Friday, January 27, 2012

Never Borrow Money Needlessly...but When You Need to Borrow

Today’s search keywords that escorted Internet surfers to my blog included “boring adult classroom,” “a really strange family,” “a water bug,” “johnny hot dog,” “pic slices of pizza,” “bowling alley signs,” “alf,” and “old burger king uniform.” If nothing else, this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that my blog is eclectic. If fact, the search keywords included one more entry: “listen to hfc never borrow money needlessly.” It was this particular grouping of words, which I realize has little meaning to the preponderance of folks on planet Earth, that struck me most of all.

In my past blogging, I have obviously mentioned the Household Finance Corporation (HFC) jingle, which frequently played on early-1970s New York Mets' radio broadcasts. I was so into the Mets as a boy that I earned the nickname “Mr. Met.” My loyalty to that baseball team from Queens stood out in a Bronx neighborhood awash in fans of that other New York club in that other league. But this essay is not about a cross-town sports team rivalry. It’s about HFC and a commercial that still resonates in my brain. I have, on occasion, found myself singing the catchy HFC jingle in the shower and in other places, too, forty years later.

I can’t exactly explain why, but the ad was a lovely marriage of words and music that would effortlessly segue into the broadcast booth. Radio listeners would then hear the din of the stadium crowd only for several seconds. To a little kid mesmerized by the game of baseball and, too, the voices of Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner who would soon chime him, it was a beautiful sound.

The HFC jingle was uniquely harmonious in a simpler age of lending for sure: “Never borrow money needlessly, but when you need to borrow, you get more than money from HFC—more than just money—Household Finance.” To think that somebody actually wrote these lyrics and somebody else, the musical score. But that was forty years ago. Who knows where these people are today? Still, if you have an individual singing your little jingle in the shower, or somebody googling “listen to hfc never borrow money needlessly" four decades later, I’d say you, as artists, have definitely left your marks and your lives have certainly not been in vain.

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