How stupid do they think we are?
I have been seeing commercials lately for a hair rejuvenation product. It’s targeted to women with thinning hair. After some of the usual mumbo jumbo about the efficacy of this miracle product, viewers are directed to call now – but only if your last name begins with A-N. If your last name begins with O-Z, you are directed to call after 9am tomorrow morning. Really? I mean really?
How stupid do they think we are? Demand for this product is so heavy, they have to cut the number of callers in half (that’s presuming there are half as many thin-haired women whose last name begins with A-N….or forget it, this is ridiculous). So let’s say your last name is Stupidovitz and you decide you can’t wait until tomorrow…you’re calling RIGHT NOW! Operators are standing by to take your call. Oh, sorry, your name begins with S. You’ll have to call after 9am tomorrow. But you have to order now. Can’t you make an exception? Okay, but don’t ever tell anyone that I let you order tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow. I could lose my fantastic job over this. Will that be MasterCard, Visa or American Express?
Do the makers or marketers of this product know something that we don’t? For example, is it possible that women with thinning hair are also beginning to experience thinning critical judgment? The hair loss is also a factor in brain cell loss?
I used to think that infomercials must have an ever shrinking audience of gullible buyers, but I now believe that commercials for products such as Keranique must be successful. Why else would they continue to buy airtime to hawk their product. Someone is buying it (either that very night or the next day after 9am). This apparent widespread gullibility may explain a lot of other aberrations of logic (take a look at voter referendums in this country if you want see the power of twisted persuasion).
And speaking of twisted and gullibility, don’t even get me started on Henry Winkler (The Fonz) peddling reverse mortgages.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.
Not So Conspicuous Consumption
After we settled into our first house in the suburbs my dad decided a cool, dark finished basement was the place he wanted to spend Saturday afternoons watching ball games. The Cubs. You know: “Wait’ll next year?” A glutton for punishment.
He decided the way to fix up the space on the cheap was to commandeer lumber and other assorted materials from the neighboring construction sites. No barriers then, no chain-link, razor-wired fences, no streetlights. He believed it was all very innocent and the builders would hardly miss a few pieces of wood. After all, they were making a fortune on these houses, right? And so he set upon a midnight raiding plan.
He’d sneak out late at night, usually after I was in bed, and run across the street and pilfer some 2 x 4’s or whatever from the house that was going up. My mother would stand in the front door and open it for him as he juggled four or five pieces of lumber, giggling like a schoolgirl when he ran in the door; every night, starting on Monday night. He did this until he had a nice pile in the basement, then he’d build some walls up real fast and partially cover them with Walnut wood paneling (he bought that), then he’d go out and do it again. Finally my brother got involved. The two of them could handle two or three times the material in the same time; much more expedient, over and over ‘til they had all the lumber he needed from about four different houses. The giggling doorman remained on duty. To this day it never ceases to amaze me they never got caught and for the longest time none of the builders ever seemed to notice stuff was missing. Or so we thought.
Finally one night, my mother, who was reconnoitering in the dark, in her aluminum folding chair on the front porch, noticed the cops were coming by a little more often. Then we saw them a couple days later, sitting down at the end of the block in the middle of the night; my dad held off. He needed just one more small piece of plywood, he said. He’d have to buy that my mother said.
It was over for now, but we had 99% of a great new beautiful basement with fancy lights (he bought those) and a tile floor, (where he got that we do not know; we didn’t ask). And we’d, all of us, sit down there in the coolness and dimness of the new rec room on a hot August Saturday afternoon eating Ritz crackers with peanut butter and watch the Cubbies lose again.
Wayne Mikosz is an ex-restauranteur, writer, residential designer, collaborative painter with the love of his life and a Certified Appraiser of collectible automobiles, trucks and motorcycles. Visit Convergence Studios. Check out his new book, 10 Stories of Life, Love and Death at www.blurb.com.
Divorce Old Life–Start Dating
We’ve been fortunate to have been visited by two different parties who have come to Mexico to either check it out for a future retirement destination or just to goof off.
New expats, filled with hope and enthusiasm, arrive in their new homeland. They feel all the excitement of someone on vacation in an exotic land. But then time passes…years may pass and one day, they realize that they are no longer thrilled with their choice. I think it’s like any other relationship. Some will last a life time while others will last only a few chapters. So what?!?! If you are retired and have not anchored yourself to any particular geography, it’s absolutely fine to move. See some more of the planet. Divorce your old life, and start dating a new one!
The truth of the matter is that a significant number of expats will not stay in teir newly chosen homeland forever. Some may move back to their home country while others move on to another expat destination. Those of us who have chosen the life of an expat have faced the numerous challenges associated with such a move. Some folks truly adapt to their new lives, their roots growing deeper and stronger with each passing month. Those folks love their lives or at least, claim to love their lives while others struggle to merge into a new culture.
And to be perfectly candid, some who are living on the financial edge may be trapped in their new expat country without the necessary resources to make a change even if they wanted to. Many have said the language barrier provided a greater challenge than anticipated. Some, like Diane and I, discovered that medical services were lacking in some critical disciplines and moved to another location for access to improved medical care.
We have structured our life so as to be able to cross borders and breathe the salt air of a different sea or ocean anytime we choose. Our lives now fit into 6 suitcases (okay…maybe 7 or 8) and if the need dictates or the whim arises, we can simply buy a couple of airline tickets to begin our next chapter. There is nothing more important to us than us and we now have good friends on several continents who share similar philosophies. We belong to a wonderful tribe of folks…folks like you! We are Expats (or future Expats)! We are adventurous. We are bold and we are grateful! But most of all, we are happy!
Donald (Don) Murray is a retired guy living in Cancun with his Pocket Babe, Diane. You can follow him on his blog, www.donaldmurrayexpat.com. He has written a top-selling Kindle book, Our Ecuador Retirment...Part Two is available for download from Amazon. He now spends his time doing whatever the hell he wants!
He Turned Into a Lady
I dreamed I was at Bob Dylan's house in Malibu, where I occupied a large recliner chair in the living room. I'd been there all day and, although I was with him and a number of other people, listening to music, drinking wine and talking, he didn't acknowledge me. He didn't ignore me, I was just one of the guests, no one important.
He put different albums on the stereo—all vinyl discs—but none of the music really registered on me. It was good background music, the kind that people talk over in small gatherings like this one. It was Dylan's music, of course, and, although I liked most of it, none of it stood out to me as being anything new or any different from anything he'd released over the years. Mostly, I just enjoyed being there, looking out at the Pacific Ocean while listening to Dylan and his friends talking, laughing, and feeling relaxed and mellow.
This went on for what felt like all night. Finally, this morning, right before I woke up, he put on a copy of an album he was about to release, what we used to call an acetate. It was zydeco inspired, unique, all Dylan, and it was amazing. One song in particular possessed my attention, one in a minor key. I told everyone to be quiet and listen, that this was something special, and we listened.
Toward the end of the recording Dylan stood up to leave the room and he came over to where I sat, took my hand in his, and walked behind me around the chair. When I looked up at him again, he'd turned into a Lady, refined, elegant, generous. I kissed his (her) hand in gratitude and the exchange of feelings between us was so tender, I was deeply moved. I felt as if he/she had bestowed on a me a pure and significant blessing.
The music is still in my head, and that's blessing enough.
Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge, takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Incurable Insomniac and StephWaller.com.
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Armand Maréchal lives near Frankfurt, Germany and he thinks he's not much of a photographer, but we disagree. See more of his photos on flickr.