The Loh Life

Advertising Age

Sandra Tsing Loh gets some exercise while thinking about advertisements... and knee surgery.

Perhaps it’s the cold front that greets me each morning in my kitchen, causing me to think: “This is new—it’s California, and my house has WEATHER in it.”  Perhaps it’s the Real Simple and O magazines I threw into a recent bag of groceries—  Just the act of BUYING January ISSUES of women’s MAGAZINES makes me feel more organized, in the same way that sprinkling Restoration Hardware CATALOGUES around the house make me feel as though I have decorated.

Well—whatever it is, I’m feeling a fresh, brisk new year’s tail wind pushing me towards “almost getting it kind of together,” the tagline of the hit HBO series GIRLS I just saw flying by on a bus ad.  I saw it while walking 3.2 miles home from the Volvo repair shop, which my iPhone told me would take exactly one hour and three minutes.  I decided to go for it because my car was being serviced, so I couldn’t DRIVE to the gym!  See?  “Almost getting it kind of together!”  I was listening to Zydeco music on Pandora, but there were so many ads—  Which I would happily PAY to get rid of, but in lieu of throwing bills at the sky (?), this would involve inputting my iTunes (?) PASSWORD, which I cannot remember.  “Almost getting it kind of... Not.”

It made me think about how much time we spend either processing or avoiding advertising, and my girlfriend Deb—whom I had now phoned—agreed.  She was also power-walking, so we both plugged in our iPhone headsets to have an invisible (?) Skype.

“I don’t know why,” she says, “but thanks to my OWN purchasing choices recently, I’ve been streamed ads for Sensa, the Debby Boone lifestyle lift, and perhaps weirdest of all, Cedars-Sinai knee surgery—”

“Arthoscopic!” I exclaim.  “Yes!  At Cedars-Sinai!  It’s minimally invasive!”

“Exactly,” she says.  “As opposed to the neck or the eyes or the back—  I’ve heard so many ads for this amazing procedure, it makes me want to throw my knee out just so I can have it!”

“Oh my God,” I murmur.  “I just stepped over an empty bag of a chip flavor I’ve never heard of called Doritos JACKED—  Doritos JACKED?”

“You think that’s bad,” she replies.  “On the radio the other day, I heard this ad.  This guy is going, like, ‘I’m waiting for you.  I’m hot, I’m ready, I’m wholesome.’  HE turned out to be a new vegetarian sandwich called—brace yourself—a ‘Beefless Slider.’  Ew!”

Anyway, 40 minutes later, we had chatted and, because we were “Almost getting it kind of together,” we had also EXERCISED.  Which is not all bad.  And though a bit sore from the unusual amount of walking, the good thing is, I know where to get arthoscopic knee surgery.  It’s minimally invasive!


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