People don’t remember that twenty years ago the first minivans had two bench seats. And just one sliding door. And no TV screens. Worse yet, the speed limits were slower. Road trips, coast-to-coast family vacations took longer. It was quite miserable having to spend time with your family.
Only then came bucket seats. And CD players. And space. And younger brothers. Soon, everyone sat in their own seat.
But there were occasionally short moments, usually right after a sack lunch at a rest area, when the trip would become bearable. And in those moments, the family played car games that involved talking to each other. Single words became phrases and phrases became conversations. Conversations, of course, became love. And love blossomed into memories.
A simple, yet fun, way to prolong the sugar high was a game where players had to name cities which began with the last letter of the previous city. Bismark, led to Kansas City, which led to Yorkshire, to Edmonton and so on and so forth.
Anyone who has played this game can remember that after a few rounds, everyone seemed always to get stuck on cities that ended in “y”. Not the youngest brother. Receiving New York City, he quickly returned Yukon. Oklahoma City became Yonkers, and Sioux City led to Yorba Linda. Wait, what? Yorba Linda? How did Sam know Yorba Linda?
As one, father, mother, sister, and brother all turned back to see how he was doing it.
Looking up towards the silence, young Sam feigned ignorance to the rules of the game as he closed the giant road atlas and its alphabetical index.
That reminds me. The first minivans didn’t have GPS either.
Up until this very moment, he had only heard about what he recently experienced on a road trip. Some called it heaven, others nirvana, others ecstasy. If he had to put a name on it, he would call it “Primal Joy.” But as he spoke those words, they sounded wrong, sounded too weak. Suffice it to say, the feeling was unmatched, and incredibly difficult to name properly.
What caused this feeling you ask? The great unknown. Not just any unknown, but one that follows an especially compelling preamble. We all have had lesser experiences of this happen in our lives. We’re just listening to someone speak, and next thing you know they say something like, “So then I said…” And as the “de” in “said” is made audible the anticipation builds. Sometimes it is only mild. Other times it is frighteningly exciting. These instances are characterized by the listener asking themselves within these varied levels of excitement, “I wonder what he/she is going to say next?” That is where he was at. The billboard began, “Do your dentures fit like…”
Analyzing this for a moment, we can deduce at least three facts. First, this is likely an ad for a dentist or orthodontist. Second, the size and quality of the sign tell us that this denture-pusher is small time. Third, given the small/local nature of the shop, we can expect the metaphor describing poor-denture-fit to be colloquial and meant for a very specific target audience–being the denture wearing residents of that small town; itself a group who presumably have a lot in common with each other even before counting teeth.
Surely by now, you have developed some metaphors of your own to complete the ad. Perhaps you have the upper hand and know some denture wearing folks and have heard them lament about poor fitting dentures with witty metaphors. Perhaps you even wear dentures. You’ll still never guess the rest of the sign.
The metaphor proved itself worthy as he nearly shed tears while merrily explaining the sign to his fellow road warriors.
Savor this moment. Remember that a fellow human, made of the same parts as the rest of us, decided that this was the best way to relay his services to potential customers.
Our characters own tendencies to become over-excited signaled that this creative tooth-peddler probably couldn’t live up to the fantasy he had imagined him/her to be, but that didn’t stop him from desiring to meet the individual who came up with this billboard. If only the phone number was as memorable as this:
“Do your dentures fit like socks on a rooster?”
For reasons beyond his control, he could only assume this situation would be miserable.