Friday, January 23, 2009

From toll-free to stone cold

You've known this for a long time and I appreciate the generosity you've shown in light of it: I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I'm not even close to being the sharpest spoon, for that matter. And if I were a fork, I'd be the one with the four tines pointing in as many different directions as the limits and physics of metallurgy allow.

The epiphany (admittedly a small one) came last night (actually late afternoon) on a cable station, watching a repeat of something from somewhere else when up pops (almost literally) a commercial from the Walt Disney Resorts folks about your next birthday and giving yourself a special present (with a balloon with mouse-shaped ears). Fun is serious business and the Disney Folks work it like no one any of us know.

Fretter that I am, I wonder how this Free Admission to Any Disney Resort on Your Birthday campaign will impact that time-honored Super Bowl exercise of hyperbole, at the end of The Game, when the winning team's most valued player is asked by The Announcer With The Big Boy Voice, "Wwelkj (insert guy's name here), now that you've won Super Bowl Whatever Number This One Is, what are you gonna do next?" And the wiener, and all of us across this great land and perhaps around the globe, shout in gleeful unison, "I'm going to Disney World!" The success of excess-it's what makes Team USA #1. Just ask us.

This birthday promotional campaign means I no longer have to learn an end zone dance, or how to spike a football, or point heavenward with a pigskin while moving my lips seemingly in prayer (what kind of a Divinity, with all the troubles we have on this orb, would worry about foul shots (yes, Jason K, I mean you; and btw, if they make self-aggrandizement and promotion an Olympic event, we'll see you at the Medals podium. Please.) or touchdowns and open-field tackles or hitting into a Series-ending double play? I just need to stay alive until the end of April. Kaa-ching!

Oh yeah, and I also need to travel to one of the Disney resorts to avail myself of the free admission (plus other stuff that's hard to read as denoted by the asterisk on the commercial for the shortest amount of time legally allowed). And, from what I can understand between flashes of Shiny, Happy People having the largest fun with their clothes on you can possibly have, I have to call for a reservation or something at One Four Oh Seven W DISNEY.

That was when I realized 'hey, that's not a toll-free number!' Nope-and when you're selling Happiness on a Stick at the rate that these guys are, why would you need one? We are all perfectly happy to pay long distance fees to listen to It's A Small World while on hold for however long it takes to get us booked as we're already hooked (yeah, that song is really annoying and you'll be hearing it in your head for the rest of today, at least). So great is our need, the Disney Denizens could reduce the staff to one operator, who spoke NO KNOWN EARTH LANGUAGE and we'd stay on the line, not only because "your call is important" but because the act itself is practically sacramental.

While at Rutgers, I took a three credit course within Mass Comm on The World According to Walt Disney (I know what you're thinking: 'You Rutgers men! Always on the cutting edge of intellectual curiosity and whimsical invention!' That's what you were thinking, right? No jokes like, 'what a Mickey Mouse course that must've been') where we discussed Walt's pioneering animation efforts to include reducing cartoon figures' hands to three digits and a thumb (get up tomorrow morning and check out the 'toons. The guy was a genius!) because those hands looked more real than reality itself. How Zen is that?

We also examined the implications of why Donald was naked from the waist down and down from the waist up--he ain't got no trousers, but why, especially when Mickey does? Okay, they're a two button model, but pants is pants (are?). How about how Goofy and Pluto were both dogs, but Goofy talked, had clothes and walked upright (GAWRSH!) and poor Pluto got screwed by his agent. I think we had a seminar on Minnie and Daisy and who all of those nephews belonged to ('uncle donald indeed!' I got eyes-you think I didn't see the resemblance? And both Daisy and Minnie not only had dresses, always, but underwear as well) and how all of that came to be. No wonder I don't know anything useful-there's no room left in my brain.

Disney resorts folks have NEVER had toll-free numbers. If we're willing (even eager) to buy the paint and the brush and the fence, Tom Sawyer, why the heck would you offer it to us for nothing? And what exactly is Pluto doing to Mickey's leg? Holy Mousekedoer and oh yeah, Happy Birthday! Bring a football when you go-we can have a pick-up game.
-bill kenny

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