Walk a Mile
Off the Wall, September 24,

I’ve always enjoyed watching good advertisements and often criticize all that I see. In my mind I usually will state, “Now that’s a good one,” or, “What was the advertiser trying to convey? He sure missed the mark on this one.”

In newspapers, I’ll usually go the ads before reading the stories, unless the article content is on the front page of the tabloid. Then I’ll read the message content first. After all, without that, one wouldn’t be attracted to reading the inside columns of noteworthy interest.

Once inside, I skim over the obits to see if I know anyone whom has passed. If I see a long-time friend mentioned, I will know that his or her notice will dictate my future endeavors.

In a sense, both the funeral notices and the story content of those whom have moved on is adverting. When Mogratts Funeral Home let the Doggett Daily Times know that Lawrence Lidown, 88, had died and would be laid to rest at the Myers Mortuary, that would tell the people, in part, what to expect.

I’m one of those folks who likes to shop local. If I’m looking for refrigeration services, office supplies, an insurance agency, a place to buy a washer and dryer, a place to get tanning and skin care, retirement planning specialists, dance instructions, and even information concerning carry concealed weapons, all businesses have advertisements in the Latrobe Bulletin.

I have found that living in our societal culture, we are a people who have trouble living simply. There is that urge to keep up with the Jones, as the old saying goes. When buying something, people have a tendency to purchase the same thing or most likely, a commodity more costly as a way of showing to neighbors one can keep with lifestyles just as easily.

QVC, HSN and Amazon have all capitalized on making it very easy for consumers to fall victim to buying products possibly one really doesn’t need. Television and the Internet play a large part into tempting the weak make decisions into buying items they can’t afford. One may read, “On an item that costs $300, one need only make 30 payments of $10 weekly.” The real culprit is the sight of $10 weekly. “Wow, what a deal!” one might say. But the buyer is still going to be out $300 on an item that most the time may not be deemed necessarily needed.

All I have to do is look around what is sitting on my desk or table and that little buggie buzzes in my noggin stating, “Pee Vee, why did you buy that? Did you really need it? Most the time I’ll say “yes,” because I don’t believe in spending frivolously my hard earned money for things I really don’t need.

Let’s think back to the advertising that one viewed over the small screen television back in the 50’s and 60’s, for example. What comes to mind of this 72 year-old geezer is the memory of Gillette razors, helping every man look his best, Ajax Cleaner, and Ovaltine, the hot chocolate that warmed our bellies in the winter time.

Radio advertising also became a big thing. There is only one song that seems to have resonated in my brain cells. The words that quickly come to mind are “Emerson 22880. I think they were connected to Roth Rug Cleaners, if I’m not mistaken.

The tobacco industries really took advantage of both radio and television. Who can forget the dancing cigarettes of Lucky Strike, the Marlboro Man or the slogan that accompanied Camel smokes, “I’d walk a mile for a Camel.

I know that feeling, because in my late teens, I used to smoke the same cigarette my father smoked, Camel Cigarettes. In all practicality, accessibility was at my fingers. But I got hooked on them to the point that I liked the taste so much, I could easily walk a mile for my next drag.

Here’s the part that gets me. Why do people find it easy to walk one to two miles for a tobacco stick, but not only go to Church, but partake of the Eucharist, Christ’s body and blood. How much more worth it is that?

Ask yourself, what’s more important? Walking a mile for a lottery ticket, cigarettes, or kneeling down and worshipping the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Savior of the world? The latter will be far more rewarding, take it from me.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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