Saturday, January 5, 2008

Don't Mess with Christmas Trees

The other day I was driving by the local garden center and their message board outside was advertising a sale on 'life like' Christmas trees. I was a bit boggled by this, because for the last 40 years of my life, we had always known the plastic conifers as 'artificial' Christmas trees. Clearly this was the work of the word smythes in the advertising industry, but the change makes no sense to me. The silver or blue Christmas trees are definitely not 'life like' - 'artificial', 'ugly as sin', 'tacky', or "white trash" are certainly more accurate adjectives. Why not 'faux' or 'imitation' Christmas tress? Apparently someone thought this would help sell more 'non-real' Christmas trees. I can just see the commercial now. The husband is reading the paper, looks up and says "Hey honey! They have these new things called 'life like' Christmas tress now. Maybe we should pass on the 'real' Christmas tree this year and get one of those." The wife comes over, sits on the arm rest of the chair and looks at the add. She responds "Oooh, that sounds neat! No needles to clean up. No fire hazard. Let's do it!" Did you get goose bumps, too?

Perhaps I'm being a bit hasty in blaming the jingle meisters. It could be that there is a group of people that find the word 'artificial' to be derogatory to their heritage; much like school mascots changing from the Warriors to the Golden Eagles in order to keep the American Indians happy. Goof balls, couldn't they see that it was not derogatory but instead a compliment. Nobody names their team the 'butt heads' because of it instills lofty competitive and victorious pride in ones team. No - I'm going to have to blame this one on the suits. The odds are that some Marketing executive had enough market research - accompanied by colored pie charts and graphs - to make the case that a 'life like' Christmas tree reasonably meritted a 10 percent price hike.

Last time I checked, they are not doing research with computers in 'life like' intelligence. Ironically, medical science must have found 'life like' to be derogatory, because they went right from 'artificial' limbs to prosthetics. A little game of liguistic leap frog in the evolution of medical science. Do we now need to buy 'life like' food coloring to make Christmas cookies? Perhaps there will be a 'peach' color. Try these caucasion ginger bread men. Yuck! A bad Crayola flashback to childhood.

Ironically, my wife and I had already decided that we were going to retire our seven year old "artifical" tree. It has served us well and next fall it will be replaced by one of its own - 'artificial' and green. Now that's Christmas spirit!

My Zimbio

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