September 08, 2006

Be Careful Where You Get Your Hair Cut

If you were watching ESPN late Thursday night in the approximate time range of 12:30 a.m., you may have come across a commercial (or more appropriately, a public service announcement) warning high school athletes about the perils of steroid use.

And regardless of how closely you were paying attention to this commercial, the operative word you most likely took away from the ad was dangerous. As in, Don't do steroids. They're DANGEROUS.

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George ends up dating the young woman from Elaine's office? The woman wasn't remotely interested in George until Elaine told her that George was a bad seed. And then, all of a sudden, she became obsessed with him (leading to a transcendent moment in which George meets the woman in a public park while wearing a high school style letter jacket).

Anyhow, the point is this: Does whoever designed this public service announcement really think that the word "dangerous" is a deterrent to high school kids? High school kids love danger. They think they're invincible, which is why they drive their cars inappropriately fast (sometimes in the wrong lane), try out their kung fu techniques on mailboxes, shoot out windows with slingshots, etc.

So if the public service announcement makers of the world are naive enough to think that the old "Steroids are dangerous, so don't do them!" bit is going to do anything other than add another layer of intrigue to an already alluring temptation for high schoolers, they've got their head in the wrong place (read: up their asses).

If you're attempting to really point out what's bad about steroids for high school kids, you've got to know your audience. What are kids (and all of us, for that matter) really worried about? Sure, health is a factor, but more than anything, most of us on Planet Superficial care about our looks. So there's very little question it would be more effective to say, "Go ahead and do steroids if you want, but just know that your balls are going to shrink and you'll get horrible acne."

Certainly saying that would be better than offering up the notion of danger as the primary deterrent. Because if the aforementioned episode of Seinfeld points out anything, it's that danger (assuming you survive) is pretty much completely radical.
  • And now, a very sincere OCC thank you to Detroit Lions' assistant coach Joe Cullen for introducing a new and wonderful concept into the lexicon: The Naked DUI. Yes, that's right -- Cullen has been busted two times in the past fortnight for getting all drunk and sloppy and putting on his birthday suit (one time, he took it up a notch by going for late-night, nude drunken eats at a Wendy's). The upshot of this: Now, when a friend (heaven forbid) or acquaintance gets a DUI, instead of saying, "Damn, that sucks," you can say, "Damn, that sucks. Was he (she) naked?" Really adds a lot to the conversation, doesn't it?
  • Does Whitney Houston feel jealous, jilted or just downright confused that there's a Kevin Costner movie coming out called The Guardian and she hasn't been asked to be in it?
  • After Wednesday's post about the new Keith Hernandez-spawned euphemism "A little out in the wilderness," an associate reminded me of another wonderful phrase to describe illicit behavior that the world needs to know about. A few weeks ago, while on vacation in Atlanta and sitting in said associate's backyard, a well-endowed SUV (meaning decked out with paint job and rims) came rolling down the driveway (the driveway is a shared one with the apartment building next door). A gentleman stepped out of the vehicle and began looking around as though he feared a sniper's bullet might puncture his gullet at any moment. At this juncture, my friend went down to speak to the man about his vehicle. A brief conversation ensued in which the man said his car was for sale, divulged the multiple thousands of dollars he had put into customizing the machine (upwards of $25K) and then, out of the blue, said, "I'm gonna go get my hair cut," at which point he disappeared into the back of the apartment building, not to be seen again. It was our estimation that this man had no intention of getting his hair cut, and it was also our estimation that this immediately needed to be introduced as a phrase essentially meaning, "Don't ask me what I'm doing; you don't want to know." So there you have it -- I'm gonna go get my hair cut. Use it wisely.


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