July 24th, 2002

Salt Precaution

Bad Sounds

I've come to deeply hate the noise produced by a person walking while wearing flip-flops.

There is something so unfailingly obnoxious about that sound that seems to speak of a person who either MUST be making lots of noise all the time in an effort to get attention, or is the sort who believes that certain noises, when they are utterly regular, become for all intents and purposes inaudible, slipping into the irrelevant landscape of the subconscious. Of course, I've a greater contempt for the latter individual.

Yesterday, I heard another noise that irritated a similar nerve in me.

For the first time in quite awhile, I last night managed to catch one of the few television shows I actually like--Gilmore Girls. And taking any foray into network television means, of course, commercials demanding your attention.

One arch-annoying commercial was an advertisement for tampons directed at adolescent girls. The ad featured many very young looking ladies rollicking about at playgrounds and beaches and other places where teenagers have decided that pads feel very much like diapers. One girl, who looked about fifteen, narrated the little film by cramming her curiously oversized skull into the camera at intervals.

Now--the annoying sounds. Yes, the commercial was pretty annoying in itself, but the sound effects of this thing were so outstandingly annoying that they have lodged themselves in my memory. They're difficult to describe--I could say squeaking, and I could say anachronistic, but neither word in itself quite conveys that sensation of having artificial-raspberry flavoured needles driven into your skin, all over your head. And somehow being able to taste them in all their pungent glory.

So, to play fair, I provide now an example of how I think a tampon commercial aimed at teenage girls ought to be done:


Caption, in small grey letters; "Your period"

FADE IN: An old, long abandoned Victorian mansion. The sky is heavy with dark grey clouds, and wind can be heard whistling past. The camera begins to pull towards the mansion. We hear a female voice.

VOICE: I thought I had said what I was justified in saying. And I do not regret my actions. Josephine had made the porridge completely wrong . . .

FADE TO BLACK before we reach the mansion.

FADE IN on a small room coated with jagged shadows, produced by light shining from behind various obstructions like broken pieces of wood. The camera is at an odd angle, and we can make out the ragged shape of a girl, curled up into a foetal position against the wall. Her hair is a long, black tattered mess, and she wears a filthy nightgown. She's surrounded by the mutilated corpses of kittens.

VOICE (whispering): And then the birds went talking, and you know? You know . . .

The voice, we can see, belongs to the girl as she lifts her head to look up as if into vast distances, her eyes glazed with tears. We hear a man's voice, perhaps James Earl Jones, speaking all echoy, as if from the past.

MALE VOICE: You are denied! Take your army and your petty demands to Hades! YOU ARE FILTH! YOU NOW LIVE IN SELF LOATHING--CONDEMED TO AN ETERNITY!! OF BLOOD!!

The girl turns to smile wryly at the camera, as if to say, "See what I mean?"


FADE IN a tampon on a glass table. There is no sound--beside the tampon is a little note, written in fine and antiquated script;

ACME brand tampons.
They are for your period.


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