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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ow! My eyes!

A few days ago, I was watching TV with my husband. The Jimmy Dean sausage commercial came on the screen.  The Sun and his wife sitting at the breakfast table eating the fully cooked Jimmy Dean sausage patties.  When there is only one patty left, they both jab it with their forks. As a test of wills, they commence in a stare down contest. Of course, the wife conveniently forgets she is married to the Sun. When he raises his eyebrows, she is blinded by the implied rays.  At the end, he takes the last sausage patty and chastises her, “Didn't anyone ever tell you not to stare  at the sun?”
At the end of the commercial, I turned to my husband and declared I didn't think her husband was very nice. I suggested that they should have added at the end, the Sun shares the sausage patty with her. Or better yet, gives her the whole sausage patty since she probably has retinal damage! 
My husband replied that the whole commercial was silly because how can a person be married to the Sun?  I concurred, mentioning wouldn't she vaporize if she was that close to the Sun? My husband reminded me of another commercial of theirs where all of the planets are in a conference room.  How is that possible?
I remembered years ago (careful now, my age is showing!!) that the spokesman for Jimmy Dean sausage was in fact Jimmy Dean—a singer and actor.  These commercials had a homespun feel to them. It was as if Mr. Dean was inviting the viewers to step into his kitchen for some breakfast.  
Now, these modern day commercials had a different approach, testing our imagination to buy into the fact that the Sun can be down on Earth and have human-like relationships. What did that have to do with buying sausage?
Suddenly, it occurred to me—here I was debating the merits of the commercial, trying to make sense of it. However, by just thinking about these commercials, their marketing people have accomplished their goal. How clever is that?!

One thing I do know for sure is whatever I have for breakfast tomorrow, I won’t have to go into a staring contest with my husband! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Found: a change of perspective

There have been times I've been searching for a lost item—be it my car keys or my shoes—I can’t find it for the life of me. I tear the house apart, and doggedly quiz my family (Are you sure you didn't see them? Really, really?) After a fruitless search, I feel very frustrated, throw my hands up and quit looking.
After a while, I retrace my steps--I do need to find these items, especially if I’m heading out the door! Inevitably, I find the item only when I search differently. For instance, when looking for my car keys, if I dug my hand through my purse, I now need to dump all of the contents out.  If I've been looking underneath the bed for my shoes from the left hand side, I switch to the right.
It got me thinking how this new approach is relative to life experiences. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in looking at a problem one way that with a fresh pair of eyes, it can be view as an opportunity. For example, a fender bender is a tragedy when it occurs. The look of the car is lost. However, later on, the damage to the car has created a job for the car body works shop.  Or this event may lead to replacing the car entirely. Either way, improvement in all aspects is on the docket.

It’s a good reminder for me. When I lose something, though it is annoying, I need to look for the item in different angles, not just going through the same motions over and over again. Then, if all else fails, a quick prayer to St. Anthony never hurts!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

All that camouflage!

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Project Runway. I find it fascinating that the designers can look at a piece of fabric and envision a sassy or an innovative dress. I get a real kick out of Tim Gunn and his signature catch phrase, “Make it work!” as he critiques the competing designers.
I have often used this phrase in some of my parenting skills. A few years ago, my husband mentioned he wanted to try his hand at fly fishing, but didn't have waders. It was a few days before his birthday, so I figured Perfect! That’s what I would get him!
At the time, he worked weekends; on the Saturday before his birthday, I took our son, who was seven at the time, to Sportsman’s Warehouse. This store is huge, packed tightly full of every sort of camping, hunting and fishing gear imaginable.  What I didn't know, but became painfully aware as soon as we entered, was in the middle of the store, they have on display a life-like wilderness scene. To complete this display was many taxidermy animals—bobcats, moose, deer and bears— in authentic poses. When my son set eyes on this scene, he completely flipped out. He shouted that these wild animals would eat him and we had to get out of here right now! I tried to calm him down, explaining that these animals were not real. He insisted our lives were in danger and tried to make a beeline for the door. I felt my face flush as I saw some customers staring at this sight of me trying to wrangle my wiggling child.
I firmly held onto him and decided to “make it work” with his logical side. I looked him in the eye and simply stated that why would a store have wild animals roaming around, chewing on people’s heads? They wouldn't stay in business very long, now would they? This tactic seemed to work and he settled down a bit. Another bonus was the prying eyes of the other customers were turned off of us by my sweeping, graphic statement!

Hand in hand, we ventured further into the store, putting more and more distance between the stuffed ferocious   creatures. As I looked through the rack of waders for my husband’s size, my son squeezed between the waders. When I asked him why, he stated that he would be safe among the camouflage. That way the animals couldn't find him. I guess my pep talk wore off and he took it upon himself to make up his own logic. Still, he seemed to be content sitting cross legged surrounded by the waders. He was safe, in no one’s way and not ranting about animals going to eat him.   I said “Enjoy!” and kept looking through the rack. When a sales associate came by asking if I needed help, she did a double take when she saw my son’s head pop out in between the hanging waders. I just smiled, “making it work.”