Monthly Archives: August 2015

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

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Is anyone else as disturbed by the giant baby commercial as I am? For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a commercial for auto insurance in which a giant baby represents a guy’s car. So in every scene, where you would see his car, you instead see a giant baby in a diaper. I do understand the concept of thinking of your car as your “baby”, but I think it might have been a bad advertising move to represent it in this particular way.

As most of you know, I’m not that into babies. They’re cute and all, as long as they remain close to their parents. In my younger days, when any of my friends had baby showers after the baby was born, and it came time to “pass the baby”, the babies always cried when they came to me. They must have had a sixth sense as to how I truly felt about babies. I’m just not comfortable around them, and don’t really know what to do with them. Don’t get me wrong…having spent the bulk of my adult life as a teacher, I do appreciate those that have babies…otherwise, I’d have been out of a job. They’re just not for me.

So when I first saw this giant baby commercial, it didn’t take much for me to think this was not as cute as intended. The fact that the baby is oversized exaggerates all of its features in some sort of grotesque way to me. Bigger mouth, more drool. Bigger hands, more chance to be grasped by drool-covered fingers. Bigger diaper…you get the picture.

And think of this baby, put into all sorts of unsafe situations. Albeit the baby is enormous, likely less in danger than a regular sized baby (and it’s just a commercial), it’s still somewhat disconcerting to me. Not having had children, I usually go right for the extreme worry over things when I see babies in certain situations. A baby should not be sitting on an auto repair shop floor, playing with tires. A baby should not be sitting in a big store parking lot. It’s just dangerous. If this was a real baby, the parents would surely end up losing their child to social services.

I know there’s always been the use of over-sized things to impress us or sell us things. The giant, out of control spiders, flies, gorillas, and bees in the old movies…all very horrifying. Super-sized fries, quadruple burgers, steaks the size of a small cat…come and get it! But for me, I can’t think of any situation in which babies need to be super-sized. They should always remain in the normal size range…small enough to fit in their parents’ arms…not large enough to fill a parking space at Target.

Faux No!

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As I passed our local flower shop the other day, I caught a glimpse of some hanging baskets along the front of the shop with brightly colored flowers in them. They were all different colors, and I wondered what they were, but had already moved out of view of them. I said to myself, “They almost look fake!” But since that seemed ridiculous, I put it right out of my head. When I passed the next day, I paid special attention to the baskets, and sure enough, they are FAKE FLOWERS! Hanging outside of the FLOWER SHOP. Are you putting this together as quickly as I did? Sure you are! This is wrong on so many levels!

It started me thinking of other false fronts. Clever ruses. Misrepresentations. Disappointments. Like when you find out that your “maple syrup” is no more than high fructose corn syrup. Not a drop of maple sap in it. Or when you buy the 100% orange juice, and find that it’s 100% juice, but not necessarily ORANGE juice. It’s actually apple, pear, or some other mix. Or the “pure and natural” shampoo that contains at least 5 ingredients you can’t even pronounce, let alone do you want soaking into your scalp every morning.

Yes, it’s sad to admit, but we live in a world full of faux this and faux that. Magnets won’t stick to your car because it’s made of plastic. Your “down-like” comforter is full of polyester rather than feathers. The chocolate chips in your granola bar are actually carob. Nothing chocolate about it. The main ingredient in the crab salad at the deli never lived in a shell.

But what about faux feelings? Does your co-worker REALLY love your haircut? Does your “friend” on Facebook REALLY like your status update? Is everyone you greet with, “How are you?” REALLY fine? Did you REALLY have a great time on that blind date tonight?

In what other ways are we being deceived on a daily basis? Is the winner of American Idol lip syncing? Is our “high-speed” internet any faster than the average connection speed? Is that supple new bag you just paid top dollar for nothing more than pleather? Are the mashed potatoes made from flakes that never really needed any mashing? Did he just propose with a chunk of cubic zirconia? Is it live, or is it Memorex?

Oh, The People That You Meet

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In the past few years, I’ve been moved by several amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to meet in various situations. These are not people that my friends introduced me to, or that I met at a party or social event. These are people that I came into contact with because of life’s stuff. The things you’ve gotta do, the things that happen to you, or just in ordinary routines. A nurse navigator, a physical therapist, a tax preparer, a couple of people who’ve been through a very similar health issue, and even a “foob fitter” (yes, I said “foob fitter”, which is a person who helps you find prosthetic boobs after a mastectomy.) Those are some of my amazing people.

In any of life’s situations, we meet all sorts of people. A nurse, a caller at work, a neighbor, the gal in line behind you at the DMV, a fellow shopper at the grocery store, a guy on the elevator with you, or the cashier at the gas station. Most of these folks we bump into make a very small impression on our lives. We are around them for just minutes, or maybe a bit longer. We exchange polite smiles, nods, or even small conversations. We have our business with them, and it’s over.

But then there are those that we do more than just bump into. We connect on some level. They come to us when we are in need. One minute we didn’t know they existed, and the next, they are a lifeline to us. There is an instant bond due to the situation we are in. Suddenly, they become very important to us, and, although they start out providing some service to us, or we meet by circumstance, we become friends, even if for a short time.

I started thinking about these encounters in life. All of us are just little bits of humanity, bouncing around through life, floating hither and yon. And as we float and bounce, we bump into other bits of humanity. Sometimes it’s a small bump, and we’re on our way in another direction. But sometimes we stick for a minute. We have some sort of interaction. In my mind it’s like those animations of atoms bouncing around, joining up with others as they go. But in the human world, it’s much more meaningful.

I’m extremely grateful for having had the chance to bump into my amazing people. They’ve provided comfort in scary situations, sensibility when all seemed out of control, and a listening ear when no one else would understand. I hope that as I’ve been bouncing around, I’ve stuck to others for a bit, as well. Happy bouncing, people!