Advertisers are so monstrously effective at manipulation that they routinely compel us to buy expensive things that are completely useless! Take bottled water for example. In the vast majority of American cities, the tap water is just as good for you as the bottled variety. In fact, if water is bottled and then sold within the same state, the health regulations are not as strict as those for the local tap water! People buy the stuff for $3.50 a bottle because they believe, well, it MUST be better for you. Nope, it ain't.
Some women (and a few men) will spend $50, $100, $250 for a small bottle of skin moisturizer. "Why the hell not?" they may roar, "I'm worth it!" Of course you are because, God forbid, any of us actually look our age. Such aging would be unseemly and disquieting. But guess what? In a recent laboratory test of dozens of different moisturizers, Vaseline Intensive Care (at about $3.00 per gallon, with complimentary soup ladle) tested as high as any of the expensive ones! The cheap stuff does just as good a job when it comes to softening skin!
A similar test was also conducted with shampoos. Ya' know the $45 bottles of shampoo (8 oz.) you can purchase from your (learned) hair stylist? Well, I hate to burst your bubble (lame pun intended) but laboratory tests concluded that the 15 oz. supermarket shampoo (at $4 per bottle) leaves your hair every bit as healthy and shiny. That's right! You've been wasting your money, Ms. Aniston!
Third example: People in the "land of the free" spend BILLIONS of dollars on vitamins in order to remain healthy and strong. "Well what the hell is so wrong with this, you bitter, annoying comic?" you may roar between breathless gulps of Diet Mountain Dew. Well, Dieter, unless you have vitamin deficiencies or an abysmal (KFC-based) diet, vitamins are completely useless. Eighty percent (figure made up out of whole cloth) of citizens get enough daily vitamins to render the store-bought pills utterly redundant. But we buy em' anyway because the people in the commercials are so...so...attractive!
What the marketing cretins have so effectively done is to convince us that growing old is an unacceptable horror and we should spend as much money as possible fighting it. Even the elderly buy into this nonsense. While we should be revering them for their wisdom, their chewy chocolate chip cookies, and their potential inheritance windfall (hee), they are pathetically describing themselves as "82 years...young." How freakin' offensive. Pepsi once used as its slogan, "Be young, have fun, drink Pepsi!" I wrote to them, asking how elderly people were supposed to "be young." They brightly replied, "You're only as old as you feel." Infuriating! What the hell is so wrong with being 82 and FEELING 82?! No wonder aging in the good ol' U.S. of A. is such an emotional nightmare (accompanied by the inevitable physical difficulties).
Of course it's no longer enough to slather one's body with all manner of unnecessary, ineffective products in order to appear several years younger (it never works). Many of us now find it necessary to invest in plastic surgery. BOTOX to the forehead, facelifts, lip plumping, belly-button smoothing. Indeed, plastic surgery often makes the patients appear younger but, with each passing procedure, less "human." The wildly-creative Joan Rivers, for instance, looks to be about 40 years old (she's 73) but also appears to be from another solar system. It's sad. But we still can't get enough of her well-honed, biting wit! And her daughter? What a prodigy!
In some places (like Japan and Italy) old people are treated with dignity. Would it be too much for us to..um..ask our old people to move there as well? Do they not deserve the same respect? Of course they do. So be a good son or daughter, buy dear old Mom and Dad airline tickets, and secure your eventual place in the house of the Lord or something.
Hungry for pie,
Paul C. Rosa