My stepdaughter got married recently. It was a lovely wedding, outside in the woods. It was touching and meaningful and made me happy to be around to see it. It is her story and I didn't write it, but it was a highlight in my life.
Before the wedding, I went shopping and looked at some dresses. I tried one on I liked at Ann Taylor, I think it was. Maybe Banana Republic. I didn't buy it because it didn't look good on me. I did some searching online when I got home, and saw the same dress. For fun, I clicked on it to see what it was supposed to look like. On the model, it looked like a flowy watercolor silk, perfect for a wedding. On me, it looked like a stiff tent that a four year old had colored on, with my two skinny legs sticking out from the bottom like tent poles.
(I hadn't realized at that moment that with the weight loss I'd experienced up to then that everything would give me that tent pole look - guess you have to see yourself in photos to believe it.)
Anyway, I started seeing that dress everywhere. Every page I went to online, there it was. It was even on my own blog. It followed me around like a duckling that had imprinted on me. Every advertisement was not only for Ann Taylor, but for that particular dress.
It was trying to trick me into buying it. I didn't give in. If it didn't look good on me once, it wasn't going to just because I now saw it on Fark.
Of course, I know how clever these advertisers are so I wasn't surprised. This has happened before. I'd clicked on a copier that I was researching buying for work, and suddenly all my webpages were filled with ugly grey copiers. And, I wasn't even at work! At least a dress is more interesting than a copier, even the same dress, over and over. Although honestly, you'd think they could have at least come up with matching shoes or something. Zappos should get on that. Who knows, maybe I'd have changed my mind.
Now, something sneaky is happening. Something I can't explain.
As you know, I have a simple dog. A dog afraid of the ceiling, who spent her life in a corner of my bedroom where it was safe, who only tremulously came out to eat; one in whom it was a great act of courage to walk on the floors. Her poor little life had been confined to about 3 square foot, and she was destined to live out her days in that small space unless I did something to help her.
One day I went to Petsmart and I saw a Thundershirt.
Now, I had seen the advertisements for this product in magazines before - in fact, a friend who knew about my nervous dog brought me an ad from a flight magazine to show me, and we both laughed. I knew wearing a shirt, even one a little too tight, would not help a dog overcome her fears. (It did wonders for me in my 20s, however).
Unfortunately, my dog got spookier and spookier and we were at the point where we had to carry her to her food dish.
I had been left with no choice - I had decided to buy her a sentinel dog, one who could tell her what was safe and what to really be afraid of. We figured another dog who ran across the floor would teach her that the floor won't swallow her; a dog who ran to eat dinner would get her competitive spirits flowing again and make her want to eat first; and a dog who slept in the comfy bed in the living room while we watched TV would prove that she didn't have to be afraid of alien attack and might also make her want to sleep in that comfy bed. The sentinel dog would alert the other dog about real dangers - for example, the mailman, or the sound of my son's car.
We were going to be a two dog household again. And this dog, this sentinel dog, had to be a puppy, so that she would not frighten the spooky dog.
In preparing for the sentinel dog, I went to Petsmart. We needed new bedding, puppy food, a hundred zillion toys, puppy classes, and a pretty collar. And, in one of the aisles, that's where it was, the Thundershirt - in person.
I stood there, in spending mode, and held the Thundershirt in my hand, and pondered. "Could this work?" My dog wasn't only afraid of thunder, she was afraid of the sky. She wasn't only afraid of loud noises, she was afraid of the air. She was afraid of being a dog, and if I bought that shirt, she might possibly become afraid of the shirt. But, what if it worked? What if I put this Thundershirt on her and she magically became a happy, healthy, normal dog again?
But, I was already committed to getting the sentinal dog, in fact, she was arriving the next day. So I reluctantly put the Thundershirt down. I figured it was $40.00 saved and if the new puppy didn't work to calm her, then I would always be able to buy one.
I'm glad to say, my sentinal dog idea worked like a charm. Cherry, my generalized anxiety dog, is back to being a happy-go-lucky pet who can sleep in any room of the house (that Trista is in) without fear, and Trista, our sentinal pup, is joyfully teething on my coffee table as expected.
That, my friends, is not the end of the story, for now I see Thundershirt ads everywhere. My dog has given up her fears, but the Thundershirt Company? Oh no, they STILL want me to buy a shirt. I see the ad announcing "Best product for dog anxiety!" on my blog, on my facebook page, on all the websearches I do. Eerily, this happens without my ever having done a google search for the product, or clicking on an ad for a Thundershirt. This happened because I merely touched one, in the Petsmart.
Is Thundershirt stalking me? How? Do they have cameras in Petsmart? You pick up a Thundershirt and a device immediately captures the IPs of our phones as we stand there, and begin sending targeted ads? Is that how it works? Is it because I put the word "dog" and "fear" in a blog post? Are they that sophisticated now?
Creepy. No wonder Cherry hid.
Maybe it's some weird form of cross-marketing. After all, most of my websearches have to do with medical anomolies such as dwarves or conjoined twins, most of the rest have to do with cancer and one or two are to find out what Josh Holloway is up to these days. Based on those searches, I began to wonder, is this something that would be good for a cancer patient? We all are intimately familiar with off-label uses for medication - perhaps this Thundershirt could be used off-label in some way too. I mean, if it's good for a dog it has to be good for a human as well, am I right? Lots of woman are afraid of chemo - would putting on this shirt soothe those fears? What about post-mastectomy - they wrap us up pretty tight. Could this be a substitute, maybe help prevent seromas?
Me? I'm not afraid of thunder, but I am afraid of spiders. Could this Thundershirt help me with that? Could I put on the Thundershirt before I go clean my baseboards?
(Y'all, I was just kidding! You know me, I don't clean the baseboards, don't worry!)
Do you know they have thundershirts for cats now? Would you try to put one of those things on your cat? I know I wouldn't try it with mine, unless I wanted shredded arms and a few days in the hospital trying to control infections.
The main question is: why don't ads with Josh Holloway follow me around the internet? Why is it pet products and copy machines and never super handsome men? And, what IS he up to these days?