In this First World of ours, there are a few things which we know will never change. Milk will never go on sale. The PlayStation will always have better graphics but Nintendo will still kick its butt. And internet ads will always be a mildly annoying presence in our lives.
We know that to a degree, advertising is a necessary evil. People have got to get paid somehow. They need to get their product out there. Heck, it’s how most actors manage to survive in this world.
But that doesn’t stop us from sighing in exasperation when our Youtube videos are rudely interrupted by the same Cheerios ad for the twentieth time in ten minutes. Even the mildly funny ones lose their potency fairly quickly. Yes, it can be safely said that most people dislike internet ads.
My friend Errol abhors them.
Not just abhors them. You might as well be pulling his nails out.
The other day we were watching the latest episode of Doctor Who. There was the Doctor, spouting some whitty quip that would more than likely be quoted for years to come, when suddenly, BOOM, a Yellow Pages ad pops up.
Based on his reaction, this was the greatest betrayal in Errol’s life.
There was moaning.
There was wailing.
There was gnashing of teeth.
Keep in mind that this is Errol. The happiest man on earth.
If he doesn’t get to eat eggs, he might be a bit sad but then he’ll see a Totoro and be happy again.
If a concert goes terribly? He smiles and shrugs it off.
If some personal tragedy happens, he somehow finds a bright side and talks about how important it is to move on in life.
If a Youtube ad comes on, it’s the end of the world.
If it has no option to “Skip” it, God help you.
Once I had decided to try and monetize our Youtube videos (you know, because I needed an extra 5 cents just in case).
Of course those of you with a channel of any sort know the deal with monetizing. It enables advertisements.
About three hours later I got a google chat from Errol.
Errol: There are ads! Why are there ads?!
Me: I thought we could monetize…
Errol: No! We can’t! Take them down!
Me: But they don’t actually play a video…it’s just a pop-up you can exit…
Errol: NO ADS! GET THEM DOWN NOW!
It remains to date the only time he’s ever been sincerely upset with me.
I’m not sure what internet ads did to Errol. I assume they hurt his children somehow because “crazy protective parent” is about the only explanation for the Shakespearean rage that occurs every time they are on.
Or perhaps it’s simply that the repetitive, lengthy sequences have stripped away all patience and joy from the happiest brain on earth. That’s a feat.
Whatever the reason, watching television online has become a new sort of experience with me. I play a game now. It’s called “Can I guess when the ad will pop up and brace myself before Mount Errol erupts?”
The answer is almost always: No.