For the last three weeks or so, I've been studying for my Photoshop certification. I'm a creative professional. I'm also a very silly individual with obvious shortcomings both in the mental and physical capacities. To make myself feel better about my stupidity and fatness, I enjoy taking fake tests that make me feel smart. A professional graphic designer taking a test in Photoshop is like racing your grandfather around the block and acting like it was 'a real close one'. Of course you won. Your grandfather (bless his soul) wears a diaper and needs special old person clothing to keep him from turning into yellow dust. And of course a graphic designer will score exceedingly well on a proficiency test that's common to his/her field of work. Taking a test that certifies my skill in Photoshop is just the kind of gold-star-saliva-slapped-onto-my-forehead thing my kindergarten brain needs for satisfaction. Until the hot girl down the block finally realizes the sex appeal of a 22 year old overweight Filipino man living above his parents' garage in Flushing, I'll keep shooting for those ugly certification certificates to tape above my toilet. Every man not currently dating a super model has his self-esteem saving grace. Mine just happens to be acquiring pieces of paper with cheap gold stencil work that are easily affixed to bathroom tile. To each his own, right?

Studying for Photoshop is boring. More boring than Sunday church. More boring than Sunday church when the priest throws in one of those extra spicy 20 minute ordeals of walking up and down the middle aisle chucking holy water from a holy water chucker to bless everyone who showed up. In amazing form, my priest is somehow able to propel droplets of Godified water at speeds excess of 100 mph. With amazing between-the-eyes strike accuracy as well. Like I said, extra spicy stuff. So every so often, usually around the early a.m. hours, I take a break. I watch TV. And I realize just how horribly backward televised media has become.

Early in the morning is when you get to see all the commercials you will never see during the normal TV watching day. I like to call these remedial commercials. Or special-ed commercials. Because if commercials were children who went to your grammar school, they'd be the ones elmer glueing their hands to the class parrot or setting fire to your hair during naptime.

Remedial commercials are dangerous. They turn you into sarcastic, rude, and mean sons of bitches. Especially the public service ones.

I think the first time I noticed this backwards quality was when I saw my first anti-drug commercial. I speak of the one with the now famous drop-an-egg-into-a- frying-pan-and-that's-your-brain scene. When I saw that, oh man. Immediately I wanted to strategically place all the eggs in the kitchen fridge around town, with signs like, "this is my crack brain crossing this busy street" or "this is my junkie brain waiting for the Q16 metro" taped to the ground underneath it. My favorite idea was placing an egg in a public phone booth, the receiver leaning on it, with a note that said," This is my drug-brain taking advantage of 10-10 dial around."

Really. Picture that in your head. Uh-huh.

At no point in my egg terrorism fantasy did it even register that message of drugs are dangerous and to not do them. All I saw was the humor of a falling-to-its-death egg and someone calling that my brain. Of course I AM an idiot who trips *up* steps and walks into street lamps when daydreaming down NYC Chinatown streets. To be fair, NO obviously-implied message ever registers in my brain. But still, I bet you kind of laughed and rolled your eyes when you saw that commercial too.

Another commercial that makes me a fucking asshole are those pro-paper commercials. Have you seen this one? With the deranged little Illinois country girl, sitting in some tick infested corn field, telling the camera man that her daddy makes paper?

Of course the commercial is supposed to touch a tear-nerve somewhere and make you feel dramatic. The producers of this commercial want you to connect emotionally to paper. And it's pretty brilliant stuff when you stop and think about how hard it must be to make paper exciting televised content. Any normal person would see the purity of a perfect little girl framed in a scene of endless green fields and blue country sky. They'd hear her gentle voice talk about daddies and paper-making. It's an adorable, kitten hugging moment for most people.

Not me, though. You know what I see?

I see a girl, who twenty years from now, will sit next to me in a Hofstra University lecture hall during English class. As copies of the course syllabus are being passed down the aisles, she will take one and hand the pile to me. But before letting go, she will lean dangerously into 'my personal body space' and whisper with her glazed-over eyes and chapped lips that,

" My daddy makes paper. These syllabi are written on paper."

I will become frightened, drop the pile, and frantically look around the room for help. This is because statements made for no particular reason from perfect strangers always leads me to a thought of the worst case scenario. Like to an idea that this girl with the paper-making papa is also, for no particular reason, carrying a dull kitchen steak knife wrapped in a homemade burlap sheath tied around her left thigh. What can I say? I'm distrustful and from NY. Reaching into my messenger bag, I will pull out my brown bag lunch and nervously share with her that, " My mom makes lunch? And she put it in this bag for me to eat at lunchtime? Umm. Ok." I can tell you from personal experience that, for the most part, when someone whispers something weird to me on a train, I'm not reaching into my jacket for my Olympus 2.1 mega pixel digital camera to take a picture with my new friend. I'm reaching into my jacket for the heaviest head-bashing implement available on this lucky day that I got the seat next to the transit riding psycho job.

Again, at no point while watching the commercial did I make the connection that paper, even in this digital age, is still a vital aspect of our lives. At no point did I feel a tug in my heart to go score a ream of the good stuff. I was too busy staring with my mouth open at the little girl who'd grow up to be the weird mumbling girl sitting next to me in Eng220:Short Fiction in contemporary America. I'll share a secret with all my E2 friends:

The stupid late night paper commercial is what led me to carry a blackjack in my messenger bag. The stupid late night paper commercial is what makes me act angry on the train so strangers won't approach me. And that's saying something, because I listen to emo music and spend my Friday nights finding pictures of newborn kittens on the internet.

No, really.

I won't even begin on those commercials produced by For those not in the know, is all about in your face anti-smoking tactics. Lots of frenetic genx-body-bag and cute-political-white-boy-Aeropostale-type visuals. Honestly, the only things that will EVER turn your nicotine love into a nicotine hatred are:

a)your non-smoking lover withholding sex


b)your non-smoking lover withholding sex

Hopefully a content producer from will see this node and understand the relationship of habit-kicking and not getting laid. Then you'll get to see the anti-smoke commercial with a naked and horny boyfriend trying to reason his way out of being caught smoking into his girlfriend's toilet at 4 am with the lights off and the door (supposedly) locked. Now that's some truth even my sarcastic dumb ass could appreciate.


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