So have you seen the commercial for this new Dyson vacuum cleaner--the first vacuum that doesn't lose suction? For months now, I've been thinking it was the "first vacuum that didn't USE suction" and was quite intrigued by this new vacuum for the 21st century. I wanted one and wanted to know how it worked. And then I saw one at the store the other day and realized my mistake. Not so impressive anymore. In fact, I don't even believe the claim.

Anyway, this reminded me of another commercial misunderstanding from my childhood. Somewhere in Southern California there was a Cal Worthington car dealership and Cal always had these commercials featuring him and some exotic animal in the car lot excitedly yapping about their great deals. The "theme song" behind all this contained the words, "pussy cow, pussy cow," or so I thought. I happen to know I wasn't the only one who heard it as such. Of course this always baffled me. Even if the animal at Cal's side had been a cow, it would still have been strange, but it was all the more baffling that the animal was always an elephant, or a monkey, or a lion, or some other zoo escapee that didn't belong on a car lot. This made no sense whatsoever. I learned years later that the song was actually, "go see cal, go see cal." That makes so much more sense--though not as funny.

Anybody out there have similar stories to share?


Blogger Evan Jones  said...

Back in my PR days I attended a cocktail party celebrating the opening of a new branch of an escrow company. They were very successful, and the crowd that showed up seemed equally successful, dressed in a style somewhere between Sunday best and going to court. They were mostly investors, attorneys and real estate people. Not very many painters and poets, as it turned out, yet, the evening was surprisingly interesting. Everyone seemed eager to visit, people were shaking hands and laughing. Ten years later, and many miles away, in the little town Amie and I come from, I was having one of those what-did-you-do-before-this conversations with a customer. She turned out to be the lady I spent most of the evening talking to that night. We were still drawn to each other all those years later under completely different circumstances.

But the story you wanted to hear involved a tall lawyerly looking gentleman at the party in a very expensive suit who had had at least as many drinks too many as I had. Opinions on alcohol were quite different then. None of us thought twice about driving home. Anyway, he was very friendly and very serious all at once. He talked to me at length in sweeping gestures, and occasional conspiratorial asides, about something called Arizona Mission Insurance. I thought it had something to do with escrow, or homeowner's policies. I didn't have a clue why it occupied such an important place in his life. It was probably the blond lady I just talked about who saved me from him, though, in fact, I enjoyed everything he had to say. I just didn't understand it.

A few years later I was on the way to an office outside my normal territory. I got my directions mixed up a bit. Eventually I ended up on a freeway that seemed vaguely familiar. I found my turnoff, and just as I hit the bottom of the off ramp, everything made complete sense. Errors and Omissions Insurance.

Monday, February 21, 2005  

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