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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
Thereís One Born Every Minute
by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
I never, ever order anything that I see on T.V. Because I am an intelligent and canny consumer? No. Because I have high standards and want to examine anything on which I am going to spend my hard-earned money? No. Because I am distrustful of the miraculous claims of instant and painless weight-loss, non-surgical facelifts, the promise of having a body like a twenty year old tennis player or the concentration of Einstein or the placid calm of Mother Theresa with one pill twice a day? Nu-uh. Because I am a grown-up American woman and I know that if it sounds too good to be true then it will inevitably be too good to be true? No, no, no, not me, no way. I donít order anything that I see advertised on T.V. ever, no matter how wonderful it seems to be or for what a limited time it will be offered, because I know me and I know that if I ever break this rule and order one thing, one single item, the dam will be broken and I will have to order everything. There will be no end to it until we are completely destitute and have second mortgages on all the children and are trying to hire the cats out as by-the-hour pets. I know this about myself and I accept this weakness.

I limit my television hours like I am my own mother. I have to. Say, I have just completed some task and need to start another. I might think to myself, "Well, I will just sit down and have a glass of tea before I start. Regroup. Muster my forces." So, I get the tea and sit down. While my mind is collating chores and deciding on a course of action my hand will, of itís own volition, slip down under the sofa cushions where we keep our remote control. Without realizing it I will start flipping through the channels, just killing time while I sip my tea. Not planning to watch anything. Next thing I know I will be digging around in the towels on the floor in the boysí room, where we keep the telephone, in a panic to call and order a 7 carat emerald cut genuine faux crystal-like completely manufactured using the very latest advances in modern technology dinner ring WITH a fully adjustable band because there are only seven left in the known Universe and THEY ARE GOING FAST!

Why do I need a dinner ring? We are a rather formal family with quite a strict tradition of dressing for dinner. Nobody in this house ever comes to the table more than 66% naked. I want my children to be prepared to function in society and to be able to hold their heads up no matter what circumstances they may find themselves in during the course of their lives. So I am strict about the 66% cut-off. But just because I insist on everyone wearing britches to the table doesnít mean I need a dinner ring. Or ever will. Especially not this one. Yuck. Itís just the spokesmen. I think they use some kind of weird salesperson hypnotism or maybe there are subliminal messages corroding my will power. I donít know. It cannot be that I am weak-willed and gullible. Surely not.

My other area of danger while watching T.V. is exercise equipment. We donít need any. We have plenty of closet space for hanging clothes and enough spots to stack junk mail without spending thousands and thousands of dollars on an exercise machine. Even at only $20.00 a month in perpetuity. But that one commercial theyíre airing recently is really getting to me. The one with the woman who says she is fifty years old. You know the one in the bikini with the long, luxurious brunette hair. The one who claims to be a grandmother but looks like the only thing she ever gave birth to was a new fashion trend. The one who has muscles showing in her belly that I didnít even realize human beings had. I thought when I first saw her that they might be implants and voiced this opinion. And was told by my friend that I was negative and jealous and unkind. Negative? Harumph! I am positive that either those are implants or that she is one of those robots they have at Disney World. And I am not jealous. I wouldnít want to look like that. You start looking like that and next thing you know everybodyís wanting to take your picture and movie stars are falling in love with you left and right. What a hassle! Only twenty minutes a day, huh? Whereís the phone?

© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
September 16, 2004
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