Selling Sludge to Friends and Strangers: A Guide

beauty-avon-cropswscan10219Hello there, Turboganic Wondergoo partner! We at the Turboganic Wondergoo Alliance of Toronto have heard your pleas. TWAT, you said to us, I know how awesome Wondergoo is, but selling it to lesser mortals is so hard. People just don’t recognize quality sludge when it’s advertised to them! How can I make them listen?

We know, plumpkin. It’s a battle! But you didn’t get in the Wondergoo business, because you liked the easy road, did you? No, you got into it because you are passionate. Wondergoo has made you a better mom, sister, dog walker, and human. You sell it, because you care. And since we care about you, we’ve come up with this handy sales pitch template. Simply fill in the details of your intended victim customer, and—voila!—a practically guaranteed Wondergoo sale. Send it to all of your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and random e-mail contacts! Spread the goo gospel, partner!

Dear [Facebook friend you haven’t seen in 10 years],

Hey girl! How are you doing up in [horrid locale]? I was so excited to see that you [got engaged/had a tiny person/finally got those growths removed]. It’s so awesome that you [landed a man despite your tics/were allowed to procreate/don’t have to wear turtlenecks anymore]. I’ve really missed your smile!

6a0105356c398f970c0115700781f6970c-piIt occurred to me that someone at your stage in life could use a hand, however. It can be hard to [please a man/raise a child/monitor new growths] and maintain expected female beauty standards. Looking at pictures, it seems like you are having just as much trouble as the average woman! Never fear, though. I have just the solution for you. Have you ever heard of Turboganic Wondergoo?

It may be hard to believe, given my shiny locks and perfect chin, but I too once struggled with such things. Not to your extent, of course, but my feet did smell sometimes. That was before I discovered Turboganic Wondergoo, of course. A substance—some call it, affectionately, a sludge—made from the waste byproduct of rare undersea cave snails, Wondergoo is truly a miraculous cure-all. It can clear up blotchy skin, melt unwanted pounds, erase butterfly tramp stamps, beautifully curl nipple hair, and even attract men with its pleasant musk. Why, in your tough case, I bet it would even do all five!

Nevermore do you have to be embarrassed about your, let’s be honest, troll-like self. Slather a little Turboganic Wondergoo on your problem areas and you’ll be transformed! The naturally occurring nutrients in undersea cave snail waste byproduct will leach into your poor, ravaged cells and completely redecorate. The USDA has been slow to approve Turboganic Wondergoo, just because a few people’s lady bits fell off, so the only way to get this miracle product is through licensed sellers like myself. If you’re interested, send me a quick e-mail, and I’ll set up a personal Turboganic Wondergoo consultation for you.

arts-graphics-2005_1159686aOnce you discover the joys of Wondergoo, you’ll want to spread the gospel, trust me. Luckily for you, I also do Wondergoo dinner events and bachelorette parties. Nothing says [ready for marriage/moderately adequate parent/goiter-free] like a goo party! Even better, if you decide to host a party, you’ll get a one month supply of goo and a battery-operated internal goo spreader absolutely free. Such a deal, right?

I have open phone appointments all next week, but they’re going fast. Don’t be the only [bride/mom/creature] on your block without Wondergoo!

With goo and love,

[Becca]

That’s it, Wondergoo Gal! Take this easy template, send it to every person you’ve ever met, and you’re all set. Don’t forget, the top three sellers from our region will win an all expenses paid trip to the 2013 Turboganic Wondergoo Sales Conference in sunny Orlando! Don’t you want to meet the other up-and-coming goo businesswomen? Then, get selling, darling!

– TWAT Team

(Written by Grace, who has received one too many Advocare/Rodan-Fields/Herbalife emails lately.)

Avada Kedavra: Unfriending With Panache!

Friends, I am not a wizard. There it is – the great tragedy of my life unveiled. Never will I attend Hogwarts or toss back butterbeers in the Three Broomsticks. Despite perfect form, my wingardium never seems to leviosa. However, there is one mortal action that is decidedly wizard-like: unfriending people on Facebook.

In the great social media swarm that is modern life, Facebook is the queen bee. Almost one billion people currently use the site to chronicle important happenings, like the grocery store running out of 1% milk. It stands to reason that, with such life-changing information being shared, one should be choosy with their “friends.” Everyone has their own set of rules. The boy from your third grade swimming lessons may be acceptable, but the girl who has come to your tea shop every day for three years is not. We do not judge your friending system. (Well, okay, I kind of do. Seriously, dude. We have flirtatious, fun banter for years and you memorize how I take my tea, but we can’t be Facebook friends? Crucio!) But what happens when a previously acceptable friend becomes an undesirable? Unfriend them, of course!

Unfriending is, in this day and age, the ultimate insult. With one click of the mouse, a person can be banished forever from your (virtual) world. I’ve known people who went through horrible, bitter break-ups as cool as cucumbers, only to utterly lose their shit when the former partners finally unfriended them. Some people use it to cut from their lives those who have done them wrong, while others just like to periodically cull their friend lists. I know, that’s crazy. Who wants only their actual friends to know every intimate detail of their lives? Personally, I’m not really into unfriending. Sure, there are people on Facebook whom I would hide behind a giant pumpkin to avoid, but unfriending feels so mean. Besides, I’m nosy. I may not want to talk to you ever again, but I do want to make fun of your wedding dress. I’ve never seen much need to banish people from my profile.

Until now.

There’s this girl, let’s call her Celeste, whom I have known since I was a wee young Grace. We were, for a good chunk of that time, the best of friends. Sure, she was a bit negative, but I’ve always been rather cheery, so it seemed a good balance. In high school, I introduced Celeste to my new neighbor, a boy who could match her snarky comment for snarky comment. They were a match made in the middle areas of purgatory. Over the course of college, we grew apart – I was ridiculously busy with school, friends, and organizations, while she was busy planning her future life with Sir Sourface. It was all good. We’d meet for lunch every month or two and, if perhaps our conversation wasn’t as easy as before, we were still friends. I happily attended their wedding and later called to congratulate her on the impending arrival of their spawn.

Fast forward a year. Celeste is now the maid of honor in a mutual high school friend’s wedding. Another dear friend of mine is also consigned to wearing a taupe polyester dress and eating lukewarm chicken and, thus, has been attending all sorts of wedding events with Celeste. Who has, it seems, decided I am a horrid person, rivaled only in pure evil by the creators of pajama jeans.

Yes, that sound you just heard was my head exploding in confusion. The things she has said are not only cruel, but strange, considering the last time I saw her in person was her own wedding day. A day on which I gave her a particularly lovely gift and wished her a lifetime of happiness. I didn’t realize those were the makings of a feud! I would have worn my good feuding pants! So, here’s the thing. What she said, to the face of one of my dearest friends, was horrible. Things meant to wend their way back to me and make me feel, well, less. Unfortunately, I’m not good at that. They just made me, alternatively, moderately angry and amused.

They also made me certain that, for once, I should unfriend someone on Facebook. If anyone deserves it, it’s Celeste. Every time I post a happy status or mention my latest book release date, my joy will be dimmed a bit by the knowledge that she is actively wishing me ill. But, here’s the thing, unfriending is too passive aggressive for my taste. Sometimes, I like to just be aggressive. Instead of her friend count mysteriously going down by one, I want to go out in a fiery blaze of righteous indignation! Facebook, where is my option to send a special message with my unfriending?

I need fireworks, Facebook dear. I want my choice of Harry Potter curses to send her way. I want the music video of N*SYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye!” to pop up, when I press the red button. Hell, I actually want a red button that, when pushed, shows her friend box exploding into space, never to grace my page again. I want her to know I unfriended her and to feel the shame of it for days. Is that too much to ask?

Fine. Perhaps I am more than moderately angry. In reality, she would feel no shame, I know. But when something is given the social importance that unfriending is, it should feel more important when carried out. This doesn’t feel big, but sad instead. Still, I did what my peace of mind required. I have pressed unfriend. Say it with me, friends: Avada Kedavra!

– Grace

Your Status Update Not Welcome

The other day, with the dreaded Facebook timeline looming on the horizon, I decided to be proactive and clean up my feed. I spent hours looking at my profile and past posts, deleting horrible things left and right.  Remember, I’m of the generation that pretty much started Facebook back in college.  I think we were one of the first universities who got to use it.  Yep, for those of you who may not know, Facebook used to be exclusive.  Anywho.  Horrible things.  Right.  So the clean-up also made me realize how times have changed.  Back in the day, we didn’t even know of the concept of a status update.  Now, you can count on me to give you the mundane updates of my weekend activities.  However, with all this change we never did get that dislike button.  And more than a dislike button (because that would just feel mean) I’d like to have a block button.

If I had block button, I’d erase from my feed:

Anything relating to babies.

This includes baby showers, baby blog updates, bump pictures, professional maternity pictures, status updates about food cravings, nursery progress pictures, rants about nursing, complaints about lack of sleep, gender announcements, and ultrasound pictures.  Some of us don’t like babies.  We don’t want babies.  We don’t want to have to talk about babies.  We don’t want to hold your babies.  Unfortunately, I’m of that age where it seems like this is the only thing other people care about and I’m subjected to updates on a daily basis.  Just shoot me now.  And for the love of God, why must people post pictures of the actual pregnancy test?  I don’t need to see the stick you peed on.  When you announce to Facebook that you’re pregnant? Yah, I’ll believe you.

Bible Verses

I don’t really get this one.  What is the reasoning behind peppering your feed with biblical messages?  Are you trying to advertise that you went to church? That you’re a better Christian than your friends?  I’m not sure about God, generally, but I don’t think she really gives a crap about your Facebook status.  God would probably rather you be out doing some actual act of good rather than writing about it.  When one lives in the bible belt it also means one gets bombarded with Christian messages just about every day.  Just for once, I’d like to open my Facebook feed and read in secular peace.

Mushy sentiments about having the best boyfriend/husband/wife/girlfriend EVER!

There are 7 billion people on this planet.  You can’t honestly believe the rest of us agree your husband is the best.  I’ll bet he picks his nose when you’re not looking.  Or maybe he’ll wash a red sock with your whites.  Plus, when being the best has anything to do with cooking dinner that just tells me you have low standards.

Any vacation picture without a person in it.

Well, alright, if it’s a picture of something humorous I’ll cut you some slack.  But let’s get real folks, the only reason I look at your vacation photos is so I can see if you wore a fanny pack or black socks with sandals.  If I’m not digging my toes into the sand, I don’t need to see the picture of your view while you were doing it.  You’re no Ansel Adams.  If I want to do a bit of armchair travel I’ll pick up a good book or visit a blog wherein they know how to use something other than an iPhone to snap pictures.

Please feel free to add to the list of blocked subject matter. It’s very freeing to finally get this out because you know I couldn’t post this on Facebook…

– Kate

Running A Marathon Does Not Make You Mother Teresa

‘Tis the season to deck the halls, eat candy canes, and run marathons.

Oh, running 26.2 miles at the break of dawn doesn’t sound enjoyable to you? Too bad, sucker. That’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. If my Facebook feed counts as a scientific sample, then 83% of people in their twenties are currently training for, have just run, or are pretending to have just run a marathon. It’s an epidemic! An over-priced Lululemon wearing, cutesy motivational poster posting epidemic! The worst kind. You know, other than Ebola.

Naturally, I have a theory. Our generation’s sudden interest in running boils down to this: We’re a bunch of jerks. When we graduated college, just a few short years ago, we were wide-eyed and optimistic. Y’all, we were going to save the world! That job we took, wresting candy and toys from cancer-ridden orphans? Temporary. We just needed to finish up our Peace Corps application. Fast-forward a few years, when we’ve trashed the application altogether and are really enjoying our new gold-plated toilet. Shit. What happened to that spunky, quixotic kid we used to be? There must be a way we can recover that golden aura of inner goodness! Enter the marathon.

Pardon me, while I get a little academic up in here, readers. You see, I live for studies on body image and cultural perceptions of beauty. One of my favorites is the “What Is Beautiful Is Good” study, which basically found that we think attractive people are nicer, more successful, and have rectums made of rainbows. In America? Universally attractive = physically fit. And nothing says “I am a fashionably trim bad-ass who can delicately bench-press a baby elephant!” like training for a marathon.

It’s a big deal. I will grant you that. You have to train like crazy, go on carb-loading binges, and there’s the ever-present danger of chafing. It’s a lot of damn work. It has a pretty big pay-off, however. When you tell people what you’re doing, they will act as if you just cured cancer. You will be called disciplined, persistent, and amazing! People will probably make t-shirts with your face on them, then come cheer you on at the race. When friends set you up on blind dates, they include your new-found athleticism in your vital This Person Is Awesome statistics: She works as an orphan oppressor, speaks Farsi, came in second for Miss Travis County, and runs marathons! You are suddenly like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and a star high-school quarterback. Obviously, you are on the road to sainthood, one mile at a time.

Nope. Sorry to rain on your parade, but you’re still an asshat. You’re just an asshat who now brags about that crazy cramp you got in mile thirteen. I know it’s hard to believe, but running dozens of miles does not erase your fondness for drop-kicking puppies or that time you slept with my boyfriend. That’s okay. We all have disappointments. Drinking tea and adding a “u” to color hasn’t made me British yet either.

What’s more, marathons aren’t necessarily good for you. Hear me out. I’m almost a doctor. (Really.) Running is good for you, yes. Extreme running is potentially not. Your heart is actually worse off at the end of running 26.2 miles than it was before. Cardiac Troponin T, one of the signs of possible heart damage, may now flow through your blood like herpes on the Jersey Shore. In some cases, your heart has actually changed shape and its ventricles are less efficient! It can take months for it to recover. If you repeat this multiple times? If you become that holy grail of fitness, talked about in hushed, awed tones by others: a marathoner? You could end up with scarring on your heart and calcified arteries. Fun times!

Here’s my advice: Instead of signing up for that marathon, where you will exchange money for a t-shirt, paper number, and a case of mild dehydration, go volunteer. It will make your soul smile, will still fool others into thinking you’re nice, and won’t damage your heart! Plus, I will find you less annoying. Please, just don’t go to the animal shelter. They still haven’t found a home for that poor Goldendoodle you “walked.”

– Grace

Author’s Note: If you’re one of those people who purely loves to run, you may continue. Just understand that when I don’t compliment you on your new, glittery 26.2 bumper sticker, it’s not that I don’t think you’re neat. Unless you’re Ryan Reynolds, I just don’t give a shit about your marathon time.

Author’s Note Part Two: It should be noted that I don’t hate marathoners or runners or even Lululemon lovers. Follow your bliss, my dears. My point was this: running 26.2 miles doesn’t make you a good person. It doesn’t make you a bad one either. You’re just a person who runs a lot, good or bad. Happy Holidays!