Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Generally Speaking

People say things without thinking. To be sure, this generalization applies to me, too. I once had a teacher who enjoyed saying, “All generalizations are false, including this one.” Still, as a whole, we say things that we often realize in retrospect, were foolish.

Of course you and I experience this less often than some people. You probably think I’m headed for the politicians, don’t you? Surprisingly, I’m not. Fish in a barrel, and all that. No, I’m getting at the inane things announcers say in commercials. Specifically I am addressing one in particular.

I’ve been hearing a mattress company ad on television lately that raises my blood pressure and sets my teeth on edge. Oh sure, lots of ads do that, and I couldn’t tell you the name of this advertiser even if I thought it advisable. There are dozens of them, and they all sound alike. Mattress Giant, Mattress Firm, Mattress Source, Mattress Direct, Mattresses R Us… I think you could play MadLibs and insert any noun after the word ‘mattress’, and you’d find there’s a company somewhere operating under that name. Like Mattress Canary. I’m just saying.

Here’s the irksome line: Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep.

Yeah, it sounds innocuous enough. We all like to sleep soundly. Heck, I’ve gotten to the point where I could safely say I cherish a good night’s sleep. It makes the world a better place in which to wake up. A good night’s sleep refreshes and rejuvenates us. On nights when we’re disturbed by storms, nightmares, sickness, phone calls or whatever, we really feel reduced the next morning. It’s harder to get going, harder to focus at work (or play) and our senses generally feel dulled at whatever we attempt.

But ‘nothing’ is better than a good night’s sleep? Really? Not a cure for cancer? Not selling the house you’ve already moved out of? Not finding the siblings from whom you were separated as children? Not getting pregnant when you thought you couldn’t? Not holding your newborn child/grandchild/niece/nephew/neighbor? Not winning the $389 jillion Power Ball jackpot? Not reading a headline about WORLD PEACE? –universal disarmament, clean water for everyone, renewable energy breakthroughs, a return to sanity and civil discourse? Really?

I know, I’m getting carried away, and it’s just a mattress commercial, but I can’t get past the unconditional, unqualified, categorical, absolute and unrestricted notion that NOTHING is better than a good night’s sleep. It sounds like one of those things you wish you’d never said.

A good rant, like a picture, may be worth a thousand words, but a generalization, like Yogi Berra’s famous observation about the verbal agreement, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And you can take that to the bank.


  1. Hi Leah! Adverts frequently put my teeth on edge, and I'm with you all the way. Personal favourites are meaningless/irrefutable marketing words like NATURAL and FRESH. Dammit, my teeth are clenched already. And I've not forgotten our WWF game! Just been crazy busy these past few days. See you there soon! Indigo

  2. I don't suppose a good night's sleep is going to provide world peace. But just maybe, maybe there's a chance if people weren't so tired all the time.