Thursday, October 21, 2010

3am Propaganda

We’ve all been there before. Sleepless, 3:00 am, flicking hopelessly through the channels. Your options are quite limited: old reruns of “Land & Sea”, mindless sitcoms you can’t concentrate on, or a worse alternative yet – infomercials.

Your better sense is always intact at the beginning. “Pfft. Yeah, right. Who would ever pay $100 for that piece of garbage? It couldn’t possibly work, could it? No, if it DID work, everyone would have one already. Of course they’re going to guarantee it, they know nobody is going to go through the trouble and expense of sending it back. What kind of a sucker is going to buy this thing in the middle of the night?”

A mere half hour later, your mind begins to betray you. “I think they just did that in real time, right in front of the camera. They juiced the life right out of that beet, without a single bit of pulp. It’s impossible to fake that, I just saw it with my own eyes. Maybe it actually DOES work. I mean, I can certainly see the appeal of such an item and how it might very well improve my dining experience and perhaps even my overall quality of life.”

“Yes, by all means, demonstrate again, trainee of Ron Popeil, so that I might be further brainwashed by the repetitiveness of your late-night propaganda. I am slowly beginning to see the value of having that fine piece of machinery joining my fleet of dust-collecting small appliances.”

Or maybe exercise equipment is your vice; “Do you want abs like Jessica Alba? A stomach like Jennifer Aniston? Buy the super-duper, state-of-the-art, aerodynamic FLOOGELBEESTER! It may look like a cheap plastic rod held together by rubber bands, but not so – the secret lies in our patented Carbon Memory Magic Foam Filtration System. We’re not sure how it works, either, but hey – Jessica Alba, remember? Phone lines are open now, don’t delay!”

It might also be a pill that sucks you in. “As seen on MSNBC and the Oprah show, introducing Suckertrophin, a revolutionary weight loss supplement designed by MIT engineers , tested by scientists at NASA, and officially endorsed by Ukrainian gymnasts and Romanian supermodels!”

“Meet Sarah (well, a mostly-true account of a person named Beulah who we'll call Sarah, as portrayed by an actress named Misty who happens to be willing to sacrifice her dignity as a thespian for the sake of the $300 she’s being paid to pretend to have ever weighed more than ninety pounds for even a single day of her life). She lost over 100lbs on the Suckertrophin system, without ever setting foot in a gym! Every morning for breakfast she eats a dozen bagels smothered in pure lard! She has chocolate sauce IV drip at her office desk! She has slow metabolism and thyroid problems and diabetes and carries the gene for morbid obesity but no worries! All she has to do is pop two Suckertrophin tablets after each meal and voila! Size 4 it is!”

Forty-five minutes and three easy payments of $29.99 later, you’re the proud owner of a fruit dehydrator or juice defragmenter or bust enhancer or other such useless contraption which will take up valuable space in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet (saying nothing of the constant cries of “I told you you’d never use that stupid thing, I can’t believe we paid $100 for it” that must be endured for months post-purchase).

(Yeah, smart ass. Because you use ALL of those 19 hammers you have out in the shed.)

(Effing husbands.)

Infomercials, I believe, were created to prey on the impressionable minds of exhausted insomniacs. At noon on a Tuesday, I could never be convinced that any one small appliance could change my life, but many times in the wee hours of the morning I have been led down that very path of ridiculous logic by Ron Popeil and his evil minions.

I’m not saying I’ve ever been sucked in by Vince the Sham-Wow guy, nor will I admit to falling victim to the Magic Bullet food mega-blender, or the Slap Chop/Graty combo. I will neither confirm nor deny the presence of hair Bump-Its, Ginsu knives, Strap Perfect bra clips, and a full set of Tae-Bo VHS tapes in my home. And I most definitely have never spent hours on eBay looking for any of these items at a lower-than-advertised cost, nor have I searched for items from decades past, like the Flowbee. No sir, not me.

I will, however, tell you one thing with certainty - I need more sleep.

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