Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Public Service Announcement For Your Enjoyment

Normally I roll along thinking I'm fairly in sync with the rest of Americana.  For the most part, I look like the rest of Americana.  I go to the same places, see the same things, enjoy the same feelings of superiority over the rest of the world.  But then I'll see something that just makes me go WHAT?? and I realize that not everybody else is going WHAT?? and then I'm like, "oh's the cultural insanity we're all so fond of..."

So the other night I was being all mainstream and watching American Idol with Everyone Else.  I do love myself a little Idol. Want to know my faves?  Of course you do!  My favorites are James the Aspergian, Casey the Garden Gnome, and Stefano the Stud Muffin.  I also really like that little blond girl who is only 16.  She's a cutie pie.  Anyway.....back on track Sardine were saying?  Oh yeah, I was saying how I was watching American Idol like Everyone Else and can you freaking believe Steven Tyler is like 62 years old?  Seriously.  That's insane. 

SO.  Watching American Idol with the Rest of Americana when a Public Service Announcement comes on.  A mama is cooking dinner (of course - not the daddy, the mama - and a family that eats dinner together and talks together and don't forget PRAYS together, sticks together!!!  oh wait, wrong Public Service Announcement)....the mama is cooking dinner and her kid says, "Hey Mom! I need a dollar!"  At this point I'm wondering where this is all going and I'm expecting the mom to say, "What do you need a dollar for?  Crack cocaine??  Huh?  What you need that money for girlfriend? You think I'm not on to you?  What you gonna do with that dollar??"

But this doesn't go there.  Okay...gotta veer for a minute.  Speaking of Public Service Announcements, there was one when I was a kid.  It had a baboon in it.  I think he was smoking a cigarette.  No, wait a minute....he wasn't smoking a cigarette...he was on wait a minute....that was a fried egg.  NO WAIT!  He was on drugs.  Or something. But all I remember is that there seemed to be a baboon and he seemed to have a monkey on his back...wait a minute...he was a monkey.  Maybe he was on somebody else's back and that somebody was smoking crack.  Smokin' crack with a monkey on your wait a minute...I think that is in a Travelling Wilburys song.  So anyway - in my mind there is a cage and a baboon and smoke of some sort but I'm pretty sure I'm combining several PSA's....yeah, yeah, I am....'cause now I've got the rainbow thing shooting through that says something about The More You Know....and now Lavar Burton has come into the picture because whenever I see that PSA rainbow I think of Reading Rainbow and then I start thinking of Star Trek....
hold on, let me set my crack pipe down and try to get back where I started....or close to it....the baboon was addicted to something and I can't remember what it was but whatever it was he wanted it more than ANYTHING.  The PSA announcer went on about how that baboon wanted it more than FOOD, more than WATER, and even MORE THAN SEX.  I was like what?  Ten? And I remember looking at the baboon and thinking about how he was so stoned that he wasn't even horny and not caring AT ALL. 

So - watching American Idol with the Rest of You when a Public Service Announcement comes on...."Mom, can I have a dollar to buy crack?" 

"Sure honey! I have one right there in my pu..."  Mom looks on counter where her wallet sits RIGHT NEXT TO THE FRYING PAN.  Mom gets a cute and sneaky expression on her face.  'Cause we moms operate that way....all cute and sneaky-like.  "Ummm....I think my purse is upstairs in my room!" she calls out.

"Okay!" says the crack addict.  She runs up the stairs.  Mom keeps looking cute-sneaky.  Kid runs back down the stairs. 

"It wasn't in there!"

"Oh! Well, did you look in your brother's room?  He's always stealing money from me to support his gambling habit."  Sh*t! I'm off-track again.  That was a different Public Service Announcement.  Take Two.

"Oh! Well, did you look in your brother's room?"  Kid runs back up the stairs.  Mom keeps stirring the hamburger helper while grinning.  And we all know that kid isn't even going to eat dinner because the baboon had completely lost his appetite while he was on crack.  Or tobacco.  Or alcohol.  Or fried eggs or whatever it was.

So this continues a few more times....kid coming down the sending her back up the stairs while the wallet stayed right there within eyesight with a dollar poking out.  And I'm still just clueless, you know?  Where is this all going?  What exciting message is in store for us?  Bullying?  Is the mom an Evil Cute-Sneaky Bully who is getting some kind of perverted joy out of making her kid run up and down the stairs?  That must be it.  It's the only thing that makes sense.

And then finally the Evil Cute-Sneaky Bully says, "Oh! Here it is!" while looking at the wallet that she's been grinning at the entire time.

And then the message.  Are you ready?  And don't quote me....I'm possibly paraphrasing....but basically it was:

Moms find creative ways to get kids moving.

SERIOUSLY?  This was about EXERCISE??  Come on guys, this is probably the lamest PSA of All Time.  Ever.  In the history of Ridiculous PSA's.

But here's my point...I do have one, after all.  Why the mind games?  Is this really how we're expected to communicate simple messages to our children?  What's wrong with sitting the kid down and saying, "Dude - you need to get more exercise.  Turn off American Idol." 

It seems to be common to communicate with children in this way.  To consider them as lesser folks who need to be tricked into cooperation.  I know so many people who regularly "trick" their kids into eating certain things....or into believing certain things.... why?  I don't like to be tricked.  If you got something to say, sista.....please say it.   Don't underestimate my intelligence by making me run up and down the stairs while you grin at your wallet. 

I know.  I know.  This is a small thing.  But it represents a bigger problem in how we see and deal with the younger and smaller humans of our communities and families.  I don't mean to imply I'm above the occasional bribe or threat (please don't let today be the day  Alfie Kohn falls onto my blog while googling the sardine canning industry or John Frusciante).  I'm not perfect.  But I really don't think I could send my kid on a wild goose chase to burn off 3 and a half calories.  (Yes, I know this wasn't a Real Mom - it was somebody's idea of a Real Mom - it was probably an overweight middle-aged man in a Mom Suit - but still.....)

Now if somebody could come up with a PSA that would show me how to trick my son into accidentally learning algebra while on Facebook?  I might change my tune. 

But here's my Public Service Announcement.....are you listening?  Picture a baboon in a cage....he's smoking something....there's a guy trying to trick him into giving up the weed and having sex instead, the baboon's not buying it....gosh DANGIT...I'm off track again.  Do-Overs:

There's a cage.  A kid is in it.  The kid has to do ten jumping jacks and then it can peck at a button and get a snack.....a healthy snack.....and then it can do it again.  Here's the cool part.....the kid finally leans over to the camera and whispers...."You know I'm a human being.  Just like you.  You can...ya know....kid looks around left and right to make sure nobody's to me."

The More You Know from Sardina Mama....the More You Grow!  Now then - run along and play, don't do drugs and try not to fry any eggs on the sidewalk 'cause it makes a mess. 
Sardine Mama


  1. Oh, how I wish they'd make that commercial!!

  2. I'm really glad you finally got to the point because I was starting to think YOU were on drugs.

  3. OK, I'm with Kelly on this one. Do you need an intervention? Just kidding, but I do love the idea of the PSA - and the picture of Levar - how I miss Reading Rainbow.

  4. Hooray for you, the wonderful pyrotechnics of your mind, and for where they take you! I actually took a big delighted YES breath after I read this.

    I'm so glad you write what you write, that you think what you think, and share what you share. I COMPLETELY AGREE, and love the last PSA (not the monkey one, but the kid one).

    Yes. PLEASE TALK to them. Just Do It. (Or is that Just Say No?) (I mean, Yes.) (Oh, you know what I mean)

  5. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid, Carol.
    For realz.

  6. Michele has suggested an intervention on my behalf. Can I help plan it? And can there be wine? What fun!!!

  7. Yes, I'll bring the wine. But if it's a skype-intervention, I might have to drink it all myself.
    I agree, that sounds like a ridiculous commercial. What did you say that Mom was cooking, Cheeseburger Helper? Now wonder her kid is a big schlub. Is that a word? You know what I mean, right?
    When I opened your Post and saw Lavar Burton, I was so hoping that this was a Post about Star Trek. And although you didn't get into talking about my boyfriend, Jean-Luc, I still was loving this post.
    Your Friend, m.

  8. Sardine Mama, you should be in charge of the world.

  9. I don't know if I've mentioned this on the blog before but Jason is REALLY SMART.

  10. For those who don't know Carol, she does not actually smoke crack! And she doesn't screw rock stars in her dreams (well, I'm less certain on that one, but I'm pretty sure if she did, she would not have been blogging about it). This is a family blog, people -- sorta.

    I agree, mainstream culture is downright scary sometimes. The most important things are what we never discuss with one another, children or adults. That basic disrespect and lack of compassion extends to everyone.