They got me.
I like to consider myself a cynical, realistic consumer whose eyes cannot be covered with wool. I mute all TV commercials, unless I want to mock them. I smugly denounce any marketing ploy that promises a utopian-like quality of life if I would only buy their overpackaged product.
A few days ago, I pulled yet another person into the recurring conversation between Spike and I. It's about the Wish Book. You remember the Wish Book, don't you? It came out every year, about November. As an undersized child until age 22, I'm fairly certain that the Wish Book weighed more than I did.
And it was beautiful. Full of dreams. Unlimited possibilities. Glossy pages, with a crisp new smell. Brilliant colours. Perfect descriptions. My sister and I would lay on our stomachs on the floor, poring together over each page, feet kicking dreamily in the air.
(Or we engaged in a hostile tug-of-war, threatening to tear it to shreds - that's actually more likely.)
My letters to Santa were entirely based on the Wish Book.
"Dear Santa: Hello. How are you? I am fine. For Christmas, I would like page 27, item 37B8, with accessory B, royal blue. Please say hello to Mrs. Claus."
I had a primary list, and then followed it up with a list of everything else in the Wish Book, just in case I won the Santa lottery. It never occurred to me to look outside of the Wish Book - why would I?
This is a recurring conversation between Spike and I. I mentioned it once, and he said, "What's a Wish Book?" I thought perhaps he was having another aneurism. But he truly didn't know. I tried to describe it to him, explained the magic of looking through this catalogue of joy, and finally asked, exasperated - "How is it possible that you didn't have the Wish Book?"
Spike, who grew up in the centre of the universe, looked back, just as exasperated and said, "Patti - we didn't need the catalogue - we had the STORE!"
So, since I cannot dispute the logic of his statement, I prefer to pull other, unsuspecting people into this recurring conversation, following the "majority rules" model of recurring conversations. This week, it came up again, and I referenced another friend who grew up with the Wish Book, and Spike rolled his eyes at the small-town girl he married.
But somehow, somewhere, the marketing powers-that-be must have overheard. And they realized they had found the key to my cynical, realistic, mocking, smug consumer heart. Because today, I noticed a pleasant glow emanating from within the pile of flyers. Birds sang, and the sun rose, as I investigated the source. I gasped as the glossy cover page was revealed - it's The Dream Book, from Home Depot.
They got me.
(P.S. As I write this, I must tell you that the sunrise is particularly stunning today. Were Spike awake, I'm certain he would explain it in one word - "pollution". What a romantic.)