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As Seen on TV

I haven’t been sleeping well lately since my dad’s been in hospital. Translation, I’m watching a lot of late night TV, including commercials for those handy kitchen gadgets intended to make our lives easier and much (much) better.

Very Appealing

Some of these inventions look very appealing. The people in the ads are confident, and look happy, as though this one little kitchen gadget is solely responsible for improving the quality of their lives ten-fold. And if you get one, it will most certainly do the same for you. Sometimes I’m tempted, until I remember the wise lessons I learned from the spaghetti cooker.

The Christmas Present

My friend Lisa loves to cook. So, one year, when I was searching for the perfect Christmas present for her, I came across the “as advertised on TV” pasta cooker. It was a long, rectangular tube with a special lid with very small holes to let the steam escape. You poured boiling water into the tube filled with spaghetti, put the lid on and waited a few minutes for the pasta to cook. I wasn’t quite sure how it worked even after reading the product information on the box. But it cut cooking time in half because you didn’t have to wait for the water to boil. I was sold – Lisa got a handy new spaghetti cooker, along with a pasta cookbook.

From Cooking Spaghetti to Washing Angel Hair

Several months go by. When talking to Lisa one evening and pasta came up in the conversation, it reminded me of her handy spaghetti cooker. I asked her how she liked it. She replied that her son liked it just fine. Since I knew he wasn’t very fond of pasta of any kind, my first response was, “Oh, Bobby’s eating spaghetti now?” Silence ensued for a few brief moments. Then Lisa explained that after using it a few times and having the spaghetti come out never quite cooked, even after specifically following the directions, she gave up on the dandy, handy “as advertised on TV” pasta cooker.

One day when Bobby was in the tub, he refused to get close enough to the tap to have his hair rinsed. Lisa cajoled, gently pushed, prodded a little, but Bobby would not budge. After a few frustrating minutes went by, Lisa had a brainstorm – instead of boy going to water, water would come to boy. She fetched the spaghetti cooker, filled it with water, snapped the lid on and rinsed her son’s hair with the magic waterfall maker. She hoped I wasn’t offended.

Life is Like That

I wasn’t. Talk about re-purposing something! Anything that made hair washing and bath time fun for a little boy was fine by me. But it did make me immune to those “as seen on TV” inventions designed to change our lives – I haven’t bought one since.


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