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by Rose Madeline Mula

Okay, that’s it. My TV has to go. I can’t afford to keep it. No, it’s not guzzling too much electricity. It’s just that every time I turn it on, one of those insidious infomercials is blaring; and unless I’m suddenly struck deaf and blind, odds are it’s going to cost me — big time. Sure enough, even though I have vowed countless times never to watch another persuasive product promo, I’m hooked before I can find the channel-changer button on the remote.

For one thing, who can resist that featherweight vacuum cleaner that sucks up everything from a tiny grain of rice to handfuls of Fido’s fur embedded in the fibers, with no effort at all on the part of the lovely lass demonstrating the sweeper? Look, she’s picking it up with one finger! She’s smiling broadly, obviously enjoying herself. I envy her. When was the last time I had fun — and looked gorgeous — while vacuuming? Never, that’s when. Hmmm…Maybe I should buy…

No! I don’t need another vacuum cleaner! I’m changing the channel! But now the sweeper is annihilating a mountain of nuts and bolts. This I have to see. Surely, it will choke on them and die…

… It doesn’t even hiccup.

Could my vacuum do that? I don’t know, and why does it matter? I’ve never spilled a bucket of nuts and bolts on my rugs. I don’t have any nuts and bolts in my tool box. In fact, I don’t even own a tool box. Still, you never know when that might change. It wouldn’t hurt to be prepared.

This is getting dangerous. I definitely should switch the channel. Instead I watch, mesmerized, as the operator presses a button and the handle of the sweeper bends, so she doesn’t have to, and glides smoothly under beds, sofas, and even two small children playing on the floor. Ooops! They’re spilling their gooey, half-melted chocolates all over the rug! Not a problem. The magic sweeper inhales, and the mess is gone in an instant.

I search frantically for my credit card as I pick up the phone to call the 800 number now flashing on the screen. I have to hurry because if I order within the next twenty minutes, I’ll also receive a small cordless hand vacuum cleaner absolutely free of charge! All I will have to pay is additional shipping costs. I hesitate. I’m no dummy. I realize the shipping fee is probably higher than the value of the “free” vacuum.

Feeling very smart, I start to put my credit card away and pick up the remote to turn off the TV — until I hear,


If I’m one of the first five hundred people to call, in addition to the magic sweeper and the cordless hand vac, I’ll also receive, at no additional charge (except for shipping and handling) not one, but two cordless hand vacs —


That would be great. My car is such a mess. But I remember my vow not to succumb to TV temptation. I’m not going to do it! It feels good to be strong.


The announcer interrupts my self-admiration.


I don’t even wait to hear the rest before I start dialing. I mean a free two-year supply of anything has got to be a deal! That’s right, I’m so suckered in, I’ve forgotten about that shipping fee. Now, where did I put my credit card…?

I’m such an easy target. Before I can turn off the TV, another beautiful spokeswoman grabs my attention. She says she’s seventy years old. My hearing must really be going. She looks seventeen.

“You heard me!” she says, reading my mind over the airwaves. “And I owe it all to this amazing, priceless beauty cream that eradicates wrinkles and banishes blemishes overnight!”

Unfortunately, the “priceless” beauty cream isn’t. Actually, its cost is astronomical (plus shipping and handling); but can you really put a price on eternal youth? Besides, you can choose three easy payments!


Okay, so maybe I’m not so naïve as to believe the beauty cream pitch, but what about all those wonderful exercise machines that will give me the body of a super model without even breaking a sweat … the fabulous kitchen appliances and cookware that will enable me to prepare gourmet meals fit for royalty before I can say “Rachael Ray” … the keyboard (complete with simple instructions) that will have the Carnegie Hall booking agents knocking down my door … the courses in buying and selling real estate that will bring Donald Trump to his knees, begging me to choose him as my apprentice …

They all sound so good! This is bad. I need help. My TV is heavy. I can’t toss it out the window by myself.

Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.


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