?Hypnotized and over-advertised' - Greg Gelpi

"Hypnotized and over-advertised ?til we're numb at birth."

That line by Martin Sexton, undoubtedly one of the best musicians and performers of our day, couldn't have been more on target.

In a daze, the dollar amount steadily climbed as I pumped gas the other day. Sexton's line suddenly made sense.

Glancing around, my hand glued to the nozzle, I put on new eyes and noticed all that I had become "numb" to.

The gas station sold every nook and cranny of space to advertisers. Grabbing for the squeegee, my eyes locked on an ad staring me down, peering at me as if alive.

I was surrounded. There was no way out. They were everywhere.

What is worse than a swarm of ads? The idea that these ads weren't new. They didn't materialize in the middle of the night. Some shadowy figure didn't swoop down from the skies and plaster the world with ads when our back was turned.

Worse than the barrage of ads is the idea that we are so "over-advertised" that we become oblivious on a conscience level that they even exist.

Not until a coworker pointed it out to me had I noticed the number of billboards draped across the skyline.

We are "hypnotized" into subconsciously spending and become good little consumers.

I'm not trying to bash advertising, but there is a time and place for everything. When I turn on the television, it's safe to expect advertising to greet me.

Since moving to Georgia about five months ago, I've encountered a new phenomenon.

Arriving home for a quick lunch, my heart pounded rapidly. Hanging from my door were several papers.

My mind dashed back to earlier in the month. Yes, I paid rent and paid it on time. The only thought I had was that this was an eviction notice dangling from my door.

What was I going to do? How was I going to contest this?

Rushing up the stairs, I yanked the papers off the doorknob.

Feverishly reading, I found that the cable company had new services and a Chinese place around the corner had some lunch specials. Such pressing issues as to cause me to lose a few years on my life and change the color of my hair.

Slammed in the face, the advertising got me yet again.

This of course doesn't even cover the fact that passers by know when I haven't been home in a while since the ads continue to hang like a flashing neon sign to everyone including those with ill intent. How comforting to be away from home knowing that strangers will be "working" my apartment hanging ads on my doorknob.

No longer is the privacy of the bathroom sacred.

A marketing "genius" stuck advertisements at eye level over the urinals at the gym I belong to. Like something out of the movie "A Clockwork Orange," I'm forced to gaze upon the advertisement until it soaks deep into my brain. What else am I to do?

Under attack from all sides, the advertising that scares me the most is that which I'm no longer aware of.

Since my epiphany and revelation, I have vowed to shake the hypnotic trance I have been in and scour my surroundings for advertising tucked in corners lying in wait.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.