Saving face

Posted: Monday, August 02, 2010

On a recent Saturday, I had the alarming misfortune of aging 20 years when I attempted to use a Droid. A Droid, as those of you who have watched more than three minutes of television know, is a popular cell phone with the following features:

• Seventy gigaflops of 4G coverage running on an HDMI processor and a Zarf-blaster nickel-titanium output synthesizer

• A giant screen that you can use to severely damage your vision watching movies on

• Able to be advertised on 75% of the commercials during a given hour of television. Seriously, the "Droid commercial" drinking game put two of my friends in the hospital for acute alcohol poisoning after 20 minutes

Now in this instance, I did not have to make use of the Droids movie screen or synthesizer or apps store or propping up of the television networks' advertising departments. I just needed to make a call.

On my Paleolithic cell phone, the act of making a call is rendered thusly: press the button marked "call." On the Droid, the act of making a call is rendered thusly: figure which of the four buttons (Up arrow, Green thing, series of lines, backwards R) opens up the main menu. From the main menu, access the phonebook through a series of buttons that merely look like you're supposed to push them. You are in fact supposed to slide them. Once you've accessed the main menu, fumble about in frustration for ten minutes before handing the phone to your nephew Brodie and ask him to make the call.

If my nephew Brodie is unvailable, locate the nearest 11 year old boy. They should be easy to find by the loud noises. Once you've procured one, they should be able to operate the Droid with practiced ease and gently remind you of your own technological stupidity in the process.

The thing is, I'm entirely too young to be in the "I don't know how these newfangled cell phone thingies work" crowd. I'm still in the 18-35 demographic of white males who essentially rule the world through our purchasing power. Why am I having such a hard time using a phone?

Fortunately, I have just the thing for reversing my sudden onslaught of rapid aging. I have the FaceTrainer.

I found out about the FaceTrainer thanks to intrepid BT reporter Richard Brooks, who no doubt learned of its existence from his extensive contacts in the insane beauty products world.

According to their website, "The only device of its kind to be registered and listed with the FDA, the FaceTrainerª combines facial exercise with resistance training to give your face a natural looking lift."

This proves how creative copywriters have gotten. If there were any truth in advertising, that sentence would have said, "The only device of its kind to make you look like a very cozy ninja, the FaceTrainer combines making silly faces with paying way too much for a sparring helmet. Seriously, this thing retails at $199." The FaceTrainer is a simple series of very simple yet expensive gray strips of fabric that simply wrap around the face in a very simple manner that still requires a series of training videos to use properly, thanks to the low IQ of the people who purchase the FaceTrainer.

Once your head is securely ensconced in highly scientific grey fabric, the trick is then to make the most ridiculous series of faces imaginable in an effort to make your friends run away from you while laughing. The first is what the how-to videos refer to as the "Surprised Puppy Dog Face."

The surprised puppy dog face (Figures A and B), according to the incredibly earnest how-to videos, is created through a four step process.

Open your mouth. Most FaceTrainer owners already hang their mouths open for the purposes of breathing, so this is almost redundant.

Raise your eyes. If the FaceTrainer owner is having difficulty with this step, just ask them "Hey, what's that on your forehead?" This has the excellent side effect of keeping them busy for several hours.

Look up. This is listed as a separate step from "raise your eyes" for some reason. Possibly because the people who make FaceTrainer also use them, and have lost pounds and pounds of brain cells in the process.

Touch your fingers to your lips. I have surprised a few puppy dogs in my time. Very few of them told me to 'Shh' afterwards.

This of course takes us to the advanced training (Figure C), where you do the surprised puppy dog face and then attempt to pry your own eyes out of their sockets. This is called the extremely surprised cartoon character, and it makes you BEAUTIFUL.

The end result of all of this facial exercise and looking ridiculous is that your face now looks radiant and young, although you can no longer operate doorknobs without several assistants due to overwhelming brain loss. Hey, as long as I look good, who cares if I can't manage my way through simple tasks?

That's what I've got a nephew for.

• Barry Kaufman is a columnist for Bluffton Today.

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