IMPORTANT: If you start reading this post and think it’s about baseball and then want to stop reading because you don’t care about baseball, please don’t, because it isn’t about baseball at all. In fact, if you’re not a baseball fan, you can skip to the fourth paragraph below.
I don’t listen to much radio because I’m not in my car very often and, really, why would you listen to a radio anywhere else.
However, each year on the afternoon of the Major League Baseball trade deadline (August 1 this year), I stay tuned to sports radio WFAN in New York so I know the instant my beloved New York Mets make the deal that will put them into the playoffs or, as is much more frequently the case, a horrible trade like Scott Kazmir (107 wins lifetime and still pitching) for Victor Zambrano, a pitcher who, for all I know, may have tripped and hurt himself putting on a uniform.
I participate in this annual ritual despite my growing suspicion that WFAN is getting its news from MLBtraderumors.com, a site I’m constantly refreshing throughout that day until the 4pm deadline. Seriously, a headline will come up on the website like “Rangers to Acquire Carlos Beltran” and, a minute or so later, Mike Francesca, the nasal-voiced afternoon host at WFAN will say, “And now we’re hearing that the Yankees have traded Carlos Beltran…”
But this post isn’t about the trading deadline, or the Mets, or even about baseball. It’s about surviving in an emergency.
You see, one of the side benefits of spending an afternoon listening to sports radio–especially before “drive time” starts–is that you get to hear some of the worst commercials ever to hit the radio airwaves. These are spots targeted to the regular listeners of sports radio. In case you can’t tell how pathetic these people are by the stupidity of their opinions and the fact that they have nothing better to do than stay on hold for an hour in order to share them, all you have to know is the type of companies who are going after their business.
In just one commercial break, in between a call from Omar in Flushing who was very excited about the Beltran trade and a caller from Bay Ridge who inexplicably wanted to talk about golf –on trade deadline day!–, there were commercials for: paying off the IRS; getting out of debt; curing prostate problems; getting rich with real estate; suing for any injury you might have incurred; getting a car loan even if you have a bad credit rating; repairing your bad credit rating; cut-rate health insurance; cut-rate vision insurance; and the company I want to talk about right now.
That would be The Wise Company®, purveyors of fine emergency food.
I should begin by telling you that this is not the same company that makes Wise Potato Chips, although those, too, would be good to have in an emergency, as long as you also had emergency onion dip.
No, we’re not talking about chips here. According to the commercial, we’re talking about ready-made gourmet meals with a shelf life of 25 years that you prepare by adding water. That’s something that can really come in handy as long as your emergency isn’t a drought. The commercial offered a free sample if you called the toll-free number. “Don’t waste your next emergency on an empty stomach,” concluded the announcer. “Call now.”
Okay, a couple of things here. First, “next emergency?” How many emergencies do talk radio listeners have? Second, and I could be taking this the wrong way, but are they implying that I should be looking forward to an emergency just so I can indulge in their delicious dehydrated and freeze-dried cuisine? “Gosh darn it, Mildred. That nuclear blast provided the perfect opportunity for some fine dining on pouches of water-enriched cheesy beef, and we wasted it!”
There was no way I was going to give these people my name so I could get a free sample, but I did look up their TV commercial online. A smiling blonde spokeswoman (why is she smiling–it’s an emergency, damn it!) tells us that we can keep enough of these luscious meals to feed a family of six for a year in the space taken up by a washer/dryer, which I suppose is fine, unless you spill some of the food on your clothes.
“What good is emergency food,” asks the blonde, “if you and your family don’t love the taste?”
Something tells me that if things ever get dire enough for me to dip into the supply of emergency food I keep in my laundry room, the fact that it’s not up to Food Network standards will be the least of my problems.
Nevertheless, I went to the company’s website, where I found that, for only $89.99, I can acquire a 52-serving assortment of dinners, breakfasts and drinks, including: Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini; Savory Stroganoff; Tomato Basil Soup with Pasta; Southwest Beans and Rice; Brown Sugar and Maple Multi-Grain; Apple Cinnamon Cereal; Orange Delight Drink Mix; and Whey Milk Alternative. And it all comes in a tub that’s sure to come in handy for some emergency barfing.
I have two questions about this package:
- If we are holed up in the close quarters of my tornado cellar or my 1950’s era fallout shelter, do I really want my family to be eating beans?
- Why only breakfasts and dinners? What’s the point of surviving a disaster if I can’t have lunch?
Keeping in mind that WFAN’s audience is primarily in the New York metro area, it’s difficult to guess what sort of months-long emergency its listeners are imagining when they purchase large quantities of pouched food. On the other hand, a six month supply is $419.99, and how else can you eat in New York for only $2.33 a day?
Maybe when they talk about survival, they just mean getting by in New York on a normal income.
See you soon.