>>> Casual Misanthropy
By staff writer JD Rebello
October 23, 2005

I think I might be turning into a woman.

The other night, 4am-ish, I was watching an infomercial. Depicted in this infomercial was the harrowing struggle between small, fat dogs with bad backs and knees, and the couches they try to jump onto. I watched as these poor little pooches agonized, trying desperately to shrink the chasm between the high couch and the floor, staring longingly into the vertical abyss like Tom Cruise staring up at Katie Holmes, the mother of his alleged baby. In a related story, Cruise is filming Mission: Impossible 3.

Anyway, I watched stock footage of puppies struggling, tears in my eyes, Sam Adams Black Lager in my liver, and then, a revelation!

DOGGY-STEPS!

That’s right, kids. Some of you may think infomercials are only for shower massagers hung better than your average black man, and those baseball card guys who threaten to rape your ass if you don’t drop a C-note on five Griffey rookies and a Darryl Kile Died in His Hotel Room set from Topps. Nope. Late-night infomercials have finally tackled a tragedy bigger than Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, Betty, Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe combined: poor doggies not able to get their cute little woof-woofs on the couch.

“I hate when infomercials pull that ‘You might expect to pay…' crap. Fuck you. Don’t tell me what I expect to pay. That’s presumption, and that’s how racism starts.”

Listen. I love dogs, hence my Mark-Paul Gosselear-in-a-Lifetime-movie-like affection for them—the kind where I buy you a drink and look good in my greasy hair, but leave you broken and disheveled, a shadow of your former Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. Fuck, I miss that show.

Anyway, to see cute little puppy wups struggling with cruel gravity, and then overcoming such adversity, well, that’s inspiring. Remember in Gladiator when Russell Crowe and the slaves win the Battle of Carthage they were supposed to lose and everyone watching the movie went “Hey, isn’t this essentially the same plot as Braveheart?!” Well, that kind of inspiring.

So anyway, I start crying. Crying like a future homosexual upon news that Neverland Ranch is closing forever. I bawled for what seemed like minutes. I was just so happy for these dogs. I have a dog, Missy. She’s a beagle. She’s adorable. She’s also a tad on the hefty side. I’ve watched her approach couches and beds like a feminist approaches the movie The Accused, almost like she wants me to channel her pain so I can make a difference. Which of course I won’t. So to see Doggy-Steps, it’s like when they build Holocaust memorials and everyone applauds, only this ACTUALLY makes a difference. My doggy can finally get up to the couch safely.

Now, as I’m trying to wipe the tears from my face, I anxiously await the price. And that’s when things went awry. I hate when infomercials pull that “You might expect to pay…” crap. Fuck you. Don’t tell me what I expect to pay. That’s presumption, and that’s how racism starts. Besides, they always expect me to expect to pay an assload of money. “For this combination cheese grater-anal beads set, you might expect to pay a hundred million dollars!” No I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t expect that at all. If someone offered me a combination cheese grater-anal beads set, sure, they’d peak my interest, but if they asked me how much I expected to pay, surely it wouldn’t approach a hundred million dollars. Granted, everyone likes shredded cheese. Where was I?

Sometimes they pull the: “You’ve probably seen this advertised for…” Often, this follows them saying: “Introducing the revolutionary new Walrus Dildo, fun for the whole family, especially if you need a sitter. Just plug Walrus Dildo in, and it does the rest. You’ve probably seen this advertised for…”

Hey, wait a second. How can you introduce me to a cool new product like the Walrus Dildo, and then tell me I’ve seen this advertised somewhere else? Does Walrus Dildo defy the laws of the space-time continuum? It does? Really? That’s amazing. Can I have one? I would expect to pay….

So anyway, I’m told I would expect to pay $100 for Doggy-Steps, which of course I wouldn’t. I was thinking five, but haggling with my TV screen is surprisingly unproductive. Maybe I should get satellite. Hear that, Comcast? Put porn on On Demand, NOW!

But wait, the Doggy-Steps people are prepared to cut that price to $59.98. Not bad.

So right about here is when infomercials get really exciting to me. See, shit sold on TV has only three price brackets. First, there’s $19.99, usually reserved for the most meaningless and shabbily-made crap in the history of ever. They could sell used tube socks for $19.99 and make it sound like a deal.

Then there’s $39.99. More higher-end shit: pillows made of fecal matter, those devices that open pickle jars, otherwise known as Men.

Then there’s this bitch: “Five easy payments of…” What a sham. First of all, what exactly is an “easy payment”? There’s no such thing as an easy payment. If it was easy, it would be free. Like the ladies I date. (For those scoring at home, that’s fourteen paragraphs before my first sexist remark; sorry if I’ve gotten rusty in my absence.)

So anyway, they drop the Doggy-Steps to $39.99. Fine, but now they apply this coup de grace (that’s French): if I buy now, I get two sets of Doggy-Steps, fun if your dog is a spoiled sonofabitch and thinks every piece of furniture is her own private Idaho. Well, my dog knows humility, and how to get beaten like an NFL player’s wife with a newspaper.

Here’s my rationale: if you can offer two for $39.99, can I have one for $19.99? I called the Doggy-Steps people at 2:00am and couldn’t get a straight answer. Sure they say to call between 9 and 5 on weekdays, but sorry if my dog struggles with the couch outside of those hours. Your majesty.

So anyway, if you’re like me and cried like a little bitch at the thought of dogs being abused physically and psychologically by God and the cruel tool that is gravity, visit www.Doggysteps.com and put an end to your dog’s suffering. It’s a $120 value, apparently. I don’t know who values this shit. Seriously, I guarantee it’s white people.

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