Secret Pop

Jan 13, 2003


The word "millennium" got ruined many times over. First, by that movie with Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristofferson in it. Then, by the computer industry. And again by the computer industry. And then by the advertising industry. It holds no oomph anymore. It lacks grandeur. It provokes the response, "Millennium? Huh." And a shrug. And an immediate forgetting of that exchange. I have a pen on my desk that says "millennium" on it. I think it's a model name. I hate it now.

I drank too much wine last night. Enough to make me fearful about going to sleep. Fearful of how the waking process might go. But the morning went by without event, projectile or otherwise. And I forgot the whole business. Except to remember to take special care to only drink the good stuff. Or at least the stuff that pretends to be good. I'm usually fairly successful at that. Maybe because I believe that things that cost more are actually better. I know that people will argue about this with me, but I find, almost without exception, that if you don't know which to buy, the more expensive analog will be the better one. I bought some generic Sudafed at Walgreen's. It's called Wal-Phed. And it costs barely half as much as the real thing. For a short while, I congratulated myself on my thrift. But I popped one in my mouth this morning and learned that the money you save is what would ordinarily go into the candy coating. These little red demons are as bitter as -- well, as something very bitter. The name brand pills can be swallowed without even bothering with a swig of water. But these require multiple flushings of the tongue before that foul taste can be forgotten.

I did say ALMOST without exception, of course. And I don't think one should invite gouging of any sort. I will happily pay less. I am often tricked into placing value above everything else in my personal pyramid of importance, and I will freely admit to being proud of buying on sale. But I will happily pay less for THE SAME thing. I am, however, reluctant to pay less for something that claims I won't be able to tell the difference. Oh, I'll be able to tell. Just try me, Simply Soda. Give it a whirl, drugstore brand snack cracker. I'm right here, unlabeled toothpaste. I'm not all talk.

"No frills" isn't a slogan of savvy triumph. It's an acknowledgement of an unspoken agreement. It means, "This product sucks, but you're cheap. So everybody gets what they want." I want airlines to spend the extra money to serve me a meal that doesn't come in a small foil sack and consist mainly of nuts. Let them charge me for it. It's not like I don't already spend ten extra dollars at the airport McDonald's to try and make up for the lack of nourishment afforded by my flight. I prefer to choose which corners I cut. Is that wrong?

Actually, my favorite wines are really quite affordable. Usually under $10 a bottle. If only because I have a few bottles of very pricey stuff, and I never want to open them. So, instead of wasting an elegant varietal on an evening with a jerk I'd rather forget, I usually end up letting it sit until it becomes expensive vinegar. This is the same mechanism that explains why there is so much in my refrigerator that shouldn't still be. But soft! Is this a breakthrough? No. I don't suppose. False alarms are many when you're bored and looking for fun on the Internet. I think, when I began this, I was going to write something about displacement and life lived on hold.

Someone nearby is playing a flute. Badly.

No comments: