Those ads drive me screaming up my tree. (OK, fearless readers, I admit, it doesn’t take much, but still.) It’s their insistence on the word weird. Which is kind of weird, if you ask me.
“Weird” means a couple of things. We’ll give them a pass on the “supernatural” one. Duck in barrel. Moving on. But in general usage, it means out of the ordinary: Huh. That’s one I’d never thought of.
Unfortunately, these weird ads end up pointing you to weirdly uninteresting ideas. You cut flab by eating more, in several small meals, so that your body doesn’t think it’s starving. The average three-minute browse of a reputable nutrition site will break this earthshattering weirdness without your suffering through an audio website of this guy offering you his foolproof plan to lead you through this process. (He doesn’t tell you what it is until you give him your money.)
The two intrepid moms discovered that weirdly enough, your teeth will be even whiter if you combine two obscure dentifrices (available for sale from the weirdly heroic and disinterested hosts of this breaking news).
Blah blah. Whatever. What sells this crap? What draws the crowd around the barker? It’s the fact that these disclosures are weird, i.e., off the beaten track and presumably therefore interesting. Better still, weird old speaks to the now-forgotten wisdom of the ages. There’s nothing weird about being insatiably curious, which is the main reason people click; that people buy.
This whole thing would make me scratch my head. Sure, I’ve been curious enough to do a little clicking and asking around, but instead of seeking the Rosetta Stone to my life, it’s been to discover the depths of people’s gullibility. Damn, I wish I’d thought of this stuff! But I have the respect of my peers, and possibly an immortal soul. (Better safe than sorry there.)
I am burdened with one of those IQs which make the trailing decimal after 99% significant. I have been baffled by this fact while I blunder through life: My God, if I’m supposed to be so smart with my rate of fuckup, how in the cosmos did we crawl out of the water on our stumpy little proto-legs? It’s a tempting duhhh to relate the people who entrust Mr. Annoying-Voice Webman with their dollars with the middle of the curve, or perhaps below it. But that’s not quite what it is, in my extremely brainy opinion.
People are looking for answers. I’ve alluded to a couple of questions just by the way as I’ve been typing along here. What’s up with the immortal soul concept? And the idea of evolution? Can you go along with both? Most people at some point or another have sought answers to those questions, and to a lot of others: Are adverbs really a sign of poor writing? (Not when I do it. Usually.) Why do you find something in the last place you look? (Ann Landers once had to field that one.) Does chocolate really make dogs sick? (YES, given sufficient amounts per body mass. Have a vet ‘splain it to you, and keep Lucky out of the trick-or-treat bags.)
Why does old window glass ripple? How do you get Play-Doh out of a kid’s hair? Why do experienced hand sewers bother looking closely at both the thread and the needle? How do you make your candles last longer? Why is your hair unmanageable no matter how often you wash it? Why is it easier to peel Easter eggs than the ones for egg salad? Why does black pepper make you sneeze?
I know all those! (If you don’t, and go the trouble of commenting or messaging me, I’ll share.) And if you ask me, they’re all pretty weird, or not immediately intuitively obvious. Although the candle one took me a while. And I didn’t get the answers from clicking a link. Instead, I listened to stuff–professors, observation, deducing things from other similar facts–and experimentation. (I left out the don’t-do-this-at-home-just-because-I-did ones. For example, the answer to “What happens if you put your old Christmas wreath on the fire?” is “A period of hopefully very brief excitement, depending on what flammable objects are within a foot or so of the fireplace.”)
What’s weird to me is that people put so little effort into getting answers, much less figuring their own out. What’s even weirder is the fact that I’m not charging a quarter each for the answers to the above questions. Pony up!