By Dr. James L. Snyder
Our country, so it seems, runs on choice. The more choices we have, the better we like it.
Most people in America pride themselves on the ability to make their own choices.
“Freedom of Choice,” is the cry you hear all around our country these days. Yet, most people do not have the freedom of choice they think they have. Somebody is influencing the choices they make without them realizing they are being influenced.
That is called marketing.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were watching television the other night, trying to watch a favorite TV program. Finally, from an end of the room that was not my end, came an exasperated sigh. I tried to ignore it, but you know how that works.
The exasperation seemed to accelerate and I knew that if I did not acknowledge it in some way, well, I think you know what would happen.
It was in the middle of some commercial and so I turned to her and said, “What’s got you in such pain tonight?” At her age, I did not know if there was some medical something or other going on.
“These commercials,” she moaned so painfully, “I can’t stand all these commercials!”
I must say I was a little bummed out about all the commercials myself. I think every one-hour program is devoted to 30 minutes of commercials. Most of those commercials are for things I have no interest in. Or, they are played at a very inappropriate time.
It never fails if we are having our supper while watching television, there are 79 commercials for diarrhea. Is this really a major problem in our country today?
Getting back to my wife and the commercials, I responded as cheerfully as I could, “Well, my dear, somebody has to pay for our television viewing privilege.”
I felt a cold yet burning stare in my direction.
“Can’t they run those lousy commercials when I’m not watching TV?”
Someone once said that silence is Golden and right then I cultivated a golden moment.
Commercials are a way in which manufacturing companies influence our choices. Every product has 100 different companies marketing the same product. I have not done too much research, but the little I have done, I discovered that the same company makes the same product but sells it under a different name.
There are two categories of products. There is the name brand, which costs a fortune. Then there is the generic brand, which is only a fraction of what the name brand costs. It is the same product, made by the same company, but advertised by difference venues.
This is where choice comes in.
Some people choose the high-priced product because they think it is better.
Some of us choose the low-price product because we know better.
One night as we were watching television, it seemed most of the commercials had to do with dieting of some kind. There were high calorie diets, low-carb diets and diet that really did not make sense to me.
Watching all of those dieting commercials, I did not see one that I would diet for.
Every one of those commercials assumes everybody watching wants to lose 297 pounds. Personally, I have lost the same 5 pounds for over 30 years. I lose 5 pounds and then by golly, three weeks later I find those 5 pounds, at least they recognize me.
Anybody can lose weight; it is all a matter of choice. Personally, I do not plan to lose any sleep because I cannot lose weight. I think it is going to be rather funny if when we go to heaven everybody is fat. Wouldn’t that be something? We plummet ourselves almost to death trying to lose weight and get to heaven and everybody is fat.
It all boils down to choice. It all boils down to the fact that most people think they are making their own choices.
Those of us who are on the husband side of the marital equation know we do not make our own choices. Our choices are made for us by our “better half.” Why do you think we get married?
My wife is a great one for fruit and vegetables. Every day of our life is fruit and vegetables. To mix things up a little bit one day it will be vegetables and fruit.
She prepares the fruit and then invites me to make a choice. I am sure she did not see all of this in any television commercial; at least I hope she hasn’t. She is proud of the display of fruit choices she has for me.
She is also concerned about my diet. Much more than I am. I do not think my diet is so important that both of us should be concerned about it. If she chooses to be concerned about my diet, that is her choice.
I choose to be a little more cavalier when it comes to dieting.
Actually, and do not tell her I said this, but my fruit of choice is the humble Apple fritter. It has everything my heart desires and a few things my body desires, too.
I like with David said, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalms 37:4 KJV).
It is all a matter of choice, that is, making the right choice.