COMMERCIALIZED: An Essay on Expansion in 400 Words


eye eye eye eye

My wise grandmother blessed me with many with indelible memories. Spending the night with her and “Pa” at their home was my first experience of how the world could expand.


            My grandparents were from Croatia. Grandpa laid bricks and played bass in a five-man orchestra. Grandma was a gourmet—she cooked with guidance from recipes written in old ink on yellowed papers. Heirloom recipes were scratched into her memory.


            Getting to their house by dinnertime, I helped set the table. I watched grandpa enjoy the food before him. I spoke and was listened to as we progressed to quiet enjoyment of the inevitable dessert. Then for me there was a bath, pajamas, a story grandma told of her own experience as a child in the “old country,” a feather pillow, and the hope for a dream to be discussed at breakfast. Grandma knew that dreams had meanings. She interpreted them.


            One morning at grandma’s house, I’d remembered a dark dream. Maybe it was about a witch—something I was as scared of in theory as I was scared of dogs in real life. Maybe a witch and a ferocious dog? Perhaps I’d cried in my sleep. Salt-like, crust lingered in the four corners of my eyes.


            In the sunny kitchen, I described my feelings while grandma cooked breakfast. At a point, she looked into my eyes. She said, “You have a commercial.”


            “A commercial?”


            She handed me a tissue and told me to wipe my eyes. Then she explained: “You vatch a story on T-Wee and then adwertisement comes on. The commercial. When you get something in your eye, it’s a commercial. You vipe it out, get rid of it.”


            Commercials are everywhere now—on TV, in print, on billboards, on screens, embedded into consumables, on telephones, in the mail—and they’re always in your eyes. No one bothers to wipe them out. Marketing, advertising, getting the words and pictures out are here to stay.


            The world expanded…so fast.


            So, I take a tissue to my eyes when a bit of salt and cellular debris builds into them. I take the issue to my mind and close it down. I take a walk in a place where the only things that bombard my senses are trees, sky, clouds, birds, flowers, puddles, rocks and. . . and I think about what kind of energy presented the opportunity to appreciate natural marketing.

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