Flattland - "Ants In Your Pants!"

Trav Flatt, .NET's resident loon, opines on ants, cats, tourism in New Mexico, advertising, and the newly-named stadium. Is he diverse or what?

With a defiant chomp to an unnecessarily personal body part, a cheerful toilet-dwelling carpenter ant announced to me the impending arrival of summer, along with summer’s attendant biting and stinging creatures. “Yelg!”, I replied, and aggressively crushed the toilet ant into oblivion. I don’t have anything against summer per se (Latin for “Except for the Heat”), I just find myself responding poorly to intimate encounters with biting and stinging creatures.

Clawing creatures are not exempt from Poor Reaction Syndrome. Stinky the Ambiguously Named Kitten has reached that stage of a kitten’s life where every waking moment is spent biting, clawing, or biting while clawing anything that moves and a few things that don’t just in case.

Normally, this isn’t a huge problem as the Cat Attack Quotient (CAQ) is dispersed among potential targets. Between two other cats, three children, and one wife, there’s a pretty good chance that any given attack won’t be directed at ME. However, the kids are presently out of town for the summer and the wife is out of town for at least the week, causing the CAQ to increase exponentially. It doesn’t create the best of moods to be awakened at four-thirty in the morning with a cat biting your face.

Nor is it, I would think, anyone’s idea of a good time to step out of the shower only to have a kitten affix itself, lamprey-like, to one’s naked leg.

In any event, Approaching Summer indicates the height of Tourist Season in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I work. While I’m quite accustomed to meandering around in the Santa Fe Plaza during lunchtime and gawking at tourists, lately they’ve been directly invading my office.

It seems the restrooms at the Visitor’s Information Center have gone out of order, and apparently the only information most visitors WANT at said center is, “Where’s the can?” Now, the VIC is directly attached to the Tourism Department’s Administrative Building, and my office is directly across from the connecting door. Roughly every five minutes, then, I find myself interrupted by various linguistic versions of, “Where is bathroom?” Usually my tourist encounters involve people asking for a museum or the St. Francis Cathedral, but it appears that the Lamy Building Bathroom is a far more popular international destination.

Winners: No fewer than eleven Japanese Persons clustered into my office to alertly listen to my detailed description of how to find the restrooms. I drew much wisdom from this cross-cultural exposure. Specifically, I felt really tall. Also, I forgot to warn them to keep an eye out for ants.

Anyway, I digress. Judging by the overwhelming response to my request for interview questions, there is at least one person eager to read the interview with a Zealous Niner Fan. As noted, my wife is out of town. I was unable to procure an emergency backup Niner Fan. I did manage to contact my friend Steve, a Redskins fan, but he had to go to work and all I managed to get out of him was the fact that he thought Dan Snyder was on some sort of mood-altering substance.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of Seahawk-related news to discuss. Recently, naming rights to Seahawks Stadium were finally sold to Qwest Communications. I don’t personally think this is any big deal. So long as corporate advertising in football doesn’t reach the degree of, for example, NASCAR (I recently saw a NASCAR driver with ‘VIAGRA’ plastered across the front of his shirt), I won’t be overly concerned. Sports and Advertising have been linked in my mind since way back when an Albuquerque Duke would win free hot dogs for smacking a homer over the Oscar Meyer billboard.

Shaun Alexander said something along the lines of, ‘The quest for a championship begins at Qwest Field’. A lot of fans seemed to think this was pretty cool, though I have to say it struck me as sounding rather hokey, like a company by-line some advertising exec told him to spout for the cameras. I don’t mean that in a Shaun-critical way, it’s just that it made me grimace a bit like when hit in the gut with a painful pun.

It could have been far, far worse, I guess. “It’s time to make Preparations for victory on Preparation-H Field!”, for example.

All-in-all, advertising in football has kept itself away from the actual game more than some other sports, so I’m not inclined to make a big thing out of it. Where it’s really starting to get intrusive is in the television presentation. “And now it’s time for the Pepsi Place-Kick Highlight of the Game!”, “This meaningless statistic brought to you by Right Guard!”, and so forth. THAT is getting mildly irritating, considering that the advertisers already have their regularly scheduled commercial times.

Dear Advertising Persons: Fine. Name the stadium. Fine, have your commercials between possessions. The rest of the time: Leave us the hell alone. Your sponsorship of the Red Zone Report will not cause us to immediately dash out to buy your product. It will cause us to think your advertising executive is spending too much time with a Buick-sized bong.

In conclusion: Beware of Toilet Ants.

Fire off your scintillating insights, inquiries, and Sponsorship Deals (This column brought to you by Toyota!) to trav@spinn.net

Trav Flatt


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