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Big offer! Minuscule print!


CNN.com
By the time you finish reading the fine print, the show will be canceled

I have received a flier from DIRECTV encouraging me to take advantage of “a special offer not available to the general public!” (Exclamation point theirs.)

This flier made it into the bag at the pharmacy (CVS) when I visited there early today, but it really doesn’t matter. I’m feeling, like, unique because I’m not part of the “general public,” unlike—forgive me for being blunt, but—you. I'm special.

This offer will give me access to 145+ channels! (Exclamation point theirs). It will cost me, someone who is not part of the general public, $24.99 per month for 12 months. Plus additional fees. Also: SELECT Package. With 24-month agreement.**. Enrollment in Auto Bill Pay req’d. This package is not available for NFL offer.

The NFL offer, touted prominently on the front of the flier, is the 2015 NFL Sunday ticket included at no extra charge ONLY ON DIRECTV. Out of market games only. With CHOICE Package or above. 24-month agreement required.**

I love this football offer. I watch about 10 minutes of pro football every season, and this offer will give me many more games to choose from. Maybe I can divvy my viewing time into 3-minute blocks so I can see more games.

After decoding the fine print (or trying to) at the bottom of the front page, I turned the flier over and found two columns of type about 5 inches wide and an inch-and-a-half deep in type so small that reading it makes my head hurt. It’s even smaller than the fine print at the bottom of the front of the flier.

Now, even as someone who is not a member of the general public, I don’t have the patience for reading disclaimers that tell me, in essence, that the $24.99 per month figure is more or less a myth. The SELECT package, you see, is $50 per month, unless you’re not a member of the general public; for us, it’s discounted to $25 per month. I’d guess that’s an additional charge. The CHOICE package is $75 per month, discounted for lucky me to $36 per month. At least that’s what I think it says. I tried squinting and holding the flier at arm's length. No luck. As someone who knows a little about typography, I know it's difficult for the eye to track lines of type that are much wider than 2 inches wide, especially as the print gets smaller. Maybe "track lines" isn't the right phrase. "Hard to read" might work better. Small type strains the eye. It's difficult to tell where the next line starts. Some people might find this confusing. I'm certain, though, that it was just an oversight on the part of the firm that printed the flier.

Because I’m not a member of the general public, I guess I should be thankful I’m receiving this offer. In thinking about it, though, I believe I have more than 145 channels right now from the good folks (kaff kaff) at Time Warner, and even then, there’s rarely anything worth watching, except for the home shopping networks and programs about Alaska.

Unless DIRECTV provides me 145 channels that I’m not getting now, I’m going to pass on their offer. It’ll save me a headache from reading the print, even when I use a magnifying glass.

Too bad about the football, though.

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Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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