'As seen on TV'
the January/February 2003 issue of Homecoming Magazine)
So, about a year ago, I got a certified letter from 'Gaither
International Enterprises, Ltd., Inc., © '
saying they would be starting The Homecoming Magazine.
Six issues a year for the price of 12. As I read farther down
the long and droning letter, they finally got to the point.
Would I be interested in writing an article for their new
magazine? And not just any article. The featured article.
could I resist? Yes, of course I would be interested in writing
the featured article. I folded up the letter, called
my people who called their people who forthwithly notified
the attorneys who had their people work out all the details.
I learned the name of the article: 'The Misadventures of Mark'.
What is that about?
I asked one of my people, she quickly contacted the editor-in-chief,
Ms. Roberta Croteau, who answered, "Whatever he wants
it to be about."
I want it to be about? I figured, since it was the featured
article and it was about whatever I wanted it to be about,
it should be about misadventures in style...first-class...to
The Greek Islands...Rome...Paris... And the 'misadventure' would be that I left
my cell phone at home. Or, I'll go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef
and forget my sunscreen. Or, go sky-diving in Arizona and do a funny,
skip-trip-and-fall when I exit the plane. Or...or...or take
excursion down the Colorado and make some real funny faces
for the camera and stuff. After all, this is being underwritten
by Gaither and everyone knows he loves me and wants me to
I decided to call the editor-in-chief, myself, and ask her
to drop by with some of her people. I would like to share
with them my exciting and innovative ideas for the article.
She said she would drop everything and be there that afternoon
with a photographer. I quickly told one of my people to start
cleaning the house. The Editor of this soon-to-be-prestigious
magazine was coming to my 'humble
abode' and bringing a photographer! She must really
be excited about my exciting and innovative ideas. Brilliant,
yet, slightly-on-the-edge. I figured she was having pictures
taken so she could document the birth of literary history.
precisely 3:30 p.m., there was a knock on the door...
opened it and there stood Roberta Croteau, editor-in-chief
of Homecoming Magazine, and Buffy 'the photographer'.
In all my years of album covers, magazine articles, concert
reviews and head-shot photo sessions, I have never met a photographer
named Buffy. And that record still stands. She wasn't
a photographer. She was a secretary, who happened to be available
around 3:30 p.m., who said, "Shuah, I can run a camera."
But, she couldn't. She didn't even know where to stick the
batteries. I was about to tell her where to stick 'em when,
suddenly, I noticed Roberta was holding two sacks. My attitude
changed quickly when I realized she came bearing gifts.
before I was able to grab the loot and unfold my vision for
the article, Roberta snatched the goodies back, beyond my
reach, and started talking. And talking. And talking. She
said that her idea for my article was for me to review
some amazing products sold on TV. She started pulling these
'wonder' items out of the bags and my jaw dropped.
of my dreams were fading like foot odor in a bubble bath.
She said she thought it would be 'funny' if I gave a critique
on each item.
I had to do it. I told my people to agree with her people.
So, I was committed.
are the items she brought for me to review: 'Flip, Flip, Fold', the ultimate in laundry
the perfect kitchen companion; and the world-famous Thigh Master. Well, it wasn't actually
the Thigh Master. It was the 'ThighTekXL', a cheaper, more-affordable
version of the Thigh Master. All three bought, not from a
TV commercial, but a store at a discount mall that sells products
originally sold on TV that didn't sell well.
of a sudden, it was becoming clear. This magazine financed
by 'Gaither International Enterprises, Ltd., Inc., ©
', was on a budget! I realized I was going to have
to sacrifice quality journalism for the sake of a few extra
pennies! But, I'll make it work!
at times like these - when dreams fall, hopes fade and aspirations
evaporate - that I say to myself, "Buck-up, little camper!
You can do it!"
I will lay down my dreams, die-to-self, let bygones be bygones
and evaluate three of the 'hottest' items not selling much
on infomercials today.
first item up for my examination is the 'original' Flip,
Flip, Fold with its 'patented anti-static design'.
Turns out this is a blue plastic contraption with holes in
it, which claims to fold any item in five seconds.
I found that fraudulent.
won't fold 'any item' in five seconds. It won't fold refrigerators,
televisions or patio furniture. Which, of course, no one would
want to fold. But that's beside the point. It says it can
fold 'ANY ITEM' in five seconds. I think that is a libelous
The first thing I did was read the
instructions. I hate instructions.
prefer products that come out of the box knowing exactly what
they're supposed to do, without directions, manuals or written
wanted it to flip, flip and fold in five seconds. Put the
perfectly-folded items on the correct shelves. Place itself
back in the closet. While I had a cup of coffee, on the couch,
by the fire, watching Oprah. But, as I found out, this
is an owner-operated contraption.
is what I call 'a stupid item'. It's much easier to just hire
someone to fold the clothes. Or, have your live-in help do
it (children, spouses, parents - whoever).
is a soon-to-become yard
sale item. Don't buy at retail.
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