By Paul Lombino
We all want a fresh start. As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to purge the petty issues that have nagged us over the past 12 months. By writing them down, hopefully minor annoyances will be exorcised and make way for subsequent irritations in 2016.
Time to recycle lottery tickets. Bad enough when lottery players discard losing paper tickets on the street, but why do some gamblers feel compelled to rip them into tiny pieces before littering the sidewalk? What’s their rationale? Are they afraid their tickets may actually be winners? So by shredding themmm thennn ─ what? I’m lost. Am I’m over-thinking this?
Most unanswerable interview question of the year. During a phone interview last summer with the hiring manager of an insurance company seeking to fill a short-term copywriter project, I was asked: “If I gave you a book, how long would it take to read and write a white paper on it?”
Bam! My brain short-circuited. Was she actually expecting a number or was I being punk’d? The pause between her question and my response was palpable. During those ponderous seconds I had an out-of-body experience and was instantly drawn back to the Regents Exam, which New York State high school students had to take to graduate. One exam category titled “reading comprehension” had you read a paragraph followed by multiple-choice questions based on that reading. Choice “D” was always “Not enough information.”
So when she asked ─ “If I gave you a book, how long would it take to read and write a white paper on it?” ─ I wanted to blurt out “D. Not enough information.” Instead, I rolled my eyes (over the phone) and asked “How long is the book?” We never talked again.
Like they’re giving it away. I’m the principal food shopper in my household. So I speak with some gravitas when I make this unscientific observation. Roughly six out of 10 women shoppers in the checkout line ahead of me do not open their pocket books until their groceries have been fully tallied. Only then do they search to retrieve their cash or credit card. I say nothing, of course, but I’m always tempted to ask “Did you think it was going to be free?”
Even FOX commentators don’t believe it. Ever notice when Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly use network slogans ─ “No Spin Zone” and “Fair and Balanced” ─ they snicker. They don’t even believe it. Meanwhile, Greta Van Susteren is on her own trip featuring a segment titled “Off the Record.” If you’re speaking to a cable audience of two million, isn’t that “On the Record”? Get over it. It’s just one word.
What’s love got to do with it? My wife convinced me that Subaru’s marketing theme (Love. It’s what makes a Subaru ─ a Subaru) is a sham. Initially I had rushed to the Japanese automaker’s defense arguing that if a car is well-built, you buy it because you love your family and want to protect them. But the more I pondered it, the more exploitative Subaru’s claim seemed. Conflating love to any consumer company or product is a cheap magician’s trick. You wouldn’t say, “Love. It’s what makes a Halliburton shoulder-fired missile ─ a Halliburton shoulder-fired missile.”
While on the subject of cars. It happened again this year ─ I lost the second hubcap on my Toyota. Afterward, I began noticing other Toyotas. Based on my casual survey, I’ve concluded that more than half the silver Toyota sedans in the Northeast are missing at least one hubcap. What’s up with that, Toyota?
Opening envelopes at the wrong end. The longer you’re married, the more things roll off your back. Still, my wife continues to tear open envelopes at the narrow side rather than the wider horizontal side, which makes infinitely more sense. Don’t you think? Or should I let it go?
Have a Happy New Year and I hope to hear from you in 2016.