Friday, April 13, 2018

Subliminal Messages At The Pizza Place

Our world today is awash in subliminal messages. Are you with me so far? I’m not going to sugarcoat it; I know it’s happening. I want to get into it for a little while, first by throwing out this interesting observation: Why is it so hard to get confirmation from the teenagers and young 20s who work there, at the pizza place? Unless...they are subliminally directed not to expose the works! You're seriously taking your life into your own hands when you go out.

I’ve been thinking along these lines basically forever. Really ever since a friend called me behind the barn to the alley once and showed me his Vance Packard collection, including, of course, The Hidden Persuaders. (About advertising and psychology, how goods are marketed and sold. And the crooked shysters who do it.) Essentially each of us exists as pawns in life in a huge game of “Buy my product or die, you filthy animal! Ve have zo many vays of dealing wid chu.'” Yes, I'd love to wave it off and forget it. Friends, I can’t keep going. I’m old. Let me live out my days and die in peace. I give up! Oh, OK, here's my money, where’s your crappy pizza?

Still, it'd be really nice, if I'm headed for my grave, to get my hands around the scrawny necks of every one of these sleazebags and ring ‘em; who's with me? But I already told you I’m old and helpless; I can't keep up. I’m walking around totally normal, let’s say, when suddenly they start in with the subliminal messages, and it’s like I just had a heart attack. I’m stumbling repeatedly, zigzagging like a pinball, buying whatever it is the Hidden Persuaders are selling. Bastards with the fat cat in his office are watching me on hidden monitors, as well as the kids working for them. It's their job to load the data files, aim the beam, and watch me dance this evil little jig.

There’s a pizza place we go to once in a while. I actually hadn’t been there for probably six months. But I always check the price in the window for the buffet, and, believe it or not, it always goes up. Now, about this pizza place, I'm about 99 percent sure they’ve got a subliminal system up and running. Purring like a cat. Whether it’s actually powerful enough to beam messages from the restaurant all the way to the road adjacent, I wouldn’t swear to that. But that has to be the next step. If they’re doing all the beaming and subliminal manipulation that I claim, they can seriously do anything. If I learned anything in the 1920s and the push toward full rural electrification, it has to be Never doubt the possibilities.

And this post isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned it. I post it and they take it down. But they haven't been able to stop me talking, and when I tell folks my suspicions they about lose their appetite. One dude did unleash an upheaval. Were it not for the subliminal messages aimed at us, he would’ve loosened a complete upsurge. But as it is, somehow — miraculously — folks recover and are again famished and can’t wait to get through the door.

So we’ve established the first step, the reach of the beam. The beam reaches midway from where most cars are parked and the front door. We were there today and I was literally salivating; I was about a quart low before I got to the door. And what did the messages say? They were along the lines of: “Our pizza is mouthwatering good. You simply must come through our doors. You are nearing the heaven of refreshment. Our pizza buffet is heaven on earth. This is the afterlife. Be a sunbeam for God.”

So far so good, we’re through the door. Naturally the price has increased a dollar or two since a few months ago, giving them an extra 75 cents or so per customer with which to tweak the subliminal messages. The random price increase is also meant to confuse the issue. Is this pizza more popular or less? Must maintain status among my peers. The rest of the apparatus is upgraded, new software's running, etc., making it hard to pin 'em down, like apples and oranges.

Let's say now you’ve paid, it’s time to eat. This is the tricky part. Because they don’t want you to eat so much that you cut into their profits. But they do want you to eat enough that you realize you’ve eaten, just not a bite more. (There’s other variables, like if police officers are present. I’m sure they flip most of the apparatus off; the times I’ve been there at the same time as our public heroes, I’ve eaten my fill and have had to be rolled out.)

But here’s how it generally happens. You see the buffet spread out. The messages start in: “It all looks so good, but I must restrain myself so that I’m not rude. Many other customers will be coming in and it wouldn’t be fair to deny them a hot selection.” Some pizza’s older than the other. Naturally I want the freshest and hottest, and always take some, but I suddenly feel “sympathetic” for the older pizza and have to take a couple slices. Why is that? Your sympathetic nervous system. It's always conjuring up sympathetic messages, also telling you not to skip the drink machine, observing how lonely it is, etc. And to choose water, being "good for you." Well, guess what? Water's a cheap hooker, but pizza has to be your wife, worth many rubies. I'm there for the pizza! And the powers that be know that!

So let's say you've now eaten your first slice. Around the beginning of the second slice, they’re already on you with messages about “eating right,” “weight loss,” “looking good for that special someone,” “only thinking you were hungry when you came in,” and so on. See how they’ve changed their tune? You’ve barely eaten a thing and they’re zapping you with “I’m full” or “I shouldn’t eat so much” riffs. It's hard to win. Just writing-down the phrases I feel stuffed!

Maybe I'll get them on the dessert! I try my best to save room for dessert. I approach the desserts, I start to get four or five different things, when suddenly I feel I should concentrate on “Quality vs. Quantity,” and brag later about having had a responsible dessert. Where'd that message come from? I don't think like that. I've been a dessert hog since I was three. Maybe two or younger.

Be that as it may, it's desserts at the pizza place I want now. But where has the time gone? It seems that time's run out. In my mind I'm hearing subliminal messages like crazy. That it’s time to hit the door, because, as everybody knows, “Traffic will intensify in the next five minutes. There were six wrecks within 50 feet of this restaurant a week ago today, all with fatalities.” Could that be true?

I'm thinking it over, then my mood is brightened at the door. As I'm leaving they’re telling me, “You need to hurry back. This was the most delicious and satisfying meal of your life. You rate this quality dining experience a solid 10. You must tell your friends — any that you judge worthy of such a pleasant time out. They'll thank you for it. You're such a good person!"

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