I fear that my dog and I may soon come under attack from the CAT Police.
No, not the kind with four legs and whiskers, but the kind that will send you nasty letters if you improperly identify their products and services in weekly columns — a little group I like to call the Copyright And Trademark Police.
I received such a warning letter after improperly identifying my favorite beverage, SoBe Lifewater®, as two words apparently not meant to be used together unless identifying the specific brand of "enhanced water," VITAMINWATER®. My bad. Lesson learned.
The letter did come as a bit a of surprise though. To my knowledge, that column had only reached a very limited portion of the otherwise large audience which has the pleasure of reading my thoughts. So how did the CAT Police track me — in rural mid-Missouri — down?
Not only do I now live in fear of being placed in Smith & Wesson handcuffs (to be trademark correct) and tossed into a small cell papered with logos, but I now have a constant awareness of branding and the improper uses.
"Can you hand me a Sharpie," I asked my male counterpart last night.
When he handed me a MARKS-A-LOT®, I ducked and covered awaiting a helicopter drop of CAT policemen. Looks like I lucked out that time.
Apparently, I luck out a lot. As do many Americans.
The young lady in the fast food drive thru deserved more than a warning letter as she handed me a bottle of Pepsi last week when I had clearly stated "Coke" into the speaker.
Trying to wrap my head around all the various trademarked and copyrighted words and phrases out there makes me need a TYLENOL®, or is it actually Advil® that I take?
Just when I thought I was safe, I grabbed a HI-LITER® highlighter and got back to work, until I made a mistake and needed some Wite-Out®, but all I had was a bottle of Liquid Paper®. Darn the luck.
Giving up, I grabbed some Kleenex®, but I probably should call it tissue as it could have been Puffs®, and headed home for a good cry. Trying to live life the properly trademarked and copyrighted way was stressing me out.
The next day I started fresh, but still curious as to what other violations I could be committing, I hopped on Google — and it actually was Google, not a similar search engine.
Learning that The Man and I had inadvertently named our 90-pound pooch after a trademarked brand of elastic bandages, I raced home to verify that the CAT Police weren't holding him as collateral for my arrest.
Finding him where I left him, asleep on the couch, I grabbed a few zip-close bags — I say that because I'm not sure they were Ziploc® — I rationed what food we had left in the fridge.
Looking down at the floppy-eared pooch, I realized we had but one option.
"How do you feel about witness protection?"
—Megan Tilk is a reporter who also writes a weekly column for the Boonville (Mo.) Daily News. She can be reached at email@example.com or through her blog: megantilk.blogspot.com.