Chef Crowley had a knife for any and all culinary eventualities. There was a little tiny knife that you could use to transform a radish into a mouse - tail and everything people. There was a knife that sort of twisted down inside any solid vegetable giving you a super nutritious and edible slinky. (The potato was my favorite. French fried slinky. What's bad about that?) There was a knife that was kind of v-shape so that you could fancy up your boring old melons into fluted edged baskets that you would then fill with all kinds of other fruit that you fancied up right there in your own fancy kitchen saving you hundreds of dollars a year in catering expenses. (Apparently the soaring costs of catering expenses was a big selling point for the "11 year old girls living in Billings Montana" demographic.)
I had no idea when I was 11 years old that Chef Crowley was doing a commercial. I sort of thought he was doing a kind of public service announcement for aspiring food preparation experts the whole world 'round. I had never heard the term "infomercial". I didn't know any better. You'd think I would've learned, but...
After I learned of the death of Billy Mays, (don't pretend like I need to explain who this guy is), I started to think of all of the things that I have purchased from TV infomercials. Then I called my family for an informal survey. It appears that this is a congenital defect for which there is no cure, and over which we have no control. I regret to say that my sweet son is also affected by this disorder. Sad. One day he said to me ... and I quote... "Mom, I really think Grammy should get "Life Alert". Then she can live alone, without ever being alone." I thanked him for his concern for his grandmother and then laughed until I wet my pants. (Not really, but I laughed pretty hard.) I'm sure my mom will be totally on board with wearing the stylish Life Alert necklace.
So... In honor of Billy (and his totally inexplicable hair - whoa) here is a list of my favorite TV infomercial purchases. (Either I or a member of my family actually own/have owned/own multiples of each of these items. I'm not saying who owns them though. Confidentiality is an important part of the healing process.) Note: You don't even want to see the full list, I actually broke it down into categories: beauty, exercise, kitchen accessories, cleaning products, strange and unlikely children's toys, misc. clutter.
10. The Slap Chop- This is one of those containers with a blade that has a sort of plunger thing attached to it. The plunger thing moves the blade up and down and ... voila. Chopped stuff. Now, the reason that this made my favorites list has nothing to do with the product, but with the commercial. The pitch man is chopping nuts (because you can't do that with a knife) and he states emphatically, as only a man can "you're gonna love my nuts." Sorry, it makes me laugh. A little 13 year-old boyish, but there you go.
9. Moon Sand - Whoever came up with this stuff should be forced to visit the homes of everyone who bought some and pick up every last grain with their bare hands. Also, I don't think it actually comes from the moon. I think it might be the bi-product of some kind of industrial waste disposal project and I'm pretty sure it's gonna give somebody cancer.
8. Caruso Steam Curlers- Okay, this one is just mean. Mr. Caruso, who I assume is ex-mafia turned infomercial hair dresser, promised me - I mean he promised me, that his curlers that were heated with the power of steam could transform my stubbornly-straight-awesome-for-the-70s-not-awesome-for-the-80s hair into curly fabulousness in 15 minutes. Turns out, steam... good for the industrial revolution and saunas, but not so much for curling the hair of a desperate 13 year old. All I got out of this was burned fingers... and what you get when curly hair is exposed to steam - frizz. Curse you Mr. Caruso.
7. Core Secrets- Also known as "that big silver ball that has a pile of dry cleaning on it" or sometimes "the birth ball" (if you don't know why this is "the birth ball" you've never had back labor with a baby - count yourself lucky.)
6. The Gazelle- Seriously. I think this may have been purchased out of fear. Tony Little is scary and there's no way around this. I didn't know that face skin could be so tight, nor did I know that "mandex" (my word for man spandex) was acceptable attire on anyone not competing for multiple Olympic medals. In swimming. Not gymnastics. Yuck. (Don't even get me started on, what my husband has christened, his "tonytail".)
5. Ronco "Set It and Forget It Rotisserie Cooker" - Finally. A countertop rotisserie cooker for the whole family. Too bad for you... every time it's magic rotisseries make a turn it sounds like a car that is long overdue for a break job. We used this little beauty to cook a Christmas roast and the whole family was on sedatives by dinner to stop us from committing Roncocide. If "set it and forget it" means "stand and watch it cook so that you can figure out if your rib roast is off center" then I'm totally with them. (The best part of this is the giant, elbow length, latex gloves that you wear while pulling/prying the meat from the skewers. Have you ever tried to hold 10 pounds of hot meat in too big latex gloves. Hopefully the "5 second rule" applies to Christmas dinner.)
4. The Ped Egg - The commercials make me gag a little, (who really wants to see someone empty out their nasty foot skin shavings into the trash), but if it helps combat public grooming then I'm for it.
3. Urine Gone- Yep, that's its real name. This handy cleaning solution comes with its very own blue light to help you search out whatever dried bodily fluids might be hiding in your home. It's like playing CSI. Mostly I just laugh at the name.
2. The Flowbee- I've decided that this was invented, produced and marketed on a dare - it was either going to be a handy vacuum haircutting device, or a handy vacuum hickey machine. Too bad for my nephews the haircutting thing won out.
1. I think it's called "Nads": Edible Honey Based Body Wax- If anyone ever tries to sell you something that promises to pull out your hair by the root without causing any pain, straighten yourself up, point your finger at them, and yell "liar" (picture Billy Crystal's wife in "The Princess Bride" while you're doing it). Of course you only need to do this if buying something with the words "edible" and "wax" in the description weren't enough of a warning for you. They weren't for me. I schmered this stuff all over one of my legs, gave a mighty yank and ... not so much "pulling the hair out" as just "pulling the hair". Not one hair was actually removed by this alleged hair removal system. However, it did effectively remove the top two layers of skin leaving me looking like I had a giant rug burn on one shin and calf. PS - the reason it's edible is that you have to practically chew off your own leg to get the stuff off.
Note: (It was a tough choice for #1 between this one and something my sisters and I loving refer to as "idiot sticks". These are essentially popsicle sticks covered in fine grain sand paper used to "gently buff away unwanted facial hair". Yeah - I know.)
There you have it. The consumer sins of my family. Maybe we'll start a support group for those afflicted with the dreaded "as seen on TV" addiction. If all this sounds familiar - just put on your Snuggy, and head on over. I promise, you're gonna love our nuts.