What could spoil a delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs served with a side of broccoli, olives, and garlic? Not the Italian bread that was hot and crispy, nor the Yuengling light beer served ice cold in a frosty mug. Nope, everything about the meal was perfect. And the entertainment was top notch, too, as it is every night when we eat at the island in our kitchen and watch our little HD television. Usually it’s Wheel of Fortune that keeps us entertained, but tonight, because we ate early, we watched an old 1997 episode of Seinfeld. As always, Jerry and company didn’t disappoint. This show featured a cameo by the late Lloyd Bridges, and kept us laughing for thirty minutes. So what was it that put a damper on our dinner?
It was the same thing that ruins our repast nearly every evening. It’s my pet peeve. Give up? I’ll give you a hint: it’s connected to the television—well, not literally of course, but it has something to do with television or, more precisely, what’s on TV every evening at dinnertime. I’m talking, of course, about the endless stream of commercials that seem to flood the airways at precisely the time that most people are trying to enjoy a meal. These sleazy advertisements run the gamut from the mildly suggestive ones for those “little blue pills” to the endless local auto dealer ads featuring a screaming salesman wearing a bad toupée. Oh, and we can’t forget those spots by a former actor trying to convince us to buy gold (or silver, depending upon the performance of the market) and asking in a condescending tone, “What’s in your safe?” Who the hell has a safe?!
Some of the worst offenders are the ads for various medical products—complete with the disclaimers. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of hearing about all the potential side effects that these wonderful drugs can cause like: constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, nervousness, loss of hearing, cancer, and “in certain instances” even death! Where do I sign up? I just can’t wait to get my hands on some of those drugs. “If you have an erection lasting more than four hours…” You get the picture.
But the most offensive commercials of all are those for the “legal firms” offering to represent you in class action suits. Some are against hospitals or doctors who may have “gifted” you with a transvaginal mesh implant or a defective titanium hip. Still others might be lining up to help you sue an employer you worked for, while handling asbestos that “may” have resulted in your becoming a victim of mesothelioma. Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are lots of legitimate lawsuits out there just waiting to be filed—and I’m all for that, I really am. I just don’t want to hear about them while I’m eating. And shouldn’t we be letting our doctors tell us what drugs we should take, and not the drug companies?
So what’s the answer? The simplest one, of course, is to not watch the TV while we eat. But, hey, I enjoy watching Pat Sajek and Vanna White, or Friends, or Seinfeld. I pay a hefty fee for my U-verse television service, and I ought to be able to enjoy it when I want. Fortunately, there is another solution: record the shows you like and then just fast-forward through the obnoxious commercials—especially at dinnertime. Maybe if enough of us do that, they’ll stop running the commercials while we eat—or at least keep the unwanted side effects to themselves.
We can only hope.
What’s your pet peeve? I hope you’ll share it with my readers in the comment box below.
NOTE: Joe Perrone Jr is the author of the highly-successful Matt Davis Mystery Series: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day (a 2012 Indie B.R.A.G. medallion winner), Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. All four are available in paperback and E-book from Amazon.com. As the Twig is Bent and Opening Day are also in audiobook from Audible.com, with Twice Bitten and Broken Promises currently in production. If humor is your cup of tea, consider Joe’s rip-roaring, coming-of-age novel, Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, set in the tumultuous Sixties. It, too, is available in print, E-book, and audio book editions.
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