Salad shooters, anyone? Anybody buy one of those bad boys? If so, where are you keeping it nowadays? My guess would be in the storage room right next to your Bowflex. How about that Thigh Master you figured would give you an ideal set of legs with almost no effort on your part? Guess again. Or maybe you went with the Juicer, that wondrous machine that can make nutritious juice out of anything that grows, including wood pulp. My guess would be you’re back to buying juice in the a handy bottles and cans at your friendly local grocer and your Juicer is taking up valuable space that could be used for storing your brand new pasta maker.

What is it with us Americans? Is there any useless product or pill we won’t line up to buy? You’d think by now we’d be sophisticated enough to see through the transparent sales spiels promising us that such and such a product will change out lives for the better overnight. Fat guys will get automatically thin, bald guys will resemble Samson in no time. People who are in dangerous debt can spend some more or their hard earned with companies who tell them they can eliminate that debt. How? Short of hacking into your creditors’ computers and erasing your accounts you still owe what you owe, the bills you ran up are still there plus another big one to the guy he said he could fix the situation as easy as one-two-three. Yeah, right.

Ladies that have rear ends designed pretty much like they always were buy equipment that promises them “Buns of Steel.” Buns of Steel? Speaking as a man who really likes the way a woman’s bottom jiggles and how soft and smooth they are, I can’t think of anything less appealing than a rock-hard butt on my lady. Happily almost no one uses this apparatus more than a couple of times so we’re not plagued by a lot of women making loud clanging noises when they sit down. Most of them have stored these miracle devices with their Stair Masters, a device that simulates climbing stairs even though there’s no shortage of actual stairs anywhere you look that you can climb for free and get some valuable exercise while you’re headed to your destination. Of course most of us opt to take the elevator.

Looking around my own house I see all sorts of things I never use and never will that I paid good cash money to possess. Kitchen implements, tools, holders for God-knows-what that are holding other useless things I’ll never use. I have a rack in the garage to hold garden tools but I have no garden, having eliminated that work-intensive portion of my property with a judicious use of cement and marble chips. I bought a shed for the backyard to hold my patio furniture and barbecue grill in the wintertime, products designed to withstand four seasons worth of Mother Nature. So I suppose the shed will get filled with things like my George Foreman Grill that I never tried once and the outdoor shower that attaches to my hose that my wife thought would be indispensable in the summertime but seems to be quite dispensable indeed, having provided exactly no one with a supposedly refreshing cold shower in it’s brief career.

I guess having the shed is a good thing since it frees up space in the garage where a lot of our useless items were starting to crowd the car. I’m tempted to hold a garage sale and pass some of these things off to somebody else, maybe put a price sticker on each item reflecting how much I’m willing to pay someone to haul this piece of crap out of my life. I figure it’ll be worth the couple of hundred bucks to get rid of these thing that serve only as a reminder of how foolish I’ve been with my hard earned. Why do I own a wok? I do the lion’s share of the cooking here in Casa Crespo and can’t ever remember using the thing. I suspect it was a gift from somebody looking to free up space in their house. It’s a lot of hard work finding a place for all these labor-saving devices, most of which, like pasta makers and juicers, are actually labor-creating. and godawful mess-creating items Thanks, but…

I own three blenders, two food processors and a coffee grinder. I can’t for the life of me figure out why when the one really old blender that I have does just fine chopping up whatever I want chopped up. I have knife sharpeners that sharpen nothing, giant roasting pans that don’t fit into any oven I’ve ever had and a special rack hanging on the kitchen wall to hold cooking implements I can’t identify and I’m a cook. The lovely wife likes the way they look all shiny and important looking so she dusts and polishes them every so often. They’re in pretty good shape. Like new, even, not a scratch.

But I console myself with the fact that I’m not as dumb as some other people and never bought a rowing machine. One of my neighbors keeps offering me one for free but I’m waiting for a better offer. He’s the fool who took my treadmill off my hands for nothing. Now it’s his problem. I could have told him that it makes an excellent shoe rack, but why do the math for him? I know for a fact that he”s never trod on the treadmill, never even plugged it in. But he does own a treadmill now, and a rowing machine and a Bowflex too so he can tell his wife that he’s quite serious about getting in shape. He’s just big-boned, that’s all. Real big boned.

Maybe he’s taking the wrong tack here. A cursory glance at TV and print ads tells us that there’s hundreds of easy diets and magic pills available that will melt away your excess weight and unclog your arteries of gunk in no time at all with no exertion on your part. And the food they send you for these diets is satisfying and darned tasty. too. The slim and attractive people who sell them say so and are all smiles and earnest enthusiasm. You’re not allowed to lie on TV, right? Lots of these diets and potions are endorsed by doctors, or at least guys who play doctors on TV. Isn’t that good enough? So what if the pills are really expensive and so is the special scientifically prepared food? You’ll be looking like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in only a few few short weeks!

After that goal is attained then presumably one can resume the bacon cheeseburger and potato chip regimen with no ill effects. After all, you’ll be at your ideal weight and enjoying unprecedented heart health, so what’s the harm in knowing back a few cold ones and slathering the butter on a big old tub of popcorn? You earned it with your sacrifice and will power. What’s that number again….1-800- FLIMFLAM? Let me get out the old credit card. To heck with all that nonsense about eating properly and getting plenty of exercise, these folks can fix me as easy as channel-surfing! My, oh my, what will they think of next?

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