Fleecing God’s Sleepless Sheep, or “But Wait! There’s More!” (part 1)
Back when I was living under a bridge, back about seven or eight years ago, I had a tiny battery-operated TV. When I couldn’t sleep I’d flip the stupid thing on. Except for the weather channel and two local access stations, at 2-5 AM every channel is airing an infomercial. If you think that this is a sure guarantee to either 1) put you back to sleep or 2) assure suicide, think again. Gold is where you find it. Here was the script. . . .
by Thomas Goodrich
ON ONE channel a rotund “Chef Tony” (below) is hawking his Magic Kitchen Knives. These incredible blades, which no self-respecting cook should be without, cut, peel, slice, dice, mince, chop, whiz, whack, whomp, whoop, and wheeze any and all vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish, meats, and cans. Cans? Yep! Ever wanted to slice through a bunch of pop cans? Well now you can. Ever had the urge to cut clean through a large iron safe? Well now you can! And what about that old Sherman Tank out back you’ve always dreamed of sawing in half? Well, now you can do that too with Chef Tony’s miracle blades, and all this, assures Chef Tony, without ever losing the edge on a single knife. Truly, these are indeed “Magic” knives.
On another channel some bedraggled Brit and a big-boobed blond — Mick and Mimi (left) — are hustling the “Magic Bullet.” Judging by the “OOooo’s” and “AHHhhh’s” of the bought audience, Jesus walking on water was no more a miracle than what this tiny food blender can do in “One… Two… Three” easy touches. Have an emergency? Need a seven-course meal for seven hungry lumberjacks who just happen to drop by at seven? Need all this food in seven minutes or less? Well, for seven easy payments of $39.95 all your problems are solved.
On yet another channel, the “Magic Hair Club” pitchman promises to grow a mop of manly mane on anything, be it a bowling ball, a concrete block, or even your own thick skull. You know the drill: Scowling, angry baldos in the “Before” photos; smiling hairy heroes in the “Afters.”
Switching to the next channel, dozens of sleek body builders are milling around a phony gym hustling the “Magic Belt.” Looking like something Buck Rogers might strap on before he zips off to the Planet Zar-Kon, this marvelous break-through in lard control promises to subtract the fat faster than you can add it. Just cinch the belt around your girth, turn on the Magic Thermo Techno Radar-Decombobulator, and you’re all set. It’s as easy as that! Now, no need to ever miss another meal because of all that time lost on those pesky exercise machines. With the new Magic Belt you can get right back to gorging the moment you bolt on the belt. But Wait! There’s More! With the handy carrying case included in the offer, you can take your Magic Belt with you where ever you go — to the Dairy Queen, to the Fudge Factory, to Large Larry’s Eat-Til-You-Bust Buffet. Fat has finally met its match. But hurry. . . Supplies are limited!
Still not asleep, I switch the channel and behold the Futurama Magic Multi-Vac Home Cleaning System being demonstrated by a huckster and his shill. Pretty quick, I too am convinced and wonder if I should not call in my order for this bargain. After all, where else can one find a light, easy to operate vacuum cleaner that will pluck up all those bothersome ball bearings, nails and rusty railroad spikes laying around on my carpet, just as the demonstrators are showing?
Another channel and surprise! another marvel. The “Ab Circle Magic Pro System” (right) is perhaps the most curious-looking exercise/torture device I have ever seen. Dozens of humanoids, with perfect bods, are waving their butts in the air, back and forth, as they not only demonstrate this modern miracle, but give us a glimpse of what we all will look like in a day or two of sweat-free fun. (From the big smiles frozen on their faces these folks are obviously having a great time dying by degrees.)
Beyond doubt, the most shameless hustle of them all is “Jeff’s Short Cut.” What exactly is “Jeff’s Short Cut”? Well, that is never made quite clear but the point is: You need it . . . and you need it FAST! Seems “Jeff” has a magic book filled with magic secrets that guarantee instant wealth without working. That’s right . . . WITHOUT WORKING!
Got no money? No problem.
Got no credit? No problem.
Got no education? No problem.
Got no intelligence? Nooooooooo problem.
With Jeff’s short cut to instant wealth, you don’t need any of these trivial things. All you need is Jeff’s book and a strong desire to spend lots of money.
According to Jeff — an average-looking con — he came up with his magic idea one day while living like a mole in his sister’s basement. Of course Jeff was dead broke and despondent and his prayers to Mammon were going nowhere. Suddenly, a beam of light burst through the ceiling and showered Jeff in its amazing grace. And now, out of the goodness of his heart, and like John the Baptist of old, Jeff roams TV Land and spreads his message of instant wealth. A pair of really ditzy blondes — one a Brit, natch — both with a full rack of big bombs, remind those of us with zero imagination:
Just think what YOU could do with all the money that you make from Jeff’s short cuts? You could pay your bills! You could own cars! You can take trips! You could have sex with us (not said, but implied)!
Then, from around a pool crawling with beautiful people lounging and drinking their day away, up step the testimonialistas. None of these people led normal lives. No one had a home. No one had a job. No one could pass a drug test. Before Jeff’s Short Cut transformed their miserable lives from dumpster divers to instant millionaires, all were lost souls sleeping on cardboard down by the river.
“With Jeff’s Short Cut I made $7,000 the first day,” says one smiling short-cutter.
“I earned $300,000 in my first week,” offers another loser-turned-winner without blinking.
“In my first month,” grins another former shoplifter, “I bought Fort Knox.”
The blonde bombers are giddy at all this, but not surprised. Of course, not once is it revealed just how any of these folks acquired all that magic jack. Nor is it explained why so many bazillionaires would voluntarily show up to do a cheesy infomercial like this at four in the morning. But, by sending Jeff only $39.95, anyone can get the facts for himself and race down the road to fabulous wealth.
Note: There may indeed be a short cut in Jeff’s future but this scam is so patently over the edge that Jeff’s quick trip may be straight up the river to the state pen.
On the next station, and the next, and the next, more Magic Ovens, Magic Ninja Blenders, and other Magic Attic Fillers are being hustled for Not $1,000… not $500… not even $200. But yours for three easy payments of $39.95. And so on. See a thread here? No, not the big bombs on the babes or even the Brits — I mean the Magic, stupid! Everything is “Magic.” Now, if you believe in alien abductions, Elvis sightings, and that US troops are fighting for your freedoms in the Middle East, then chances are you also believe in magic. If so, then what are you waiting for? But Hurry! . . . Supplies are limited!!
(to be continued)
* * *
Source: Thomas Goodrich