Jewish World Review July 18, 2003 / 18 Tamuz, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Girls pool talents for commercial success | Who knows what makes older teen-age girls act the way they do? Perhaps certain behaviors are triggered by something that happened long ago. Maybe a father forced them go see Santa when he shouldn't have or maybe the tooth fairy was a no-show.

Maybe they act in a strange fashion because of television. I am certain that is the case with our two teen-age daughters. Years ago, when the girls were 4 and 6, there was a television commercial that impacted them profoundly. Whenever the commercial was on, they would tear through the house, yelling, "Mom! Come quick! Come quick and listen to this man."

I would follow them to the television and witness a man in a short-sleeved shirt, standing in front of an enormous display of above-ground pools. He'd lock eyes with the camera and scream, "YOU MEAN THOSE KIDS STILL DON'T HAVE A POOL?" On cue, the girls would turn and look at me with sad brown eyes.

Oh, I don't blame the girls. If the man had said, "YOU MEAN THOSE KIDS STILL DON'T HAVE A CAMEL?" they would have wanted a camel. Pure and simple, the man was persuasive.

The girls were convinced the commercial was for them. They knew beyond a shadow of a pool filter that the man had been to their house, surveyed their barren backyard and was now trying to reach their thick-headed mother through the wonder of televison.

I remember a commercial that had a similar impact on me as a little girl. It was a commercial for Wrigley's Doublemint Gum. "Double your pleasure, double your fun, with Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint gum." The commercial ended with a close up of a pack of Doublemint gum.

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I'd watch the commercial, then watch my parents. The television jingle had just told us how to double our pleasure and double our fun. I was sure the Doublemint twins were singing to us, but my parents never moved. My father never jumped up and said to my mother, "Honey, get your purse we're going to the store!" They just sat there. It was like they were from a different planet.

Because I, too, was from a different planet, I did not call the man on the television and order an above-ground pool, a pump, a ladder or the assorted fun accessories. All of which explains why one week ago our two teen-age daughters bought a pool themselves. Inflatable. Eighteen inches deep, 4 feet by 8 feet with a sea- blue bottom and big yellow fish on the side.

"We didn't want the clerk to know we were buying it for ourselves, so we asked for a gift receipt. And we kept talking like Nathan would really like this birthday gift," the youngest said.

It is a swell pool. Which is why the next day they each bought swell six-foot air mattresses to go in it.

I have done the math. Once you wedge two air mattresses, two fully grown teen-age girls and two of their fully grown girlfriends, into the pool, the pool contains no more than six cups of water. It scores well for conservation.

It is difficult to fit that many fully grown girls into a kiddie pool, so typically, two will float while two drape themselves over the side of the pool, half in and half out like mermaids pondering a trip to shore.

Watching them float and sun, you'd think this plastic pool was as cool as, well, as cool as having your very own camel. I think the man from the television commercial would be pleased.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman