There was an ad on TV during a break in Thursday night’s NFL game. A man identified as Ty Pennington was addressing the audience directly, making a charity pitch for disadvantaged families. I wasn’t really following the message, but something in it—some disconnect between the images and the words—kept drawing my attention. Here’s what the man was saying:
“I want to tell you a story about a little girl. A little girl who’s going to wake up on Christmas morning and her daddy won’t be there. But will Christmas be there? Will she have a warm jacket to wear? Will she have shoes that fit? Or even a toy?”
And it took me a while to realize that the narrator wasn’t talking about victims of a disaster or orphans in some distant, impoverished country. This Ty Pennington was talking about the children of active-service military personnel. The missing daddy was in Afghanistan. It was an ad for a Sears charity program called the “Heroes at Home Wish Registry.” Viewers were being encouraged to send gift cards to the children of military personnel.