The Life Or Death Happy Happy Flim Flam Sales Man

My muse was at it again.  I was standing in the shower, trying to remember what was still clean that I could wear to work, mentally making a grocery list, and trying to remember to bring a pair of scissors to cut flowers by the roadside, when my spicy Irish muse jumped into my head with a great idea for a short story. 

With barely enough time to brush my teeth and curl my hair, I asked her to come back later when I had more time to listen. That evening she returned, but I couldn’t hear her, as I was thrown off by the barrage of super-loud commercials in the background. Once again I was interrupted by the Life Or Death Happy Happy Flim Flam Man.

Every day we are bombarded with advertising, advice, inspiration, and warnings. We are overweight, wrinkled, and messy.  Our bodies are toxic and we have yellow teeth. We don’t have time to sort, exercise, chop vegetables or play with our kids.  But there is a cure for that ― just ask the Info Man.

The other day on the radio I heard that the infomercial business is a 30 billion dollar a year enterprise.  Just think — 30 billion dollars spent a year on ways to clean-up, tighten-up, and detox-up our bodies and our minds.  Not only can we firm our thighs and flabby under arms, but we can buy bling from movie stars while we’re firming. We can organize our closet, scrub up doggie accidents from the carpet, and slice up vegetables in one swoop.  

How did we ever survive this long on our own?

 Most of us wouldn’t mind being a little thinner or have beautiful hair or be able to drain spaghetti in the same pot as the drainer. But these informercials know just how to tap into our low well of confidence. Advertisers do such a good job of pointing out our inadequacies that we buy improvement on the spot without having to think about it or leave the comfort of our sofa. What a convenient way to get better!

I’m not against advertising.  I learn about a lot of new products every time I watch TV or read a magazine or walk through the grocery store. I get tired of cleaning up spills on the carpet, and I keep thinking I’m too old for pimples. But finding a solution to my mini dilemmas should be fueled by my judgment, not advertisers. We shouldn’t let our insecurities rule our self-worth. We shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to feel better, think better, be better. 

We have the capacity for unbounded love, compassion, and understanding.  From astronomy to astrology, we have the power to discover magic both inside and outside of ourselves.

And discovering the magic doesn’t cost a thing.    

There is something wrong when we are told how messed up we really are and how that can be changed with a quick purchase off the Internet. To believe that the answer for happiness and peace of mind is outside of us is playing into the hands of marketers and profiteers who take our money and our trust and leave no instructions behind ― people who have never met us, never sat at our dinner table, never took the time to find out why our closets are so disorganized in the first place.

 So go out and buy that great pair of jeans or that diamondish necklace or those celebrity-endorsed pots and pans.  But realize that you are just as fantastic in those beat up jeans with the elastic waist, and that your homemade lasagna will taste just as good in your worn out baking pan as it will in the latest non-stick wonder.

Sparkle is free. The fire inside of you is free. Everything else is just hype. 

The only infomercial that matters is the one that broadcasts in your heart.

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Give Me a Purple Streak

I knew when I saw this commercial there would be a blog connected to it.k8lu

It was a Walgreen’s commercial.  I think it was for inexpensive prescriptions for Medicare patients or something. There were two old broads, laughing, picking up meds, who were going to their (I assume) high school reunion.

Wake Up Vibe #1: Their reunion was for the year 1966. That is only 4 years before mine.

Wake Up Vibe #2: They had big purple streaks in their snow white hair.

Wake Up Vibe #3: I liked the hair.

Let’s face it. I am not one of those old women with white hair and creaky bones who are the face of Baby Boomers.  I am an old woman with red hair and creaky bones who is the face of Baby Boomers. I hate hate HATE the idea of getting older. Period. I am not greeting old age with open arms; I am not going into that dark night quietly. I am the young creature who dances to Motley Crue and follows fashion and dreams of a career where I can be myself and who is never going to move on.

I am also the old creature who moves my body to Motley Crue and makes up fashion and finds time to dabble in a career where I can be myself and is moving on as slow as possible.

Why does this glimpse on TV rattle my chakras?

Maybe it’s because the comely Boomers are still a size 6. I haven’t been a size 6 since 6th grade.  Maybe it’s because the two women together have this invisible, indivisible, bond that probably has lasted since 1st grade. My bestie moved half way across the U.S. six months ago and there’s no one to pal around to the pharmacy with.

I think the biggest rattle is because the women pass off graduating in 1966 just like they passed off going to Applebees for lunch last week. Like it was nothing.

There is no way in hell I graduated from high school 50 years ago.

Do you know the changes that can take place in 50 years?

We had typewriters with correcting tape, microfiche films, princess phones, computers the size of a room, and no seatbelts. We launched Star Trek, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Brezchnev, Johnson, and DeGaulle.

I don’t want this to turn into a walk down memory lane — what we had v.s. what we have now. The point is much simpler than that.

There is no way I graduated from high school 46 years ago. I’m still acting like a teenager NOW, despite grandkids, mortgages, jobs, bankruptcy, and cancer. I still love the Beatles and the Monkees and have a fond recollection of 8-tracks.

Today’s 20-40ish crowd is no different than when I was 20-40-ish. I was too busy changing jobs and raising kids and finding a second job to worry about purple hair streaks. But now I’m starting think — if not now, when?

Young readers, do you waste time thinking about getting older? About what used to be? Do you have the “good ‘ol days”?  I’d love to hear your stories. That way I won’t get so worked up over a silly TV commercial.

After all, who knows what will happen at YOUR 50th high school reunion…in 2056….

HallowThankMas

christmas-scraps-145Ahhhh….All Hallow’s Eve is just a few days away. Time for candy and pumpkins and ghosts…and the official start of Christmas advertising.

Forget what used to be — forget that one didn’t hear “Jingle Bell Rock” or see a decorated Christmas tree until Thanksgiving. I’ve been in stores with entire sections cut off for Christmas decor already, and even heard a Christmasy song on TV last week, too.

I’m not even done raking my leaves.

I’m sure there will be hundreds of blogs and articles about getting back to “old-fashioned” Christmases and values and saying bah-humbug to commercialism. And thousands more toting their wares.

How can we escape the mania that is now called HallowThankMas?

I have a 5 year-old and a 8-week-old in the house these days. They make me want to go all out for Christmas — something I’ve let slide the last few years. Trees and decorations and Christmas Villages — all the stuff that made my Christmas fun through my formative years.

Yet they start advertising toys and merchandise so early, that by the time you get around buying that one “special” thing, that “special” thing is sold out. You don’t even have your Thanksgiving turkey bought and you are expected to decorate your house with garland and lights and blow-up snowmen. If you don’t, your kids, your grandkids, wonder what’s wrong with you.

I know it’s a bit early to gripe about a holiday three holidays away, but sometimes the pressure to roll along with the tide gets to be too much. I already don’t put my tree up until after Thanksgiving; I don’t watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas or Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life until Christmas week. I do drive down Candy Cane Lane during December, and enjoy the parties and appearances of the pretend Santas and the choirs in church.

But there has to be a line drawn between the golden hues of autumn and the snowfall of Christmas Eve. There has to be an appreciation of each special day for its own sake. It’s hard to buy Halloween decorations for your own little celebration when Christmas lights are blinking down at the end of the aisle. It’s hard to get your family together for a Thanksgiving Day dinner when everyone’s planning New Year’s Eve already.

I admit, I’m not an angel. “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas in Sarajevo” never get old. I make an effort to share the “old ways” with my kids and grandkids, the meaning behind the words, the love, the magic of the Christmas season.

But I refuse to give in to full-fledged commercialism.

At least until Black Friday. That’s when my new TV will go on sale.