My good friend Susan Lucci, having suffered an awe-inducing number of losses in the Daytime Emmys (okay, so she won once...just enough to keep her contract-renewal negotiations interesting) is multi-talented. Or perhaps she's greedy. All I know is that, in recent years, she's resorted to hawking a variety of beauty products to supplement her household's soap-operatic coffers. Without her line of QVC hair products, I fear her children would never have been able to attend college. But still, despite her healthy cash flow, does she ever call and invite me to Tavern on the Green?
No matter what she's pushing, though, Erica Kane Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler Roy Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marick Marick Montgomery does it with great panache. She may be diminutive, but her passion--along with her big melon--fill the television screen and make viewers want to buy, buy, buy.
Indeed, whatever she's selling, it is always
So you can imagine my goosebumps some weeks back when I was a privileged late-night viewer of her new infomercial for Youthful Essence, a ground-breaking micro-derm abrasion system, available to me, if I ordered within the next 20 minutes, for a single-installment payment of $39.95.
I sat, rapt, on the futon couch in front of my television. The children slept. My groom slept. But Susan, she is the star that twinkles through the night. If not for her 'round-the-clock efforts, I might never have known that there is layer-upon-layer of dead skin on my face, each deposit of misbegotten skin cells holding me back from greater life achievements. If only I would take the plunge and purchase the emminently-affordable and completely-painless system, my pores...and my soul...could undergo an envigorating sloughing that would open them to a wondrous new world, a brighter future.
In case I had my doubts, Susan also had a roundtable discussion with several of her closest friends (I'm pretty sure she left me a message, asking me to participate, too, but our answering machine went on the blink a few months ago, so I must have missed it). Former All My Children colleagues, themselves devotees of the the miraculous opportunities afforded by home microderm abrasion, were more than happy to sit with La Lucci and attest to the heretofore-unbeheld powers of small crystals (mined by intrepid elves) which, when applied to the face and decolletage no more than twice a week, can restore the skin to adolescent dewiness. I only wondered momentarily, therefore, why--if their skin looks so good--the camera lens for the infomercial had been rubbed with Vaseline, the lighting was gently and purposefully "atmospheric," and they all had been Botoxed to the point that their foreheads could express no emotion. Could it be...might it have been..that the Youthful Essence didn't completely change their outer (and therefore inner) selves?
Banish the thought. They all wore their spaghetti-strapped blouses with confidence and held their lacquered faces high. And of course their visible essences of youth were entirely attributable to this astonishing product, brought to them only through their association with the Size Zero bobblehead that is Ms. Lucci.
I was lucky that night, and not just because I stumbled across their enthusiastic testimonials. Nae, I was lucky because I got off without making a frantic phone call to 1-800-ROUGHUPMYSKINSOITLOOKSPERTY and tossing 40 bucks towards a new birkhin for Susan. Because I am fundamentally pragmatic, I took a moment to gaze into the mirror, as I headed towards the telephone, to check my need for exfoliation. Fortunately, doing this helped me remember that all the ice-coating salt that is poured onto the streets during the wintery months has, of late, been airborne in the gusty spring breezes, and so my skin has been sufficiently pelted and invigorated. I don't look a day over 27 (+ 13).
The phone stayed in its cradle.
However, to imply that Susan's vigorous endorsement of concerted renewal left me untouched would be misleading. All of Susan's best work, from the time her character drove a forklift to her acceptance of her soap daughter's sexual orientation as a lesbian, is inspirational (I work weekends in a warehouse now, moving pallets, and my seven-year-old Girl must grow up and love a woman, for I am spilling over with anticipatory tolerance).
Specifically, the inspiration I took from Youthful Essence was had nothing to do with my skin. Rather, it was this: it is time to peel back the layers of our 95-year-old house and return it to its original glow. To that end, last weekend saw several layers of linoleum lifted off the kitchen floor, a process that put our feet back on the very hardwood boards treaded by the house's first pre-influenza, pre-World War I inhabitants:
And, in a slightly-more-toxic abrasion (but beauty is so worth the risk), we have started the laborious process of restoring the original woodwork. Check back with us in ten years to see how it has turned out:
So thank you, you Best Actress in a Daytime Drama winner, for reminding me of one of life's greatest lessons: everything shines a little brighter once those pesky superficial layers are scrubbed into oblivion.
Just don't tell the writers of your show, okay? Because then they might start aiming for genuine depth, and I just couldn't bear it if I had to believe your next marriage might endure.