Life’s Coloring Book A column by Suzi Walls for The Daily Herald

What do you think about infomercials? Most folks think they are a pain in the neck. They contaminate valuable television time with worthless information about products designed to take our hard-earned money. This is from the consumer’s point of view; but to the seller, this marketing tactic has been a God-send. We consumers are lucky that infomercial prime-time is in the middle of the night – except for Walzie and me. It is not necessarily lucky that our TV stays on all night long.
Recently, I dreamed about renewing my youth. My brain was being bombarded with subliminal messages about how to refresh my complexion, flatten my tummy, gain the energy of a six-year-old, eradicate the many years of built up toxins from my digestive tract, and as an added bonus – I’d lose some weight. When I awoke the next morning, I found a toll-free phone number written in the dust on our headboard. Either a ghost did it or an infomercial got to me during the night.
I told Mr. Skeptic about the magic potion that I “dreamed” about. He suggested that I phone that phantom number; he could stand to lose a few pounds and a little extra energy sure wouldn’t hurt. And then he cackled apprehensively. So the miracle potion would arrive in seven to ten days – unless I wanted to pay an extra $25 for express shipping. Shucks, I’ve been building up toxins in my system for nearly sixty years – another week wouldn’t hurt, besides that extra $25 would get us a big bucket of Kentucky Fried toxins.
A few days ago a bubble-wrapped manila envelope arrived. It contained six bottles of Dr. Feelgood’s Amazing Colon Cleanser. I quickly popped two of the alfalfa-smelling, horse-sized tablets and swallowed. They stuck. I gulped hard and they slowly rolled down my throat. My belch smelled like a hamster’s.
Walzie read the label. “You know, this is just an expensive laxative.”
“Naw, Dr. Feelgood claims that it’s much more than that,” I told him. “A lady on the infomercial lost 44 pounds the first month on this stuff. Oh, I can feel the toxins loosening already.”
“Yeah, well, I’d say that lady was full of it. You go ahead. I’ll wait and see what it does to you.”
And so for three days, I ate the rodent pills and belched alfalfa. Nothing happened.
“Come on Walzie,” I coaxed. “Get with the program.”
“Not yet. I’ll wait a little while longer.”
“Honey, all those toxins are building up and making you lazy.”
“Think so, huh? What I think is that really soon all that herbal stuff in your guts is going to explode. And it t’aint gonna be pretty.”
And so, we went to Walmart Supercenter for groceries. Standing in the check-out line, I felt the rumble. Surely, that wasn’t an earthquake. The epicenter rumbled again sending shock waves throughout my toxin-riddled digestive system. Suddenly, I tossed Walzie the debit card and ran. I didn’t even care that he smirked “I told you so”. And then the Richter scale shook at Sam’s Club, Big Lots, Sheetz, Red Lobster, and McDonalds. Sadly, I am now way too familiar with every public restroom between State College and Tyrone.
The remaining bottles of Amazing Colon Cleanser have been put to rest beside the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, the Ab Lounger, the Thighmaster, and the books that tell a million ways to get rich quick.
I have to admit that Walzie is the smarter one of us. He’s turned off the bedroom television so that my little sleeping brain can’t be peppered by subliminal all-night infomercials. His purchase of the Greatest All Time Country Music Hits CD plays all night long on our Bose bedroom boom box complete with surround sound. And just where did he get that CD and boom box? Yeah – you guessed it!
So now what sort of information is my brain absorbing throughout the night? Well, I now know that I can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but I can be happy if I’ve a mind to! Thank you, Roger Miller.

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