April 11, 2011 in Features

The Slice: We want our jerks commercial-grade

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Perhaps you can help me.

I want to compile a list of TV commercials in which the people using the product are acting like jerks.

Not funny. Not quirky.

Jerks.

You know, a guy yammering on his miracle phone about some stupid nonsense while a waitress is ready to take his order. A dig-me dude smirking because he has a car that goes fast.

A pencil-necked punk getting up in the face of his boss because, well, I don’t even remember what that was selling.

Clearly, this is a mystifying trend. But I keep forgetting to write down the names of the sponsors. And I need to know them if I am going to hold these ads up for ridicule.

Today’s Slice question: There are Slice readers who carefully monitor how much vacation I get. They enjoy noting that it seems like an inordinate amount of time off.

I mentioned this to a colleague, a guy who recently noticed – before a column made it into print – that I had written “pubic television” in a place where I intended to say “public television.” There’s a difference.

Anyway, he suggested that, instead of running those “Paul Turner is on vacation” notes, perhaps the Today section could mask the mundane details of my benefits package by coming up with some euphemisms.

“Paul Turner is on special assignment.”

“Paul Turner is on tour.”

“Paul Turner is serving a 10-day suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.”

I think that’s a fine idea. But let’s open this up and let everybody play. What euphemism would you suggest?

How about “Paul Turner has taken a week off to pursue his personal ministry.”

OK, I realize this has the potential of being a fat pitch right down the middle for readers who possess, shall we say, muted enthusiasm for my column. That’s fine.

If you paid for a copy of the paper, you can say whatever you like.

Years ago, I asked readers to name their favorite features in the S-R. And one guy answered that the thing he most likes to see is a brief notice that a certain other columnist is taking some time off.

So that trail has been blazed.

And don’t bother with “Paul Turner has moved on.”

This close to The Slice turning 20, that’s not going to happen.

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; email pault@spokesman.com. Fairly high up on the hierarchy of human needs is the desire to offer advice about grass seed.


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