I’m currently staring at Norm MacDonald’s face.
I’m fortunate enough to live directly across from a beautiful billboard. And, oh yeah, I paid more that the other units to be on the top floor where it’s at eye level. When I go to sell this place, remind me to only show it during the day.
I loathe billboards. It’s a big reminder that I’m just a sheep and need herding. But, really, as a writer of sorts, I’m actually most offended by the terrible ad copy. It’s usually a dumb-downed joke that misses the mark.
Here what’s I’m looking at right now. I can’t snap a good picture so I’ll explain.
The advertiser is SafeAuto, an insurance provider. On the billboard are the words “Do The Minimum. (I Do)” Then, next to those words is a picture of comedian Norm MacDonald smiling with his hand in a “thumbs up” position.
Let’s digest this message. It’s clearly aimed at people that need car insurance but don’t really want car insurance. Usually those who have a few bench warrants and know if they get cited for not having insurance their probation gets revoked.
But, D.J., this insurance also helps the poor. They need insurance too, and can’t afford the low deductibles and high coverage!
True, and SafeAuto is probably a good fit for that group. But this ad isn’t for them. It’s a joke about Norm, who plays the character of the underachieving, careless goofball. Now, please realize I LOVE Norm. He’s one of the greatest comics of all time, and you should check out his albums. The joke in this ad is that you can get the lowest amount of insurance allowed by Illinois law and be just like Norm.
Shouldn’t we aspire to being able to afford the expensive insurance? I want the kind of insurance where if I sideswipe a VW bus of gypsies driving through Nevada I don’t even have to stop to see if anyone was injured. The police are alerted automatically and head out to extinguish the car fire I created.
To suggest buying the minimum amount of car insurance is not only a good idea but also funny, is really not funny. I mean, it’s funny ’cause it’s Norm. And I get the joke. But it’s wildly depressing that we have a billboard that contests it’s hilarious to only get enough car insurance to avoid being jailed. It would be more honest to change the ad to read:
Need Car Insurance, but Don’t Want to Pay For Car Insurance? We’ll Hook You Up!
Okay, this post wasn’t supposed about depressing billboard outside my window. It’s about the floodlights that shine directly through my bay windows from the billboard like lasers into my orbital sockets. I just took this photo, and it’s not super obvious, but those two spotlights hit me right in the peepers no matter where I position myself in bed.
For the past eight years I have simply lowered the blinds to block out the lights. Then, a few weeks ago I decided to try to toughen up. Could I sleep with 10k lumens inflaming my retinas? I kept my blinds off for one night. Miraculously I made it through the night. Once I fell asleep I was good. But getting to sleep was no fun. If I opened my eyes accidentally I would instinctively reach for an invisible pair of polarized Maui Jim’s. Since I don’t keep sunglasses on my nightstand I would then cover my eyes with my hand and fall back asleep.
As I’m writing, right now, the lights are hitting my peripheral vision and I’m starting to get a headache. So, why subject myself to such torture? Well, for one, I thought it would be fun. Sometimes I do weird stuff in bed like spin around and sleep backwards to see if that changes my whole nighttime experience. It’s great freaking out for a second when I open my eyes and think I’m in someone else’s room.
The other reason I kept the blinds up is that I have some ridiculous notion that this makes me more of a man. I can sleep with a searchlight pointed at the the center of my dilated pupil! I’m worthy of all your daughters!
Anyway, I’ve proven that I can sleep through billboard lights. I think I’m going to put the blinds down tonight and sleep in relative darkness like a normal person. Sure, it’s not as manly, but neither are the Pink Floyd boxers I’m currently wearing.