On the phone with Dr. Rick
A clever Easter egg, plus Links of the Week: a park for cheeseheads, a 21-year-old tax collector, and the worst NBA team ever
Yesterday, my dear friends Joe and Margo Posnanski told me about a beautiful little Easter egg in a Dr. Rick commercial.
You’ve probably seen these commercials—they’re the ones where Dr. Rick (“world-renowned parental life coach”) is trying to help people who have turned into their parents. They’re the people who buy a new shirt exactly the same as the one they’re wearing, the ones who wonder out loud how the candle store is making any money, the ones who Velcro their remote to the coffee table, because you know how those remotes just love to wander off.
The commercials are outstanding. The one Joe and Margo were telling me about is the one where Dr. Rick is explaining voicemail etiquette:
You might have noticed that there’s an actual phone number in that commercial—618-437-7425.
Take a second and call it.
Wasn’t that delightful?
If you didn’t call, I’ll skip ahead and tell you that the voicemail points you to this site for Dr. Rick’s book, which it turns out is an actual thing, and according to Joe and Margo, very funny.
It’s also cheap—$1.50 plus shipping!—although it should come with some sort of disclaimer, like WE ARE SELLING THIS BOOK AT A LOSS SO WE CAN ACQUIRE YOUR PERSONAL INFO AND BOMBARD YOU WITH INSURANCE OFFERS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Commercials sit in such an odd space in our lives. They’re very obviously trying to get us to buy something—something we usually don’t need or even want—but sometimes they’re so well-made you want to give the creators a hand, even if you have no intention of ever buying their product.
I often watch ball games with the sound off—most announcers actively subtract from my enjoyment of the game—and so the standard of a good commercial is this: Does it make me turn the sound on? Dr. Rick, you made the cut. Now please, go back to teaching your clients how to say “quinoa.”
10 things I wanted to share this week:
My earlier post this week was about watching Herschel Walker run … and watching him run. This post caught a little traction on Twitter and ended up getting the biggest audience of anything I’ve posted on this Substack. It also led to a load of new subscribers. Welcome, newcomers!
This week’s episode of SouthBound was with Thomas Lake, who has a new podcast of his own about the mysteries surrounding the death of James Brown. Thomas also talks about growing up in a big family, and how his faith helps him in his work. He’s a brilliant and fascinating guy.
My weekly for WFAE was me urging people, even more than normal, to get out and vote. Thanks to all who did.
Really enjoyed this story by Joshua Needelman on Mecca for cheeseheads: the public park next to Lambeau Field.
DOG NEWS: While I work on my book, I’m devoting this slot to dog stories. This week: For those of you keeping track of the Westminster Dog show, it’s moving to the site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament next year.
Bo Burnham: “They’re coming for every second of your life.”
My bud Jeremy Markovich on the college senior in a Fallout shirt who got elected county tax collector and is now entrusted with $40 million of revenues.
I am going to do a rare thing—endorse something I haven’t seen yet. But I have complete trust in Jon Bois, who makes the weirdest and most wonderful sports documentaries I’ve ever seen. This one is called THE PEOPLE YOU’RE PAYING TO BE IN SHORTS, about the Charlotte Bobcats, who had the worst season in NBA history under the leadership of owner … Michael Jordan. It’s two and a half hours of misery and I can’t wait.
British drama of the week: KAREN PIRIE, a 3-part miniseries about a quirky Scottish detective (Lauren Lyle, who we loved) trying to solve a cold case that’s also being investigated by a true crime podcast.
Josh Turner and Carson McKee are young musicians who grew up in Charlotte and have built up big followings online (Josh actually composed the theme for SouthBound). They often play with musicians Reina del Cid and Toni Lindgren. I really loved this cover (from the tour bus!) of “Black Water,” the old Doobie Brothers hit.
See y’all next week, everybody.
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