How I Spent my Summer

October 2005 - Remember those essays you used to write at the start of the school year? The teacher always wanted to know how you spent your summer. Like it was any of his/her business! But, write them we did - only to end up wishing that we would have had as much fun as the kid sitting in the back of the classroom. Well, my school days are long over, but let me go ahead anyway and tell you how I spent my summer.

First, I forced myself to finish that book I talked about in my last column. I started reading it in June and finally finished it around the end of August. The book was only about 300 pages and, with a title of Muletrain to Maggody, you know it wasn't exactly bogged down with five-syllable words. I have no excuse. At any rate, I quickly read two more books and am now onto a third.

The other thing I did this summer was watch a lot of commercials. Had you been with me, you might say, "Jen watched a lot of sports." And, to be fair, I did. But, the sports are only there to provide a convenient platform for advertising. It's not about winning and losing; it's about selling stuff.

Take, for instance, your typical telecast of Phillies baseball. Before the first pitch, one of the announcers gives his Chrysler Jeep Keys to the Game. He's supposed to be telling you what the Phils have to do to win. In reality, he's telling you to buy American.

After that, you can find out the batting order, courtesy of the Bud Light Starting Lineup. Then, one lucky fan gets picked for the McDonald's Homerun Payoff. If a Phillie hits one out during the game, the lucky fan wins $1,000. Just think how many Big Macs that would buy (taking into account taxes, but not including fries and/or drinks, probably somewhere between 200 and 250)! Also, during home games, which are played at Citizens Bank Park, some other lucky fans will be designated as the Citizens Bank 7. Their reward for showing some spirit? They get their picture on TV and each gets a tote bag full of stuff from, who else? Citizens Bank.

Of course, baseball is not the only sport that's sold out. Plenty of companies are willing to show football the money. One of them is Allstate Insurance. If a player makes a good catch, the reception might be worthy of being named the Allstate Good Hands Play of the Day. And, watch for shots from the Visa Skycam. It's a camera strung high over the field to give you a unique overview of the action. Why it's sponsored by Visa, I can't say, but I guess you have to give them credit.

Maybe that's what this column needs. A sponsor. MasterCard Mensa Musings? Or, Mensa Musings brought to you by Motorola? How about it? Any takers?