"Frigging ads" said the 5-year-old, snuggled next to me on the sofa, as we watched our favourite sports channel.
I remonstrated. "Don't use that word, or you'll get both of us into big trouble,"
"Why not, Michael? You do," he replied with all the logic of a babe and suckling.
Of course, he had heard me use the same expletive, more than once, in reaction to advertising breaks on television and his sponge-like brain had stored it away for future and timely use.
So I put my case. The sheer inanity of television advertising is so mind numbing and frequently offensive that people are now actively looking for alternative ways to view their favourite programmes.
Mind you, I had thought that if I paid directly for my viewing, the quantity of the ads would be reduced, but no, I'm still disappointed that I have to watch dogs and worse, cats, slobbering over some horse meat in turgid gravy as I eat my own meal.
I am equally appalled by adverts for women's intimate hygiene and sanitary requirements. These appear on my screen in the midst of a gripping drama series. It's entrapment of the worse kind and it just wouldn't go down well at Downton Abbey.
And why would I be remotely interested in a washing powder that seems to improve in leaps and bounds every time they rewrite the advert? Wasn't it any good when I first heard that jingle: "Persil washes whiter"?
The last time I measured the advertising content of a free-to-air programme, it seemed that after eight minutes of viewing, we have to endure four minutes of advertising.
In a newspaper, I have the option of quickly turning over the page full of ads. If I want the best deal of the day, my nearest supermarket will no doubt point it out to me, and then I can make my choice.
I must admit, however, that I do have a weakness for reading classified ads. If I am in a strange country, I always turn to these to get the flavour of the place. You can capture the local culture in these classifieds.
We had travelled up into the White Mountains of Arizona to escape the oppressive heat on the Tucson plain. I read the following in a local giveaway. I was not disappointed.
The classifieds reflect their open-minded humour and the rural and hard-living demeanour of these people living at 3000 metres above the Arizona plains.
I share a selection with you:
Free Yorkshire terrier, eight years old. Hateful little dog. Bites.
Free Puppies: half cocker spaniel, half neighbour's sneaky dog.
Cows, never bred and one gay bull!
Wedding dress for sale: worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie.
Joining nudist colony: must sell clothes washer and dryer.
Nordic Track Skis for sale: $300, hardly used. Call Tubby.
Found, dirty white dog. Looks like a rat. Been on the run for a while. There better be a reward.
Free german shepherd dog. Speaks German!
So now I am going to give my personal award for the best invention of the decade.
It goes to My Sky. I can now record all those programmes I want to watch and, when viewing them, I can fast forward as we come to those ubiquitous and irritating adverts.
Surely we are not far off coming up with an invention that simply does away with all ads, and then perhaps I can just pay for the programmes I click on to and watch. That would really be consumers' heaven.
Even my young TV-viewing friend has noticed the improvement in my TV-watching demeanour and language and thinks: "It's like cool, man".
- © Fairfax NZ News