty cheap) and told him to take his machine to the Science Museum (it wound up there anyway). But then, his was not the system that came into use, although I still believe he should shoulder most of the blame. His gadget used a spinning disc and, had it found favour, would have meant that everyone’s living room would have had a sort of spin dryer running in a corner.

But I, not for the first or last time, digress.

There’s a lot of good stuff on television, I agree, but they should award it ears and a tail and throw the rest of the bull away.

There is, however, a dark and dirty secret lurking within me, and my conscience will probably feel the better for it if I own up now. In my youth, clearly misspent, I was an advertising copywriter in a small agency. When commercial television came along, they needed someone to write the scripts for the new-fangled commercials and, as the cleaning lady was on her day off, I got the job.

The finest professionals of the Inquisition will not make me reveal which of these clunkers I was responsible for but I do wake up sometimes in a cold sweat at the memory.

Now I realise that this is an irremovable stain upon my family escutcheon, that even an application of the New Formula Extra Strength Whizzo Spray Cleaner (with added Oxygen) that I have just glimpsed on the TV would have a tough time getting rid of, but there it is. Undoubtedly there’s some special corner in Hell for the likes of myself and my fellow writers, where we will be condemned to watch detergent commercials for eternity.

And so from force of habit I find myself watching television mainly when the commercial breaks are on. It’s a sort of professional compulsion and often they are more entertaining than the programmes anyway.

So now my guilty secret is out and I trust you will regard me with compassion.

After all, everyone makes mistakes. Just think of those Galapagos tortoises.

And I notice that the television is still green. Rather an attractive shade, I feel.


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