Gentle Reader,

This fake world of ours is run by plastic people, who want our money... all of it. To accomplish this, they must convince us that products that have no real value are indispensable. They have to create discontent within us. They must convince us that we are too fat, too thin, smell bad, wear unfashionable clothes, aren't sexy enough, etc. Creating dissatisfaction opens our wallets. Let's watch them in action.

When I turn the TV on, chances are that I will see someone pumping iron or running. (He may be unable to tell right from wrong, but my, oh my, does he look good!) Perhaps, he is working at one of those weird machines that exercises every part of the body. They are capable of finding and torturing muscles that didn't even exist when I was a kid. And, that's because a sadist invented those muscles the day I turned forty.

Next, an expert cautions me to count the grams of fat and sodium in everything I eat. This is followed by an admission that the cholesterol obsession of the last several years may have overstated the problem, that eating foods high in fiber cause gas, and that the wonders of science
include a new chemical that will make my yucky, fake food taste delicious. Of course, I know that next year the wonders of science will include a discovery that this new chemical causes cancer. (Hey, Guys! I know this is asking a lot, but could you find which delicious foods are going to kill me and, then, stick with your story (about how they're going to kill me) longer than it takes to eat a Big Mac, please?)

The commercials start the moment I sit down, with a bowl of buttered popcorn. (Eating this is supposed to give me a guilty conscience, but, contrary to what is implied, eating butter is not worse than lying, cheating and stealing. )

My first bite coincides with the first commercial. It tells me that if I spend a fortune, I can lose all of the ugly fat that my popcorn will produce. I don't fall for the first commercial, so the second one is served up with my second bite of popcorn. In this one, a sexy girl and an unbelievably ugly
guy are preparing to eat dinner. The girl sprays something awful on their food and coos, " I can't believe it's not butter." Maybe, I should tell her that it isn't, but since I'm eating real butter on my popcorn, and she is eating runny, plastic goo on her dinner, I haven't the heart to set her straight.

Right after the runny, plastic goo succeeds in making my tummy feel funny, a gorgeous girl begins to sing the praises of a new phone system. (No! I don't want it!) The camera starts to swing and sway. I keep looking around for the Hawaiian dance band that's causing this undulating motion, but there isn't one, and it doesn't matter anyway, because if they don't come up with a dramamine commercial in just about ten seconds, I'm in big trouble, because the bathroom has been taken captive by a veritable hoard of little scrubbing bubbles, singing at the top of their tiny bristles, and I can't get in there, and I am going to toss my cookies (popcorn )!!

By now, I am so traumatized that I turn the TV off, go to bed and pull the covers over my head. I would consider taking two aspirins, but I'm sure that I saw a commercial warning me that aspirin causes obesity, or maybe it causes hair loss. No, I think it's bad breath, or, it could be constipation. I am becoming confused! Maybe if I take two aspirins, I will get my ZZZs. Help! I think I'm losing my grip.

I don't think I am up to the modern, glitzy world of con men who want to sell me everything from fake butter to fake hair, fake eggs to fake people. Each guarantees me that if I buy his product, I will become leaner, younger, more attractive and rich. Very rich. Right after I get the formula for becoming rich, very rich, the financial news tells me that everything is going to crash, and that I'm going to have to live in a grass hut on a tropical island, because I will be broke. Is that a promise?

Do you suppose that the experts could spend less time on the less important details of our diet and more time on the more important details of our society? For instance: A walk in a big city park is going to kill me a lot faster than a walk into McDonald's. Knives and bullets are faster than cholesterol. And, since most students think that there is nothing wrong with cheating, maybe we could concentrate a little less on their flabby muscles and a little more on their flabby sense of honor. In addition, If we don't want teens to have babies, maybe we should stop teaching them to have sex. That is what causes it. Remember?

Is it possible that we are spending too much time fiddling with things of lesser urgency, while Rome (America) is burning down around our ears?

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