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it was saturday night and walt and i were in sears ready to buy consumer reports number one rated vacuum. while we waited for a salesperson, i walked the aisles. the models all looked embarrassingly similar, save one which caught my eye. i took it off the shelf and began pretend vacuuming. marty told me to stop screwing around.

now waiting by marty's side, i asked her which one we were buying. she pointed to one of the boiler-plated models. i took it off the shelf and messed with it for a few moments. i put it back in its place and told her i hated to be the bringer of bad news but her vacuum was a real piece of shit. she flitted her library-made copies of consumer reports in the air, dismissing me. i told her she should look at the spacey one around the corner.

she looked. the functions on the top-rated vacuum were clumsy, non-intuitive and seemingly only partially functioning. conversely the controls and actions of its sleek alternative were like un-refrigerated butter. additionally, it looked like someone spent more than ten minutes in planning rather than simply stealing lame-ass ideas from the competitor across the way.

after a few moments marty asked if i was suggesting she buy this other more expensive machine, this other more expensive machine which wasn't even listed in the report. i explained that i didn't care what she bought in that she is the cleaning fetishist between the two of us but that if i did care, i'd certainly choose a product from a company that actually makes vacuums for a living and not a brand that manufactures them because it seemed like a good market point given their other endeavors.

while we continued to wait for a sales person marty's eyes kept returning to the shinier option. amidst her thoughts, she leaned in and told me that growing up, her house had a vacuum like this. she pointed at the back and said she remembered the self-retracting cord. she also remembered chasing her younger sister around the living room, sticking the end of the sucker tube on her butt. they were having a hysterically childish moment when her dad passed by, saw them and shouted "stop putting that on your sister's bottom, you could suck her rectum out!" both girls stood straight and silent. marty's thumb hypnotically turned off the vacuum and their father moved about his business unaware he just forever stamped his two youngest daughters with uncertain images of spilled bowels.

i reciprocated by telling marty that my dad used to sell electrolux vacuums door to door. although he told me there wasn't much selling involved because they virtually moved themselves.
"the first thing you'd do is take out the bottom-line vacuum, back then it was the R-series, turn it on and put it against the wall where it would grab and stick all by itself. or sometimes you'd hang it from the ceiling. it didn't matter much. those things would lock onto anything."
had my father added to his sales pitch the machine's ability to prolapse a child's rectum, i think he could have been tops in the game of pushing these simple and elegant machines. i know i would have bought one on that claim alone. and did.




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