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Potted Ferns Can't Use Keyboards
5.31.2001 by Zebulon

One of my pet peeves has always been TV commercials. From the enigmatic BASF commercial (We don't make any product. We just make certain things better. But we won't tell you what hahahaha) to ads for crappy movies (I defy you to tell me the trailer for "A Knight's Tale" didn't give away the whole psuedo-plot), bad commercials have always done for my head what gargling buttermilk does for your breath. I always end up feeling unclean.
And that's where AOL/Time Warner/GM/Kellogg's/NASA comes into the picture. This new multinational conglomerate, defined as "Any business that spends more money on paper clips in one day than you will see in all your life," now owns everything on cable TV, including the test pattern and static. And now AOL ads are running on all 4000 channels.
Using "bad" to describe these ads is like using "naughty" to describe Stalin. For starters, they need Ritalin. They move so fast through so many things I saw an eight-year-old on a sugar buzz say, "Hey, slow it down." Then he started chasing a cat around the house with a wooden spoon. I think the kid had the spoon, but I was so disoriented after the AOL ad I wasn't sure. Perhaps the cat was baking something.
But back to AOL (Unfortunately). My biggest beef with them is their shameless abuse of the word "easy." One fifteen second spot contains, by the estimate of top mathematicians, fifteen thousand repetitions of the word "easy."
"It's like, so totally easy!" a teenybopper raves, even though the only way she uses AOL is to tie up the phone line typing to her friends, rather than just tying up the phone line talking to them like a normal shallow teenager. Cut to some guy that looks like a janitor. "It's so EASY that my potted fern can use it!" (Cut to fern seated before computer. "You've got mail!" comes from the PC.)
I swear I'm about to cut off my cable. If I wanted to kill brain cells in that high a volume, I would just drink a lighter fluid spritzer.
Speaking of killing brain cells, it's time to answer some mail!

ADH1722659133245@aol.com writes:
deer luser even tho U have not written it yet, I am mad cause of yur makin fun of aOL. sum AOLurs are smart Me am smart so there U suk.

Well, ADH, I'll be the first to say that not everyone on AOL is a drooling idiot like you. I have some AOL users that are good friends of mine, and are quite intelligent. The only reason most of them use AOL is that once you sign up, there is no possible to cancel your account. AOL will bill you for the rest of your life, even if you switch banks, cancel your credit cards and enter the Witness Relocation Program. I know this is true because my girlfriend did just that nearly a year ago, and I still see her username on my Instant Messenger buddy list, though she has me blocked for some reason.

Pope John Paul II@vatican.com writes:

Dear Zebulon,
May God's love and mercy shine down upon you always. The cardinals and I love your column and have been reading it faithfully for almost 35 years. In fact, we are considering canonizing it somehow. I have your "Tripping the Lord Fantastic" column <from August 14, 1972. Zeb> taped to the inside of my tall pointy hat, so that I may read it at any time, though I don't think Jesus ever wore a fedora.
My question is this: I am working on a dissertation on the socioeconomic requirements for peace in the Middle East, and I was wondering if you could tell me the per capita income of the average sheik.
Pope John Paul II

Dear Asshole:
If you're going to try and forge the Pope's return address, bear in mind it's Vatican.ORG, not Vatican.COM. And the per capita income of the average sheik is sixty camels and forty women.

Fern4235@aol.com writes:

Dear Zebulon,
Can you tell me why I can type better than " ADH-whatever" above, even though I am a potted plant with no arms and no eyes and therefore could not possibly use a computer?

I would, but I'm at the end of the column.

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