02 February 2012

What's In a Name?

The Large Print. What does that mean, exactly? Underneath this blogs title is a quote by Tom Waits, one of my (if not my number 1) all time favorite performance artists. "The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away." I like this quote a lot. In fact, it is also printed on my checks and on the back of my business cards. Why do I find it so profound?

The quote comes from a song called "Step Right Up" off of Waits's album Small Change, released in 1976. I've included a video of a live performance from BBC TV in 1979, but for those who don't speak "Waits" (his growl can be hard to discern for beginners), the lyrics are included also. Take a few moments to view the performance or to read the lyrics, and then the explanation will reconvene.



Step Right Up
by Tom Waits, 1976
Step right up, step right up, step right up,
Every one's a winner, bargains galore
That's right, you too can be the proud owner
Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
You need perfume? we got perfume, how 'bout an engagement ring?
Something for the little lady, something for the little lady,
Something for the little lady, hmm
Three for a dollar
We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
And a smoke-damaged furniture, you can drive it away today
Act now, act now, and receive as our gift, our gift to you
They come in all colors, one size fits all
No muss, no fuss, no spills, you're tired of kitchen drudgery
Everything must go, going out of business, going out of business
Going out of business sale
Fifty percent off original retail price, skip the middle man
Don't settle for less
How do we do it? how do we do it? volume, volume, turn up the volume
Now you've heard it advertised, don't hesitate
Don't be caught with your drawers down,
Don't be caught with your drawers down
You can step right up, step right up

That's right, it fillets, it chops, it dices, slices,
Never stops, lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn and it picks up the kids from school
It gets rid of unwanted facial hair, it gets rid of embarrassing age spots,
It delivers a pizza, and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that's been at large
under the chaise lounge for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master,
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
And it's only a dollar, step right up, it's only a dollar, step right up

'Cause it forges your signature
If not completely satisfied, mail back unused portion of product
For complete refund of price of purchase
Step right up
Please allow thirty days for delivery, don't be fooled by cheap imitations
You can live in it, live in it, laugh in it, love in it
Swim in it, sleep in it,
Live in it, swim in it, laugh in it, love in it
Removes embarrassing stains from contour sheets, that's right
And it entertains visiting relatives, it turns a sandwich into a banquet
Tired of being the life of the party?
Change your shorts, change your life, change your life
Change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife,
And it walks your dog, and it doubles on sax
Doubles on sax, you can jump back Jack, see you later alligator
See you later alligator
And it steals your car
It gets rid of your gambling debts, it quits smoking
It's a friend, and it's a companion,
And it's the only product you will ever need
Follow these easy assembly instructions it never needs ironing
Well it takes weights off hips, bust, thighs, chin, midriff,
Gives you dandruff, and it finds you a job, it is a job
And it strips the phone company free take ten for five exchange,
And it gives you denture breath
And you know it's a friend, and it's a companion
And it gets rid of your traveler's checks
It's new, it's improved, it's old-fashioned
Well it takes care of business, never needs winding,
Never needs winding, never needs winding
Gets rid of blackheads, the heartbreak of psoriasis,
Christ, you don't know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy,
C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon
'Cause it's effective, it's defective, it creates household odors,
It disinfects, it sanitizes for your protection
It gives you an erection, it wins the election
Why put up with painful corns any longer?
It's a redeemable coupon, no obligation, no salesman will visit your home
We got a jackpot, jackpot, jackpot, prizes, prizes, prizes, all work guaranteed
How do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it
We need your business, we're going out of business
We'll give you the business
Get on the business end of our going-out-of-business sale
Receive our free brochure, free brochure
Read the easy-to-follow assembly instructions, batteries not included
Send before midnight tomorrow, terms available,
Step right up, step right up, step right up
You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away
Step right up, you can step right up, you can step right up
C'mon step right up
(Get away from me kid, you bother me...)
Step right up, step right up, step right up, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon
Step right up, you can step right up, c'mon and step right up,
C'mon and step right up


With this song Waits proves himself a master of tongue-in-cheek satire while beautifully illustrating scientific principles of energy. You see, in this universe, there are only two energies in existence. They are love, and fear.
Love energy is of course, any positive aspect of our life experience. Goodness, health, confidence, affirmation. God.
When John Lennon said "all you need is love", he was absolutely right, because love energy encompasses all things positive.
Fear energy is all the negative. Evil, sickness, poverty, despair, degradation.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Fear does not come from God, for fear paves the way for destruction. Fear leads people to do evil things. Fear crushes and closes off one's spirit; and we can only exist as a slave to fear or as a servant of love.

So Step Right Up! Where does this fit in? Invoking the demeanor of an advertiser, carnival barker, or a fast-talking pitch man, Tom Waits jovially shows how easy it is to invite fear into our lives. Advertisements are designed to program one's mind to accept a product or idea, and advertising, for the most part, plays off of the energy of fear. Think of how most ads are worded; "Hurry, while supplies last!" "Sale ends soon!" "One day only!" "Don't let this deal pass you by!"
All of these phrases are designed to make us afraid of missing out, and the fear of missing out leads to other fears. Failure, for example. "If I don't do this now I will fail. If I fail I will not be successful." As I mentioned in the inaugural post the fear of lacking in success is a powerful fear.

I think Tom was implying all of this when he wrote "Step Right Up". He does such a great job of showing how utterly ridiculous it is to buy into these marketing strategies, yet we find ourselves succumbing to this methodology everyday. Every limited time offer we see keeps us from even questioning our need of a specific item. We just know that if we do need it, we gotta act now! We can decide if we actually need it later, after we get it and take it home and realize all sales are final.

All of this is why I called this site The Large Print. The large print giveth. I want this site to focus on positivity. On giving, and not taking. I want this site to be about ridding life of things that impede success- things that keep me from enjoying my time. I have so many things that were purchased under the "Hurry up and buy now" mentality that I enjoyed for a day and then relegated to the bottom of a shelf or a drawer somewhere. Then I later felt badly about using up financial energy on whatever the item, after the small print came into play to take away my joy, stating that I had no need for such a thing.

The large print giveth... Let's leave it at that.

P.W.

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