Quiet Desperation

What a deal, what a steal, gotta get an automobile


I rarely buy, lease, rent or steal anything because of a television commercial.

There are products I avoid, however, because the commercials that go along with them irritate the Cap’n Crunch out of me.

What I have noticed lately is that half of the commercials on television are trying to sell me an automobile.

During some programs — sports — it’s more than half.

New cars all look alike, so marketing has its hands full. And the vehicles now come with features I missed out on when I was a kid.

You can tell your car what song to play and it will play it.

Necessary? Probably not.

But it must turn someone on somewhere.

I don’t know how I got out of childhood alive. We didn’t have seat belts.

I think what we had was better drivers.

Cars now have back-up cameras, and warning lights if a motorist is in your blind spot.

Drivers might not be as good as they once were because of our overconfidence in the new technologies. We think they will compensate for our indiscretions. Oh — and back then, we didn’t have phones in our cars either.

All of the commercials claim the same things: safety, reliability, attributes up the Yangtze, and, bless them, limited time only, once in a lifetime, sales.

“Thousands below MSRP.” How is that possible? It sounds like the manufacturers are getting cheated.

The most prominent push is with beautiful women and great sound systems. I guess if Rita Hayworth came with my next station wagon, I might consider it. But I don’t think Rita would be caught dead in a station wagon.

Car, cars, cars.

Is everyone looking for their next car?

There is no shortage of them, is there? Every airport has lot after lot of shiny rentals.

On our last expedition, Jennifer and I were told, “Pick a car, any car.”

All of the trunks were open, and a key was in every ignition.

We actually shopped for about fifteen minutes before we decided.

There was an exciting baseball game on television recently. It was played in Chicago on a Tuesday night.

There was one automobile commercial after another between half innings and whenever there was a pitching change.

I thought about it the next day, and realized not a single commercial stood out. (Maybe the Packard.)

There is one (unnamed) manufacturer who continually shoots itself in the foot with commercials that boast the brand no longer conforms to past perceptions. If that’s true, marketing shouldn’t bring it up.

I realize I am not the demographic that these commercials are targeting. I don’t need a new car every two years, and I don’t want to start talking to my dashboard.

New cars are fun, and there are no French fries under the seats. Or dog hairs.

Jennifer has one of these new cars. It’s the consequence of our June hailstorm.

She won’t allow Harry to ride in it.

My car, the one she has been riding in these many years, has, if one looked closely, a number of blond hairs on the front, passenger side floor, and I treasure them, because they symbolize our love and devotion.

But the sentiment is not reciprocated when it comes to similar symbols in her car.

Therefore, no hair of the dog.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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