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Pants of the Damned

It's official, ladies and gentlemen. I am a sell-out. There was a day not too long ago when, thanks to my bedrock principles and iron-clad integrity, I could call down the thunder of self-righteousness and smite the armies of hypocrisy. Those days are now lost forever, fading so rapidly they are but an ephemeral wisp of memory, much like the last decent episode of ER.

I look in the mirror and all I see is ugliness. Granted, I was not an attractive man to begin with, but my many physical imperfections are now overshadowed by a gulf of spiritual wretchedness -- greed, ambition and an unquenchable thirst for power.

I purchased my destiny on layaway, making payments on the price of my soul. And a new pair of Dockers.

Whereas most men lose their principles when they lose their pants, my integrity comes crashing down when I put them on. This would not be such a problem if I didn't spend so much time watching television. You see, this moral crisis has its roots in a decade-old ad campaign, easily the most annoying, obnoxious, loathsome string of commercials to ever stain the airwaves.

Even now, people still shudder at the memory. For those of you who have repressed, the spots were nothing but crotch shots of Dockers doing their pantly duties in all sorts of mundane settings. While the images of various buttock and genital regions assaulted our eyes, voice-overs that had nothing to do with pants tortured our ears.

The scripts were devoted entirely to the vast accumulation of wealth, wine, women and powerboats that those clad in Dockers had amassed. There were coy little quips about the stock market, tips for throwing garden parties and complaints about the availability of decent German mechanics. The message of the ads was simple: wear these pants, get a Mercedes. No doubt about it -- here was an evil ad campaign. It celebrated everything that was wrong about America, namely that there are a whole bunch of people richer than me.

Those commercials were the source of my continued pathological hatred of yuppies and the pants they wear. It's gotten to the point where the trousers themselves don't matter -- the color khaki alone is enough to send me into paroxysms of anti-Lexus rage.

That ad was the turning point in my life, setting me on the path to righteousness: no SUVs, no food with an accent mark in its name and above all, no Dockers. I still planned on being rich, but would skip mere yuppie status and jump straight to billionaire. I would be wealthy enough to ax 150 marketing vice-presidents with a single round of pink slips.

While some may debate the merits of basing one's morality on TV commercials, it was working out pretty well. After all, where else am I going to turn for advice and guidance? Political leaders? Athletes? Actors? Ted Nugent? Nope. It might as well be those guys who do "Pizza Talk" for Round Table. They seem like good people.

Prior to a couple weeks ago, my quest for a TV-inspired, morally pure and Dockers-free life was on the right track. I picked jobs where jeans or shorts were considered plenty business-like. Lord knows there's no dress code here at TeeVee World Headquarters. Between Boychuk's camouflage face paint and fatigues and Snell's leopard-print G-strings, casual Fridays are taken to a dangerous extreme.

Then the Big O came pounding on the front door. The only problem? Opportunity was wearing Dockers. Needless to say, I am now a part of the khaki-colored Army of the Damned. It's only a matter of time before I'm sipping merlot and wondering where the brie is. The scary part was how quickly I caved. Years of television-induced morality down the toilet faster than you can say, "Have a Coke and a smile." Could I possibly be as shallow as one of those brain-dead freaks that have convinced me to never, ever drink Mountain Dew again? Yes, apparently so.

There is still hope, however. I haven't given up on my anti-Madison Ave. philosophy just yet. I continue to erect new pillars of integrity to replace the crumbling ones. For example, I will never purchase a cell phone, thanks entirely to Cingular.

Despite what Cingular says, Michelangelo, Shakespeare and Mozart all did fairly well in the self-expression business without the benefit of wireless communication. Not to mention the waves of nausea that overcome me whenever I see the spot that features Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Free at last" speech. Yes, Dr. King had a dream, but I doubt it involved 1000 weekend minutes for only $29.95. And if Cingular's cell phones are going to increase my self-expression by having a fat guy jump up and dance every time I need to make a call, I'll just stick with pay phones, thank you very much.

There are other personal boycotts as well. The day I buy a Mazda is the day that "zoom-zoom" kid gets run over by an RX-7 and Pyrrhic victory though it may be, I'd rather charge my friends maximum price for a collect call than give David Arquette the satisfaction.

Just so you don't think it's all doom and gloom for my advertising philosophy, there are quite a few positive messages that have been incorporated into my thinking. After all, without commercials I'd never have known the real meaning of "true," or that Disneyland makes you a good parent. Now that I know all a woman needs to be happy is furniture polish and a decent PMS cure, my dating life should pick right up.

Unfortunately, it may be too little, too late. My once unshakable faith in the evil of khaki has been broken. What's to keep some cell phone serpent from tempting me with the forbidden fruit of free voice mail? I obviously don't have the willpower to do this myself. Where can I turn for the inner strength to resist the demons and keep what remains of my integrity? Who can save me from myself?

Hey, there we go, right there on channel 73. The Powerpuff Girls. I have found my role models.


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