'Help is on the way,' but are we ready?

Bing Bingham

By BING BINGHAM

For the Capital Press

Sometimes TV commercials are the best part of the show.

My wife and I were vegging out in front of the TV the other night when a commercial came on and explained all the benefits of a satellite-connected computer system implanted in your vehicle. This device reports to headquarters, somewhere in the world, through a satellite signal if you've had a wreck or lost your car keys. Then the responding company broadcasts back to your car a soothing message in dulcet tones, like "Help is on the way."

My wife snorted.

"That'd never work for you," she said.

"Why's that," I asked.

"With some of the places you travel, even if the satellite could find you," she replied, "they'd never know exactly where to send help."

I chuckled.

She went on, "The only message you'd get from the responding company is, 'What were you thinking before you took off on that old dirt track, huh?' or 'Your tires are way too bald to be traveling that road. Now you've had a flat.'"

"You're probably right," I laughed, "maybe they could make it more responsive to the ag community.

"I can just imagine," I continued, "rolling down a back road and hearing on the speaker, 'Have you had an accident or are the cows doing the hula in the stock trailer again?'"

By now we were both laughing and giggling in our chairs doing our best to see who could come up with the best use of this vehicle/satellite technology.

"One place where it might really help," my wife assured me, "is when the hay guys are broke down and on a parts run."

I grinned back and said, "You'd hear something like: 'All the cars within a five-mile radius should pull over to the side of the road because Mr. Jones broke the knotter on his baler and Mrs. Jones has 40 miles to go before the parts store closes in 10 minutes, and there's a thunderstorm headed their way. Hurry, she's coming.'"

"You know, there's another way it could work," my wife said, "if the vehicle technology company came out with a message like: 'Does anyone hearing this message have a cell number for the Johnson family? Their cows are out on the highway and scaring the tourists again. You better hurry -- the cows and the tourists are getting a little goofy.'"

We decided the next step for this ag-friendly vehicle/satellite technology would be to install it in our ATVs. That way when a person steps outside in the morning and forgets where they're parked -- they can phone the company and get a beeping sound like a lost cordless phone.

As the commercial finished we settled back down into our chairs and vegged on the TV for a while longer before we went to bed.

Who says all commercials are boring?

Bing Bingham is a writer, rancher and storyteller. If you have a story to pass along, contact him at bing@bingbingham.com.

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