A sense of proportion.

I can’t help but think my clients sponsored the
streamers on EDSA. You’ve seen them, right? The ones that say (to paraphrase)
stop politicking and move on with the economy. We are definitely moving on with
the economy here, on the day of the much-awaited SONA, as we leaf through girly
glossies while waiting for our client to arrive so we can present storyboards on
a non-working holiday.

Advertising, in my
experience, is an industry in denial. When Gringo and his boys made Makati their
own personal shooting gallery, most everyone stayed home, sensibly. I was one of
them, until I saw a chargen notice flashing on Channel 4 (which had been taken
over by that curly-haired woman with the bandanna): All Basic/FCB employees,
please report to the following areas. East Division, Fr. Reuter’s office,
followed by an address. (This was 1989. Pagers were elitist, and there were only
8 cellphones in the country, and Cory’s number was 1.) So there we were, seated
on cement blocks enclosing potted plants, discussing storyboards. Of course
people would still need to make informed shampoo brand choices after the bullets
had stopped whacking into

There is a chapter in the
Hitchhiker series devoted to a sense of proportion. A henpecked scientist
invents the Total Perspective Vortex to piss off his wife, who is forever
nagging him about having no sense of proportion. The Total Perspective Vortex
shows its victim the entire unimaginable infinity of the universe with a very
tiny marker that says “You Are Here” which points to a microscopic dot on a
microscopic dot.

Not only is advertising
a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, it’s quite an annoying dot at that. I
have reverted to infancy and only watch commercials nowadays, which makes me
unfit to stand in for the opinions of a “regular viewer,” so I have taken to
watching my mom. She complains about how many commercials there are on GMA 7,
and while waiting for the hawkers’ parade to pass, reads the paper. Once, she
said, “Sana wala na lang masyadong commercial.” I had to remind her that if that
ever came to pass, Luc would have no money for college.