Sunday, November 26, 2006


My wife and I have discovered a new nemesis: the lotion people.

In the mall, there's a cart that sells lotion--it's called mystic flame, or eternal spark, or something like that. At any rate, it seems to be peopled by low-paid exchange students with bright, shiny personalities. Seriously, these kids have the kind of creepy, in your face happiness that one usually expects from Mormons and Hare Krishnas. They're like Moonies, but they aren't selling god, and I can't understand how they can be so buoyant when they're just foisting lotion on total strangers.

Actually, I don't mind the over-the-top, saccharine happiness all that much. What I really hate is the fact that they feel obliged to attack passers by with lotion and the exact same sales pitch:

Bright-faced young person from Latin America or Eastern Europe: "Excuse me, Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

Me: "No, go ahead."

Bright-faced young person from Latin America or Eastern Europe: "Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?"

Me: "Not completely."

Bright-faced young person from Latin America or Eastern Europe: "Good, because you might want to try our new...blah, blah, blah...made with cow placenta...yackety-shmackety...incredibly rich...yadda, yadda, yadda...would bring Lenin himself back from the dead..."

The other possibility is that the smiling young moisturizer zombie approaches me with an open tube of lotion, asking if I want to try a free sample. Of course, I wouldn't mind lotion, but I have absolutely no intention of buying a tube of the crap. More to the point, I feel a little weird about people entering into my comfort zone with what is, essentially, lube. I know that this is probably my problem, but it doesn't change my irritation. What I REALLY want to do is make an incredibly rude suggestion, in the hopes that the kids will take their lotion elsewhere. However, my wife keeps telling me that unzipping my fly and shouting "Grease it up, Svetlana!" will probably get me kicked out of the mall and possibly arrested.

These kids have turned the middle of the mall into an official no-fly zone. I now find myself staring at walls, the floor, ANYTHING, in order to avoid eye contact. I'm not sure how, but this live-action Bennetton ad has made me feel like I'm wandering through a tent village, circa 1933. I don't want to make eye-contact, lest they ask me if I've got a dime. Ugh.

Manufactured emotion tends to affect me this way. When I listen to Christmas Carols, I can't help it--I have to critique the orchestration, the singing, and the questionable lyrics. When I see frighteningly earnest, disturbingly cheery kids, I immediately think about cults. When I see inspirational posters, my mind travels to Despair, Inc. It's not that I'm opposed to inspiration, or honesty, or Christmas Carols. Rather, I just get an itchy feeling in my colon when someone tries to manipulate my emotions. It ends up making me behave poorly, which makes me resentful.

Mostly, I just wish the little bastards would keep their lotion to themselves.

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  • or, you know, not making eye contact with 9-year-old Eastern European street urchins, lest they beg you for cigarettes...

    By Blogger misanthropster, At November 26, 2006 at 10:27 PM  

  • movie quote for you..."when someone tells me they are happy, my ass begins to twitch..." kevin kline in French Kiss

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 26, 2006 at 10:34 PM  

  • I've been suckered by the hand moisturzer kiosk man once. When Ileft, my hands were thoroughly hydrated. He was thoroughy confused. Never again.

    By Blogger mist1, At November 27, 2006 at 12:17 AM  

  • Rather than be irritated, try what I do. Attempt to recruit them into selling for your mortgage company. Tell them how impressed you are by their sales training and ask them if they are ready to step into the big time. If they say yes, refer them to the manager of a local mortgage company. It won't take long and they will avoid you. Plan your work, work your plan.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 27, 2006 at 1:54 AM  

  • Ha ha! Very good post. And maybe it's catchy, can be caught by sharing the lube of loons! So be afraid, very afraid!

    By Blogger spoon, At November 27, 2006 at 2:56 AM  

  • one way to get rid of them would be to embaress them away from you ask them is this 'motion lotion' .. for example, 'would you say that this lotion would irritate my partner if I was to use it internally??' 'Would it cause me irritation to my genitals'?
    Or another suggestion is to tell them you are recovering from leperousy and that if they had any neck bells for sale you would be interested but other than that youre afraid to use anything but virgins tears on your skin

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 27, 2006 at 5:00 AM  

  • Were they... gypsies?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 27, 2006 at 11:44 AM  

  • Have you tried giving crazy eyes when accidently making eye contact? I find they avert their eyes first.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 27, 2006 at 12:51 PM  

  • Was the lotion scented? For some reason, I need to know this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 27, 2006 at 2:34 PM  

  • Ohhh we have them here too at the mall....when they approach me and say anything...I just say no thanks and walk away...and yes they do chase you but i don't pay attention. Thanks for the new link!!! I love it...I'm printing out the posters for my office now!

    By Anonymous odat, At November 27, 2006 at 2:52 PM  

  • Okay, first of all, I totally wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid. And then The Challenger blew up. Yay, good story!

    Secondly, Pinchloaf and I were at the Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg, PA over T'giving, and a woman at a kiosk asked, "Excuse me, ma'am, can I ask you a question?" And I said, "No," and ran away.

    I had no idea what she was shilling, but now I think I know. Lube. She was trying to sell me lube.

    By Blogger Mrs Pinchloaf, At November 27, 2006 at 3:27 PM  

  • Misanthropster-
    That girl was at least 12.

    You like that movie, too? I wonder if I unintentionally stole from it.

    Pure brilliance! I love that idea.

    Fear is totally justified when you're talking about the lotion loons! Thanks for stopping by!

    Another good solution--and one that I'll be using soon.

    I don't think so, but...maybe.

    But if it didn't work, I'd be totally screwed.

    I don't know, as I haven't let them put it on me. Maybe I'll have to take one for the team.

    Isn't Despair perfect? I just need to find the right person to give them to.

    You feel a little dirty now, don't you?

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 27, 2006 at 4:21 PM  

  • I love that many great lines.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 27, 2006 at 11:36 PM  

  • Claudia-
    Play that Bobby Darin song again...

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 28, 2006 at 12:04 AM  

  • ‘Lube it up, Svetlana’? I think I may have just found my superhero catchphrase. Either that or I just fell in love with you...


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At November 28, 2006 at 11:02 AM  

  • Puss-
    I can definitely imagine you saying it as you leap into battle.

    My heroine!

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 28, 2006 at 12:49 PM  

  • The most disturbing part of all this is the piece you glossed over most quickly....

    You are now WALKING AT A MALL for exercise.

    Welcome to middle age, pal of mine!

    Misery loves company. For some time now, I've had to admit that a long, brisk walk actually qualifies as exercise. Two hours of racket ball? Dream on, fool!

    I began this transition in my mid 40s, so I suppose I held out longer than most. At the rate I'm going, by the time I'm 70, simply drawing a breath will probably qualify as aerobic training.

    Still, I've no need yet for Viagra, so I suppose I should count my blessings.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 28, 2006 at 6:39 PM  

  • Mystic Wing-
    Actually, this is part of why my wife and I are moving to a more urban area. We look forward to being able to walk for great distances on sidewalks and see wonderful things. Here, it's cows, horses, and speeding cars.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 28, 2006 at 8:38 PM  

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