Public service announcements admonish us to eat dinner with our families, to remember that it takes a real man to be a dad, that losing weight makes you feel better about yourself.
We do not need commercials to tell us that eating dinner with your kids and talking to them is better than parking them in front of the television with a plate of microwaved chicken nuggets while you sit in front of the computer. That kind of parenting problem won't be solved with a 30-second TV spot.
The cable channel Nickelodeon sponsors what it calls the Worldwide Day of Play. It's a day where kids are told to turn off the television and go -- shockingly -- play and use their imaginations. What a concept.
The sad thing is, if these issues weren't problems, we probably wouldn't be seeing these kind of announcements. And maybe these kind of public education campaigns reach people and help them. But they do beg the question.
So, because we've evidently lost the collective ability to function as thinking people, we are being encouraged by singing and dancing medical personnel to ask our doctors questions to help prevent medical mistakes; we're being told cyberbullying is bad, we're reminded to put kids in safe car booster seats.
What's next, public service announcements reminding us to take out the trash?
So in the spirit of what should be decisions requiring common sense instead of an ad campaign, we're offering a few of our own public service announcement suggestions.
--Wear underpants. The reason? Two words: Britney Spears.
Turn on the television and you can't avoid seeing coverage -- sorry, we mean footage -- of the sad pop princess flashing the world. It's unfortunate all the way around. And if you just can't bring yourself to don skivvies, do the rest of us a favor and wear pants. Please.
--Floss. There may be an official service announcement out there about this somewhere, but take a minute and remember that you need your teeth, just like they need you.
--Take the sun shield out of the front car windshield before you start driving.
--Hang up the phone when you're driving, biking or walking. This applies to talking, text messaging or listening to music. Take a lesson from a California man who was killed in November after stepping in front of an oncoming Amtrak train. He evidently didn't notice the train because he was so absorbed in his cell phone conversation.
--Talk to the live person in front of you. This includes dates, children, parents, friends.
We've noticed a plethora of people sitting or walking together who are all on the phone to someone else more interesting. We've also seen what looks to be two people on a date in restaurants, except one person is on the phone nattering to someone else while the other party is left fiddling with the bread basket. Good times.
--Don't eat food past the expiration date.
The list could go on.
We would like to think that we're a society of people smart enough to figure these things out. But we're waiting for the public service announcement to tell us if we're right.