GateHouse — So I’m here at the office, checking e-mail as I generally do for the first five to six hours of my work day, and I’m being assailed by one of those pop-up ads on my Yahoo account, and it won’t go away.
Actually, it’s what our web guy here calls a “rollover ad,” meaning if you position your cursor over it it expands to reveal a postcard-sized window of video – which, in this case, is the not entirely displeasing but still aggressively calculated visage of an attractive but sandwich-deprived model frolicking suggestively.
This is not the biggest problem I’ll come across today, to be sure, and I’m sure there are plenty of orphans in Darfur who are on the edge of their seat wondering where I’m going with my morally indignant rant against a hot woman slithering around my e-mail.
But here’s the thing: It’s an ad for Hardee’s.
Hardee’s is a fast-food joint of what’s apparently a still-lingering appeal; I’m not much for fast food in any instance – stupid Eric Schlosser, and I liked those egg and cheese croissan’wiches, too – but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten more than three Hardee’s meals in my life. I blame this on my brother, who, when he was very small and fully exploiting that fantastic age where you could write off entire platefuls of meals by whining about some tiny, inconsequential problem, decided that he could never eat at Hardee’s again because, and I’m quoting here, “Their burgers stick to their buns.” It is quite literally for this reason alone that I have not eaten at Hardee’s in 22 years. Adhesive meat.
Anyway, for all I know, Hardee’s may have changed everything and transformed itself into the Morton’s Steakhouse of fast food nation, but that’s beside the point, which remains this shapely blonde shimmying, rather incongruously, over the last two e-mails I got from my grandmother (thanks to some sort of glitch with my e-mail program, the ad is clamped on Permanent Rollover, meaning that I’ve got burger-stripper stuck on my desktop here at work, and apparently will until I force quit or the IT droids come and fire me).
When I am done watching the peepshow, I’m supposed to click on a link here to something called spicybuffalo.com, which is not a type of buffalo I ever knew existed, but then again I never read things at the zoo. Dancing Blonde greets me at spicybuffalo.com – and why wouldn’t a dancing blonde greet you at spicybuffalo.com? – while a large and serious-looking font implores me to TURN UP THE VOLUME. Yes! I am going to ROCK OUT with my VIRTUAL STRANGER/GIRLFRIEND at 9:00 IN THE MORNING while BEING SOLD LOATHSOME BURGERS. Awesome. Headphones on.
OK, so at spicybuffalo.com there is a picture of a sandwich, spread out vertically to emphasize its myriad components – lettuce, tomato, onions, and the like. Dancing Blonde is over at the side, shoulders thrust back, in a constant state of swivelly motion that I have seen from exactly zero real-life females in my lifetime, but I don’t go to clubs much. She is preaching, very enthusiastically, about the countless array of features packed into this elephantine sandwich. If you click on, say, the mucilaginous blob that ostensibly represents ranch dressing, the girl talks. “Bigger is always better,” Dancing Blonde, for instance, will say about the size of the patty, before instructing me to leave the tomatoes on, but take something else off, which totally scores points with me, because I have long equated soggy mass-produced condiments with sex.
There is no point here, other than that advertising – particularly jiggle-themed advertising employed to sell wafer-thin slabs of anti-meat – is weird and creepy and omnipresent and unavoidable, even when you’re settling in at 9 a.m. to hear from your grandmother. And that this sandwich looks like the opposite of sexy, and I sort of want a Whopper.