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Rick Steelhammer: Reading the fine print in an advertising disclaimer can be a life saver

The commercials caught my eye and engaged my ears enough to watch half-heartedly a few times before I took the time to carefully view them all the way through — to see if I could figure out what product was being advertised.

The television spots were pleasing enough to watch and listen to without knowing what was being promoted. I usually began paying attention to the spots a few seconds after they started, when a young woman could be seen holding a string attached to a birthday party-sized red balloon and effortlessly soaring over a series of landscapes, as “Dreams” by The Cranberries began playing.

The woman first flies high and fearlessly over a large urban setting, then sails over a series of rugged cliffs and buzzes across a river where she drags a foot and secures a shoe full of murky water, before gliding over a group of cowboys herding horses through a stand of sagebrush and then ascending to the top of a glacier, where she scoops up a handful of snow before arcing into a tunnel.

The scenery and music are dreamy enough that the commercial could be, for all I knew, promoting tourism in states with legalized recreational marijuana. But upon further review, I discovered I had been missing some key information by not watching the spot from beginning to end.

It opens with the woman approaching a window through which her new red Mazda 3 can be seen parked outside, and grabbing a key fob with the Mazda logo stamped on it, which inexplicably turns into the red balloon with the dangling string. After flying into the tunnel, the woman emerges on the other side driving her red Mazda at low speed on a narrow shelf of rock along a desert reservoir.

A male voice-over murmurs “Experience the re-imagined Mazda 3” as the commercial fades out.

“Aha! It’s a Mazda 3 commercial,” I tell myself, as I roll back the message for a final replay. As I run the spot again, I detect the presence of tiny letters printed in white at two locations. I pause the replay when the letters appear again and find that they spell out “Dramatization: Do not attempt.”

What does that mean? Do Mazda’s lawyers think it would be dangerous for me to attempt a career in drama? Oh, no. Now I get it.

I was just about to throw the key to my pre-owned Rav 4 off the deck of the Steelhammer Compound, grab the first passing party balloon with a dangling string, soar across Lake Chaweva and I-64 and land at the infield of Mardi Gras Casino’s dog track until I got that “Do Not Attempt” message.

Thanks corporate attorneys! You may have shattered my dreams, but you also saved my bacon.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at, 304-348-5169 or follow @rsteelhammer on Twitter.

Funerals for Friday, September 20, 2019

Barton, Richard - 3 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Birthisel, Avis - 11 a.m., Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Call, Denver - Noon, Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Dearien, Tommie - Noon, Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Malden.

Fletcher, Joanna - 1 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Keeney, Steven - 2 p.m., Keith Full Gospel Church, Keith.

May, Rosa - 2 p.m., Bartlett - Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Morris, Linda - 1 p.m., Deal Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Parsons, Harry - 11 a.m., Ellyson Mortuary Inc., Glenville.

Pauley, Clarence - 10 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Pino, Patricia - 11 a.m., Bradley FreeWill Baptist Church.

Rogers, Marilyn - 11 a.m., Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, South Charleston.

Satterfield, Kenneth - 5 p.m., Satterfield residence, 1161 Daniels Run Road, Millstone.