I’ve officially hit rock bottom: at 11:38am on Thursday, August 18, 2005 I’m sitting at home watching Dawson’s Creek (the beauty pageant episode, where Joey sings “On My Own” from Les Miserables), reading the new Sports Illustrated, eating Tim Hortons and talking to Justin Hui about whether “f*******” is an actual word. All this, and I still have a major research paper to write–which as far as I know is due in two weeks’ time.
Anyway. So during Dawson’s Creek (and in the name of full disclosure this is actually the second episode I’ve watched this morning…and yes, I can guarantee my adolescent obsession with Katie Holmes pre-Scientology days explains why girls used to giggle when I walked past them in the school cafeteria) I saw the single greatest commercial I’ve ever seen, period. If you’ve ever watched TBS’ daytime programming, you’ll know that the vast majority of the advertisements feature adult education programs. Dropped out of high school to take care of your second illegitimate child? Become a software designer! Home at 11am watching Dawson’s Creek re-runs? Become a massage therapist! The station’s marketing people certainly know their target audience. This morning, however, they raised the bar to new, unattainable heights. The commercial starts with a man standing outside an old, dilapidated shack plucking a parking ticket from his windshield and shaking his fist at the sky as a voiceover intones, “This person doesn’t have his master’s degree.” Cut to the next scene: a smiling, well-dressed gentleman standing in front of a mansion, kissing his trophy wife goodbye and then climbing into an utter pig of an SUV, giving the wink and the gun and then riding off into the sunset. The same voiceover: “This person does have his master’s degree! Wouldn’t you rather be this guy?” I’m not kidding–this is actually how the commercial goes. The school–get this–is called the American Intercontinental University. Can you imagine telling people you have an MA from a place like that? It certainly sounds cooler than the University of Toronto.
In case this commercial convinced you to pursue graduate studies, please consider what I’m doing at this moment: I’m sitting in my parents’ living room watching my second Dawson’s Creek episode of the morning and reading Sports Illustrated‘s latest “All-25-and-Under” baseball team. (For the record, I’m willing to wager that none of these players has a master’s degree.) I do have a trophy girlfriend; the mansion and the SUV, however, are conspicuously absent from my life. I am, however, on the verge of attaining my goal of hitting 60% of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2005 home schedule. If you consider this a viable way of spending your year, then by all means pursue a graduate degree. If, however, you’re after the million dollar mansion and your very own voiceover, I’d suggest an alternative career route.