My mother has always cautioned that self-bragging is half scandal.
So, when I hear people boasting about their accomplishments or possessions or when I’m tempted to brag about my ability to eat an entire can of potato crisps in one evening, I’m reminded of her advice.
But one of my dreams has come true. So I’m throwing her caution to the wind and announcing to my dozen or so readers that my household has been selected to participate in an important research study.
The Nielsen company has reached out to me!
For those of you unfamiliar with Nielsen, maybe this snippet from the letter will prove illuminating: “Have you ever wondered how radio, television and other media outlets decide what shows to broadcast and cancel? In large part, those decisions are based on feedback from people like you.”
And by “you,” Nielsen means me.
I’ve been hoping to receive recognition from the company since I first heard of the Nielsen ratings in the 1980s. Back in the day, I wanted so badly to help decide which shows remained on air and which ones got the ax. And, at the sake of sounding boastful, I would have been such a good Nielsen family member because I used to watch the heck out of the TV. Believe me when I say that I watched it so much that there was no chance it was going anywhere.
Nowadays, I’m not so sure I’m a good fit for Nielsen. Although my television is dern-near always on, I don’t actually watch much TV. And I listen to the radio only when I’m forced to do so. Indeed, for question four – “In a typical day, how many hours of radio do you listen to?” – I’ll have to mark zero.
So I’m not sure how helpful I can be to my new friend, Nielsen, and that gives me a case of the sads.
After all, the letter explains that my household, which Nielsen characterizes as “unique,” “may receive cash rewards or check rewards” for participation. I’m not sure what a check reward is, but to thank me for doing something as simple as opening an envelope, Nielsen enclosed a crisp one dollar bill.
Due to such generosity and a decades-long dream, I really don’t want to let Nielsen down, especially since he and/or she addressed the letter to “Dear Area Household.”
Talk about a personal touch!
But I can’t exaggerate my TV viewing or outright lie about listening to the radio. I’m fairly certain that doing so would constitute a bigger scandal than bragging.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.