It Slices, It Dices- You Can’t Live Without It!

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Human beings are by far the laziest species in the animal kingdom. In fact, I?m convinced that we?ve spent the past two million years working to earn this title.

Well, maybe I should rephrase that statement: Human beings from the United States of America are the laziest species in the animal kingdom.

To illustrate what I mean, watch a few hours of late night television (I know this is out of the ordinary for college students, but give it a try). Within mere seconds, you?ll be introduced to the hallmark of American culture?the infomercial.

The whole idea of the infomercial is to prey on the laziness of Americans, in turn creating more laziness.

Basically, a group of people get together in a makeshift office in the basement of an insurance building in downtown Milwaukee, come up with a cheap and useless product, get a has-been child actor from the ?70s to promote it, and sell it all (exclusive bonus gift included) for only 16 easy payments of $19.99.

They know that some hapless dupes out there will be watching from their recliners?ice cream and potato chips in hand?as they dangle the promise of an exercise machine that ?burns fat in no time flat? in front of them.

Of course, they show the overweight models in workout clothes from the ?80s, sweating and suffering as they do archaic exercises like the sit-up.

They make some comment about the hopelessness of losing weight this way, then cut to the thin, smiling models using the new machine that makes exercising fun and easy.

Never mind the fact that the machine could be made from a bike tire and some wooden dowels, or that it will inevitably end up in the ?D.I. Pile? anyway?people will buy it.

However, I should point out that, compared to other infomercials, exercise-machine ads look downright respectable.

For example, take my personal favorite,??The Magic Turban.? OK, it might actually be called ?The Tricky Turban? or ?The Towel to End All Towels,? I can?t really recall.

What it should be called, though, is, ?The I?m-Too Pathetic-to-Wrap-a-Towel Around-My-Head-Like-Normal People Turban.?

The infomercial for this thing shows women struggling to wrap their hair in towels after they get out of the shower.

It explains that using regular bath towels can be dangerous because of possible strain to the back and neck (I don?t know the exact number of towel-related injuries reported last year, but I can?t imagine it?s that high).

Luckily for us, this turban?which is actually a washcloth with some wire?will provide a safe and simply way to meet all our hair-wrapping needs.

But perhaps I?m being unfair by singling out the ingenious engineers of this fine product. In reality, the list of ridiculous products is endless?from electronic-contact cleaners and spray-on hair to mini chicken roasters and egg flippers (you don?t want any nasty wrist injuries).

The saddest thing about these infomercials?besides staring at Ron Popeil?s receding hair line?is that they make life all about finding shortcuts.

Life used to mean building your own house, raising your own food, making meals and clothes from scratch and maintaining the general health and education of your family.

Now, life means waking up each day to the sound of a digitally programmed alarm clock, eating pre-packaged, genetically engineered meals, brushing your teeth with an electronic toothbrush and watching your cable television?complete with 789 channels and Web access.

Yes, thanks to advancements in technology, life today is much easier. We can take care of our basic necessities quickly?ridding ourselves of the hassles associated with survival.

The result is an abundance of free time. Of course, we have to use all that great free time to get a job and work more hours in order to make more money in order to pay for all those modern conveniences.

Wow?how lucky are we?

Cassandra welcomes feedback at: [email protected].