Sideglances
by SARAH GREENE
sgreene@etex.net
Nov 15, 2012 | 679 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print


NOTHING against TV commercials in general—as one whose livelihood has depended on advertising revenue throughout a long life, I’m in no position to throw stones— but there’s one cable TV commercial that irritates me inordinately.

Maybe you’ve seen it if you have the wide range of stations cable offers, for it is repeated over and over and over.

I refer to the commercial that begins: “There’s nothing worse than standing in line at the post office.”

If you go to the website for stamps.com you find the slogan, “Never go to the post office again.”

In thinking about this I devised a plan: when troubled by insomnia, instead of counting sheep, list all the things I can think of that are worse than a post office line.

IN A WORLD crowded with seven billion people, only a minority lucky enough to live in “first world” countries, it’s not as easy as I first thought to come up with my personal “worst” list.

I recall that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the New Testament Book of Revelation as representing conquest, war, famine and death. That will certainly do for starters.

Turning to the worldwide web I did a search for the 20 worst things. Maybe a picture is worth a thousand words for there were far more images than word lists.

Strangest of all, the same images were posted on several sites, and Number One in this photo gallery was a cookie stuck in a glass of milk.

OTHERS IN the top 10 included an electric wire tangled in the ball foot of a rolling chair; a hand stuck in a cup of Pringles potato chips, a higher math problem being solved on a sheet of paper torn from being ripped out of a tablet, and a tumped over cup of yogurt.

A selection from other, equally frivolous “worst things” lists included slow poke drivers on 4-lane highways staying in the passing lane; walking into a room barefooted and stepping on a Lego block; being sneezed at; scorpions and cockroaches; you wanted the crunch bar but you hit the wrong button on the candy machine.

A very young-looking woman posted a video in which she described her “five worst things,” as follows: hangnails; flesh cuts made by paper; getting up early in the morning; baking cookies, then having them turn out burnt; getting your hot tub ready, but then the water turns out to be cold.

COMPARED to imag es of starving people in wartime concentration camps; areas hit by hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, as well as other natural and man-made disasters, these lists could seem almost obscenely shallow.

But so much depends on one’s viewpoint.

I was fortunate in my long-ago childhood to be read to from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Child’s Garden of Verses, I recall a couplet titled Happy Thought:

The world is so full of a number of things

I think we should all be as happy as kings.

This sent a memorable message on behalf of positive thinking.

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