PORTSMOUTH, NH—The woeful pall unfurling quickly across the illuminated text, an ominous darkness Wednesday foretold that the grim age of an autoplaying ad had come to pass. “An unholy mist intercedes between mine eyes and the Esquire homepage,” said local man Marc Hammons, even now perceiving in the distance the baleful synthesized fanfare of the approaching Mazda video. “Fortune’s fool, I wagered I would be spared and forsook my ad blocker, and now a pitiless gloom that will abide for 30 seconds has descended. No X in the corner will succor me. No five-second opt-out will rekindle the embers beneath this wicked mist. Lo, the Mazda Summer Sales Event nears. Stop my ears with wax! Forgive me! Forgive me!” At press time, Hammons had, with but one errant stroke, clicked on the ad and now smiled ruefully, an accursed soul fully resigned to his damnation.
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