It may stun some of you to know that I am unable to make much of a living from the proceeds of writing fiction. While it does keep me in cigars, peanut butter, beer, and fancy underwear, I still need to do other things to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. That’s why I turn to a kind of prostitution: advertising copywriting. Oh yes, boys and girls, working in advertising is no different than being a two-dollar whore. It might even be worse, because, while the two-dollar whore sells her body and keeps her spirit and mind intact, those of us who labor creatively in advertising keep our bodies intact but we sell something more important: our imaginations.
While I haven’t yet been able to leave the fold of writing for hire (but I do it now only on a very selective basis, for special clients, kind of like a high-priced call girl), I have been able to escape the folds of Catholicism. I may burn in Hell for eternity, but I just can’t get down on my knees for a man with such an absurd looking chapeau and such outdated (not to mention hypocritical!) ideas on people like us.
What follows are a couple of ads that combine my lapsed Catholicism and my writing to sell products. These commercials run only late at night, but perhaps one night, you’ll see one…over the shoulder of a close friend.
A couple fumble in darkness underneath a blanket. Squeaking of bedsprings and other sounds. A man sits up and switches on a light. He fumbles under the covers and brings out a tattered remnant of latex.
He: Hey! This thing has holes in it!
A woman, nude except for a blanket covering her breast-high and a nun’s headress, sits up next to him. She smiles.
Nun: I know, honey. They’re Catholic Condoms.
Nun: Catholic Condoms. They’re the only condoms endorsed by the Vatican. And...blessed by the pope!
Nun: No butts, honey. That’s frowned upon by the church.
He: I mean, b-u-t.
Nun: Catholic Condoms. Haven’t you heard the slogan? “There but for the grace of God go you.”
Nun: Yours isn’t the only prick in these things. (Giggles)
Announcer Voice Over: Catholic Condoms. Leave it to God to decide.
Joan of Arc Charcoal Briquettes
Darkness. We hear a soft sound, something liquid being squirted from a bottle.
Man: Damn these faggots!
Another sound of liquid being squirted.
Man: Damn these faggots to hell!
Lights up to reveal a suburban house husband, in a "kiss the cook" apron, standing over a grill with lighter fluid. His wife comes up to him, bag in hand.
Woman: Honey! Don’t you know those tired old faggots will never cooperate!
Man looks down despairingly into grill.
Man: I know; they never have.
Woman: Well, we both know that’s not quite the truth.
Woman: I’ve got something here that’ll put those faggots to shame!
Man: As if they had any!
Woman: Try these...
Man: What are they?
Woman: They’re Joan of Arc Charcoal Briquettes!
Man: Ah, sweetie pie, you’re a saint.
Woman: Saints and sinners alike love Joan of Arc!
Woman takes faggots from grill, pours briquettes in. Man squirts and lights. Flames come up.
Man: Burn, baby, burn!
Woman (giggling): Throw those steaks on!
Man does so.
Announcer: Joan of Arc Charcoal Briquettes, brought to you by the woman who burned her steaks!
Woman (looking up to locate the voice of the announcer): Shouldn’t that be burned at the stake?
Announcer (giggling); Right. Joan of Arc Charcoal Briquettes...for perfectly well-done flesh...every time!