I’m always harping on how things were much better in the old days. That seems to be human nature. Or is it Vermont nature? There’s the “How many Vermonters does it take to change a light bulb? Four, one to change the bulb and three to talk about how much better the old one was.”

One instance where that is not true is in the TV commercials we see these days. Many are far better than the sitcoms they sponsor. Burt and Harry Piel were the first to offer really funny commercials as far as I can remember. They were cartoon characters performing to the voices of Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding, and they were hilarious; everybody was talking about them. They were selling beer, by the way.

Today there are so many really funny commercials and I must give top billing to Geiko. There is such a wide variety, they never get tiresome. I love when the gecko speaks with that Michael Caine accent. But I sure didn’t know what they were selling (insurance) for the longest time.

I also love the Aflack duck but wasn’t sure what they were selling either (insurance).

The unfunny ones tend to feature families with moronic fathers. They trip, they spill, they fall down. They’re always getting covered with paint or Jello or mud. Their children clearly pity them for their stupidity. The moms seem to be just getting home from working on Wall Street and can’t wait to fix dinner and do a few loads of laundry.

It’s those same dumb fathers who get behind the wheel of a new car and accelerate to warp speed through downtown Manhattan and then out into the desert and up a mountain side.

The weight-loss schemes are the most outlandish. “Before” pictures show slumping flabby characters scowling over their excess weight. “After” shows the same person in the same bathing suit with incredibly muscular fit bodies and even improved hair. All this achieved within weeks. There’s no mention that the person must have exercised 23 hours a day at a Marine boot camp. The tiny print, if you can catch it, says “not typical.” Then they go on to warn you that you may get kidney failure, heart attacks, glaucoma, oily discharge, and death. These are not risks I would take lightly. And how come that bathing suit still fits?

There’s a commercial around now that is calculated to annoy you. Some hyper character is saying the product’s name and demanding you apply “directly to the forehead” loudly and repeatedly. Part two now has someone saying how much they hate that commercial but the product is so good. It was all part of a plan. I feel duped.

The good ones linger on. Guinness ale has us walking around shouting “Brilliant!” all the time.

Perhaps I’m more aware of commercials because my son is in the business of writing music for them. We’ve change from a habit of muting every single sales pitch to lingering over those he may have had a hand in. “Hold it! It’s Oil of Olay!”