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This is the saddest thing ever

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Having just finished reading David Copperfield, this ad felt very apropos.

I see a lot of ads from people saying something along the lines of "come home, all is forgiven," often from or on behalf of parents.  They are almost always incredibly depressing.  Like: "So-and-so is dying, for God's sake come home to see him/her before he/she dies."  Seriously, I've seen ads that say pretty much exactly that.  But this one probably takes the cake for sheer melodrama:


Camille - Your mother loves you dearly.  Come home at once, your last words to her are engraved upon her heart (at nine o'clock to-night I shall listen for your knock, then, God help me.  At nine each night she takes your picture, smelling bottle, the little flower and the lock of hair and kisses them a hundred times over.  If you love her come home.

Oh. My. God.  Honestly, is this not the worst thing you've ever seen?  This poor mother!

Whenever I see ads like this, and they really are pretty frequent, I wonder what happened that made the person leave.  Most, as I said, are from parents, but there are a fair number addressed to husbands, and those make me sad too because you know it's some woman whose husband deserted her and she's in dire straits.  That's awful, but not unheard of.  But these splits between parents and children (both sons and daughters) appear with such frequency I really have to wonder what was going on.

I thought of David Copperfield because I imagine the most likely scenario is that Camille was too intimate with her beau, her parents overreacted, and she ran away.  I wonder where she went.  Did she decamp with her lover?  If so, what are the odds that things work out well?  The urban horror story was that she'd be deserted (with a baby, of course) and become a prostitute and then jump into the East River after leaving the baby on her parents' doorstep with a remorseful and heartbroken note.  How often that, or some version of it, actually happened I don't know, although there's evidence that it definitely did.

But what happened to Camille if she went home?  Could she ever live it down?  And I wonder what her last words to her mother were.  "I hate you," comes to mind.  I hope Camille saw this ad and came home.

I'm so depressed now.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein

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