Buyer Beware!

January 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

A friend and I recently discussed the proliferation of ugly skin tags sprouting on our baby-boomer skin. It seems a new crop grows every day. But as we are on limited budgets, having ALL these uglies removed by the dermatologist is not financially beneficial to a comfortable retirement, and so those good ol’ home remedies beckon from magazines, books, and the internet.
I mentioned to my friend that I had just begun the vinegar treatments. For one week, I had applied vinegar twice a day to my skin tags. “Oh, but vinegar evaporates so quickly,” she said. So, that got me to worrying. Could it really work in a few seconds to remove those hated growths? Probably not….just like so many other home remedies I had tried…nice to dream about, but either barely or not at all productive. And so with my doubts growing, I decided, instead, to purchase a product GUARANTEED to eradicate every single tag. A special, natural, tree oil, unique in its healing properties. Hundreds of satisfied customers. Almost instant results. Just $26.99….uh, well, okay, cancel a couple of lunches out, and I’d be tag free. It was worth it. I tucked the bottle of vinegar into the vanity cabinet and clicked on the “Easy Order” button for the product.
A week later, my miracle tree oil arrived.
The box is recycled paper…GREAT!!!!! The harvesting of the oil does not harm the trees…SUPER!!!! The oil is all natural…FANTASTIC!!!
I opened the box, then the dark bottle, colored so as to protect the precious oil from exposure to sun and incandescent light. It smelled …well, funky, pungent, and familiar. Where had I smelled that odor before? My brain sorts information a bit more slowly these days, so when I couldn’t quite remember the source of the smell, I shrugged and grabbed a cotton ball, doused it with the miracle treatment and immediately applied to my skin-tags: on my neck, at the base of my hair line, on my shoulders, on my chest, everywhere my clothes had rubbed and made a home for the ugly little boogers.
Ummm….the odor was, well… STRONG. Surely, I thought, it will dissipate in a few minutes. I closed the bottle, stored it in the cool darkness of the cabinet and proceeded to dress for the day. There was shopping to do, a lunch date, and a visit to a friend in the hospital…..But within minutes, the smell had filled not only the bathroom, but the bedroom beyond, my closet, and the hallway. I had to get out of there for a minute.
“Phewww! What is that odor?” my smell-sensitive husband asked as I strolled through the den. He got up from the sofa and opened a window. Then the back door. (It’s 40 degrees outside today, y’all.)
“What is that smell?” he asked, sniffing like some hound dog trailing a fox. Then he began to cough. His eyes watered. He almost GAGGED.
I hurried back to the bathroom. The fumes nearly knocked me out in that small space. I opened the windows, took a huge gulp of fresh air, held it, and rushed back to the hall. But the odor followed me. Through the kitchen, out the back door, onto the screened porch, down the steps, into the yard…but it was still with me.
The odor was coming from ME. The more I moved, the stronger the odor grew. It was the great, super, fantastic, all natural remedy for skin tags I had doused on my body. It was….it was….. it was TURPENTINE!!!!
OH MY WORD! TURPENTINE. That was the name of the vaguely familiar odor I had recognized. TURPENTINE. For sure, my grandmothers had used the oil for many home treatments, but in more recent decades, the noxious ointment had been relegated to cleaning paint brushes, or so I thought.
I went back inside and retrieved the box from the recycling bin. Tree oil. $26.99 plus shipping for tree oil, which was basically just another name for turpentine. The packaging, the advertisement clearly stated the product was tree oil. But I knew what tree oil was. I knew about turpentine. Why had I not remembered it BEFORE I hit that EASY ORDER button? Turpentine? I paid that good money for a few ounces of TURPENTINE.
After another long shower, including a good hair scrubbing, I washed all the clothes I had put on after my baptism in turpentine, removed the trash bag with the saturated cotton ball to the outside trash caddy, and after much spraying of room deodorize, and the lighting of candles, the odor was more bearable. My husband closed the windows and door.
I returned to the bathroom to finish putting things in order and caught sight of the bottle of vinegar I had stored earlier…..hmmmm….. I turned my head first to the left, then to the right examining the tags on my neck. My friend’s words returned to me: “It evaporates so fast.”
Out came another cotton ball and the dousing began again. A few minutes later, a shout from the den: “Are you making a salad?”
I carefully placed the vinegar back in the cabinet, opened the bathroom windows and proceeded to wait. “It evaporates fast,” my friend said. And I could wait. Besides, I’d rather smell like a salad dressing for a few minutes, than like turpentine for even one second…oh, and a few days later, one skin tag fell off. YES!!!!!!!!
All this to remind you as writers to beware any fast, guaranteed process of writing a saleable book. There are lots of offers out there. Lots of courses. Lots of people trying to make a living by offering miracle cures for what ails your writing.
Be careful. Be aware.
You can’t return those for a full refund, as I intend to do for my miracle tree oil.

***I can recommend two great writing programs: Margie Lawson and James Patterson. Both available on line. Both worth the time and investment. AND they don’t smell bad.
Happy writing!


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