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Monday, May 14, 2012

The Best from the West

Being the kind of person who likes to eclipse everyone’s ability to obtain the latest technology (e.g., getting my first web-disabled, untextable cell phone in 2011), I travel to San Francisco each year. Technology travels from west to east in this country, so if you want to have the latest and greatest technology before everyone else, you must force yourself to spend some time in the city of fog.

And it’s not just technology on which I get a jump start. For example, if you remember the Pet Rock, you know they premiered in California before sweeping the country.

This past trip, which ended less than 24 hours ago, yielded two things I can now nyah-nyah about. First, we saw Rory Kennedy’s latest documentary, Ethel, which is a remarkable tribute to her mother. This film will not be available to Floridians or other low-life populations to view until October, and you will have to subscribe to HBO to see it. So to all you Kennedy lovers who missed out on the San Francisco International Film Festival: Nyah-Nyah!

The second thing I found was the latest in fitness technology from Zaaz Studios with locations exclusively in San Fran and Sausalito (Spanish for “a little sauce”), California. The unique thing about this new cutting-edge machine is that you don’t even have to move on it.  All you do is stand on this revolutionary new workout gadget. It does all the heavy lifting for you.

Lucky for me I, was at Westfield Mall on Market Street and was able to take part in a free demonstration. As I walked past the Abercrombie and Fitch store (for whom I hope to one day model (socks, maybe; diapers and ski masks also come to mind)), I was attacked by a small sales-kid who was not yet this many years old. She handed me a flyer that shouted out in an 80 point bold font: “10 MINUTES = 1 HOUR AT THE GYM.” In smaller type it read: “FREE DEMO–FDA APPROVED NASA TECHNOLOGY”.  Then in even smaller type, it listed the following benefits:


Notice that the list is severely lacking in verbs. So, Zaaz, what about anti-aging, diabetes, osteoporosis, skin, hair, nails and serotonin/endorphins?  Does it work against anti-aging, make your skin/hair/nails wrinkle or fall out? You can tell they consulted attorneys before finalizing this list.

Assuming this machine is a cure-all, who in their right mind would pass on the chance to have their very own home model? If I bought this machine I could go off all my medications: Insulin, Prozac, gelatin capsules, Ambien, prunes, calcium, Coumadin, Percocet, Fletcher’s Castoria, Viagra and shampoo.  This appliance would pay for itself in a matter of months just in obsolete manicures, Stridex medicated pads, and Preparation H.

This space age apparatus, with its large LED display, was priced from $2169 for the plain to $2569 for the peanut, which meant that it had a label with one digit different.  Oddly enough, it was basically just a gigantic vibrator. All you had to do was step on it, adjust the intensity, and jiggle yourself to a healthier, holistic lifestyle.

Remember belt massagers from the 50’s and 60’s? It was basically the same idea. In order to get the then-coveted hourglass figure, gullible women would strap a gigantic 5-inch wide belt around their waists and hook it to a loud jiggling contraption. Ever wonder where all those shaker-upper contraptions went? Dive deep into the closest landfill, and there among the Edsels, Veg-o-Matics, Windows ME software, New Coke cans, and 8 track players you’ll find them. The reason? They didn’t work. If only they had received FDA and NASA approval, maybe they would have lasted longer.

The Zaaz requires no belt and vibrates from the foot level instead of the waist. I spent maybe 2 minutes on this machine, turning it up to its highest setting and allegedly receiving the health benefits of ten minutes at the gym. It was kind of fun to get knocked around, knowing that my love handles were being shaken down to my ankles, thus eliminating all chances for my ever being an A&F sock model.  What was really exciting was that when I talked while the gizmo was on, it sounded like I was screaming into a box fan, and I spent a third of my childhood doing that. I loved it that much.

After stepping off of it, I realized that the only medication I could throw out was my prostate pill, because that shaker forced my pee-meter up to the “Extremely Urgent” setting.

The five and a half year-old sales-child then asked me where I lived. I told her Florida. She said that if I bought the peanut model that day she would offer me the three-year warranty for free and knock off $100 to help defray the shipping cost. The average Joe might assume that this would completely cover the freight fee and that they would jet out a repairman from  “Little Sauce” directly to Fort Lauderdale to fix my Zaaz. To me this meant that if they weren’t out of business in a couple of months, the Zaazettes might e-mail me a printable coupon for a snapped O-ring six to eight weeks after I made the second request in writing. And the C-note would maybe cover one sixth of the freight charge (“$100 = $600 AT THE POST OFFICE” should have also been inscribed on the flyer.)

After we declined to be paying customers, Other Bill and I strolled over to the really cool spiral escalator (which has not made an appearance in the East that I know of. Nyah-nyah!)  Looking over the flyer again, I saw the Zaaz’s URL for their website, which I won’t repeat here, because you might end up on a Zsa Zsa Gabor site. But it didn’t say, “Like us on Facebook.” FDA and NASA pale by comparison in the shadow of social media. This clearly meant to me that Zaaz had no footprint in the fitness industry. I concluded that an “As Seen on TV” generic knockoff would soon be available for three easy payments of $33.33. That would also include at no extra charge a Pocket Fisherman.

As we spun our way up to the next level I said, “If I just spent ten minutes doing an intense cardio workout, shouldn’t I be out of breath or sweating?”

“Can we find the bathroom?” asked Other Bill, who spent more time on The Body Jiggler by Ronco than I did, “I really have to pee.”

We are home now, back in the real world of commuting, bedtimes, and cooking and cleaning.  I need to lose the weight I gained while I pigged out on vacation.

I won’t be using a Zaaz, but this weekend we’ll be shopping for a stationary Segway. They’re more expensive but just as effective.

Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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