If you're like most of us, you like to feign horrible illnesses, injury and incarceration to avoid family gatherings, mostly due to your family being the sorts of people who shame trailer parks and shanty towns everywhere. Please say that's not just me. Still, they’re family and occasionally they corner you and you're forced to endure the wedding of yet another cousin. And as it happens, just yesterday I found myself looking for vermouth or furniture polish or some kind of brain-destroying elixir at grandma’s place when my search brought me to this thing;
My grandmother has a drawer full of Pro Caulk, still in the package and totally untouched. Because when the hell is my aged grandmother going to get down on her titanium knees to caulk anything? The terror and despair within me was quickly replaced by glee and the spirit of the hunt. If grandma would buy something off television called Pro Caulk, what else did she fall victim to? There’s no way this was the only thing, no one starts their addiction with Pro Caulk. I had to investigate. Plus, it gave me an excuse to be elsewhere in the house and avoid my uncle telling us about the abscess he needs to have lanced.
Jack LaLanne Power Juicer
A quick scan of the kitchen revealed the juicer in a cupboard full of kitchen appliances and utensils that dated back to the Depression. There was also a manual sausage grinder, a garlic press and about a half dozen melon ballers. Is that normal for women in their 70’s? Probably best to not ask.
The Jack Lalanne Juicer arguably was newish, they’ve only existed for maybe a decade or so, as far as I know, despite Lalanne himself being in his mid 100’s when he started selling them. I assume grandma bought this because Lalanne’s velvet-ensconced pecs enticed her. She’s been single since the early 1990s, she probably has disgusting needs and desires. And what old lady wouldn’t like a man made of leather and birch bark wearing a blue jumpsuit? The fact he's currently dead means nothing.
Grandma’s Thoughts: “It makes really good juice, but I got it all bunged up with a banana one time. Why are you in my cupboards?”
I had seen this earlier in the living room and was forced to return to the crowd of family members to confirm its existence. A blanket with sleeves. Yep. It was blue and amorphous and still stinking of the 300% markup over a regular blanket.
This one is easier to figure out than the caulk (ha) simply because the Snuggie was carefully designed in a lab by thieves who hate the elderly. It’s everything no one has ever needed unless they have poor circulation or a Civil War-era home in desperate need of insulation. It’s a blanket, right? I saw the commercial but seriously, it’s a blanket.
Grandma’s Thoughts: “It’s not a blanket. Look, it has sleeves.”
Back to the kitchen because grandma assured me she had more awesome stuff (her exact words were “really good deals”) that she’d found on TV. Sure enough, one cupboard over from the juicer was the Magic Bullet. I’ve see the infomercial for this far too many times, late at night trying to get work done and too lazy to change the channel. It features a perky blonde in a sun dress and an Englishman who continually refers to the fat guy I the infomercial as “Vermin.” I know he must be saying Vernon or Berman or something but no matter how many times I see it, I hear Vermin. Plus the asshole tries to convince me that turning a tomato, an onion and some cilantro into mush makes salsa.
Grandma’s Thoughts: “I used it to grate cheese one time. It was a whiz.”
Though not nearly as impressive as the Slap Chop commercial, the Shamwow commercial was still a winner and introduced the world to Vince, the Shamwow Guy, who later gained fame for being bit by a hooker. I told my grandma that and she told me to stop being indecent.
In the pantry there’s a pack of neatly folded Shamwows along with various other dish towels and assorted kitchen wiping implements. They’re pretty pristine but grandma assures me she’s used them many times and they’re German.
Grandma’s Thoughts: “ They’re German!”
This is as unsurprising as learning that grandma buys produce off the discount shelf because it’s only at 45% bruise coverage, meaning it’s still viable to eat and a little gentler on her dentures anyway. Ginsu knives have been on the market since TV producers realized you could literally wrap poop in foil, show someone trying to do it “the old fashioned way” and sell it for only three easy payments of $19.95 and people will buy it.
Grandma has about dozen of these in her drawer, three of which are sporting seriously melted handles. Like dangerously melted, it’s like wrapping gum around a sharp object and hoping it’s safe to use. Grandma assures me they’re safe to use as she only had them on the stove for a little while. They still cut great.
Grandma’s Thoughts: “They say you can cut a tin can with them, but I don’t know why you’d want to.”
Deep in the recesses of grandma’s basement where there’s more lead and mercury per square inch than in a typical Chinese toy factory, I found this thigh master in a box of crap that included knotted up patio lantern strings, warped Tupperware and a mason jar that had actual food of some kind in it that was likely jarred sometime during the Korea war. There may be a prank for another article in there, but we’ll wait and see.
Part of the foam covering seemed to have been gnawed away, either by mice or grandma herself, and it was mastering no thighs at all as it refused to move in any direction. I wrestled with it for about 30 seconds before pondering it wedged between my grandmother’s sweaty thighs, at which point I hurled it back into its sinister box and cursed its very existence.
Grandma’s Thoughts: “Oh that, I bought that from Suzanne Somers.”
Tornado Pepper Spray
I personally had never seen this psychotic product advertised on TV but the box has one of those red stickers to assure me it is targeted towards the deranged shut ins of the world who need shrieking strobe-light shooting pepper spray devices.
Grandma says she’s never had to use this but you can never be too careful. The box tells me it’s law enforcement grade 10% pepper spray with a strobe light to blind attackers, a 125 decibel alarm and it all goes off at the push of a single button. How she’s managed to not kill the cat with this, I have no idea.
Grandma’s Thoughts: “It’s for those sex killers. They attack older ladies!”