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  • Paul Says
    Guy in the Elevator

    Darling, you're glowing! There are a couple of commercials I wish I had on tape, but sadly, either because they are no longer aired or because I am reluctant to proclaim my own lack of worth by having a tape labeled "COMMERCIALS I LIKE", I am unable to get them. In fact, the only commercials I do have are those sandwiched between periods in hockey games. Since Toyota is the only company that advertises during hockey games, I am unable to watch and rewatch that Jamie Lee Curtis commercial for cellular phones.

    The ad does merit further study. It's the one where Jamie is trying to locate someone named "Austin" so she can join his lame art party, already in progress. She does this by telling Austin to "keep talking." I think her plan is to zoom in on his location by moving about until their phone conversation is free of static, at which time she will be inside Austin's stomach. At one point, Jamie has to go up a storey in the building, but, of course, there is no elevator, only some dangling wires. She blithely climbs up the wires, ignoring the danger and the twisted wreckage of the elevator and crumpled human bodies that are presumably below her at the bottom of the shaft.

    Having conquered the elevator obstacle, Jamie walks into the party. There follows one of the all-time great commercial conversations. Austin says, "Darling! You're glowing!" to which Jamie Lee responds, "Guy in the elevator."

    Here is where my confusion begins. I accepted that there was neither elevator nor stairs in the building... I was ok with the inexplicable use of a cellphone as a homing device... I accepted that someone would try to move TOWARDS Austin and his party... but I can't gloss over Jamie's last four words and still retain my sanity. "Guy in the elevator." I have so many questions with this statement that I don't know where to begin. (Note: On drafting a list of my questions, I appear actually to have only two. But because I have problems organizing my thoughts, I still don't know where to begin.)

    Question 1: What is the nature of Jamie and Austin's relationship? Austin calls Jamie Lee Curtis "Darling." So presumably they're in some sort of relationship, right? So why does Jamie tell him that her glow can be attributed to a "guy in the elevator?" What did this guy in the elevator do? Were they having sex or just flirting? Is she trying to make Austin jealous? If Jamie Lee Curtis is trying to ruin Austin's big art party for him, I won't be held responsible for my actions.

    It is just possible that Austin is using a diminutive casually, and he's not really her boyfriend. Perhaps he's one of those Irish guys from books who calls everybody "darling" and starts every sentence with "sure" and says "begorrah." Except you know what? He's not. He's a slightly effeminate American guy named Austin. And whatever their relationship is, it's weird and slightly sad that Jamie Lee Curtis is hinting to this guy that she made out with some stranger in the elevator, when she didn't.

    Question 2: What guy in the elevator? There is an iron rule of clever banter: what you say may sound deceptive, but it must be literally true. For instance: if there's a phone call for the superhero you just trussed to a chair, you may say "He's all tied up right now," implying that he's busy. You are not permitted to say "He's at the store buying milk." He's not. He's tied up. Right now. If Jamie got a call from Austin while in the elevator, she could say she was just "hanging around." She is, you see... literally!! Ha ha! That's comedy gold. That's where this commercial fails: there is no guy in the elevator.

    Someone suggested that while there may be no literal guy, there are some ropes, and some ropes are called guy ropes, and while we lack any more specific technical knowledge, maybe that's at the bottom of the mystery. My reply is this: THAT DOES NOT HELP. "Darling, you're glowing." "Guy rope in the elevator." That's even more enigmatic. Why would that make her glow? Anyway, there was no elevator in the scenario at all, that was the problem. We'd have to amend the dialogue to "Guy rope in the elevator shaft. I rubbed it briskly on my body until my skin was glowing and healthy." If Curtis has said this, the commercial might have made some marginal sense, but Austin would have undoubtedly returned with any or all of the following responses: "TMI," "Someone has WAY too much time on their hands," or that W you make with your fingers. And let's face it, that doesn't sell phones.

    So there you go. My agile brain can't solve the Chinese puzzle that is the Jamie Lee Curtis cellphone commercial. It's just possible that I misheard the dialogue, or that there's a simple explanation that makes this whole chain of events make sense. If you have a theory, email me, or call me, preferably while swinging apelike from inside an elevator shaft. Until this whole thing is cleared up, I'm sticking to my 1950's rotary phone. It's one thing in this world I can make sense of.



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