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How to Electrocute Your Sister-in-Law

Let me start by saying the electrocuted Sister-in-Law is fine and thanks to faux Cher, I have been absolved for my treachery. Now that you know that, let’s continue with the story.

Professor Ernie Farr at the University of North Texas used to tell her advertising students, “A great salesperson will buy anything,” because when they are offered a new product or gadget they will instinctively start looking for its most appealing qualities, the things they would promote if they were on the selling side of the conversation; thereby creating a pitch that is precisely targeted to fulfilling their own needs and virtually impossible not to act on. If Ernie Farr’s adage is correct, I am the world’s finest salesperson because I will buy literally anyfuckingthing.

I proved this yet again at the Building NY 2019 trade show this week. We were there to make connections with people in the commercial building/real estate world for The Hubby’s company (they install cell phone enhancement systems in 72-story residential high rises and hospital campuses and such, so we like to meet facilities management folks). Anyhoo, after a few hours of pounding the concrete on the show floor, my dogs were barking and my back was straight up wailing, so when that cute little Russian gal offered me a rechargeable electrical stimulation massage unit that I could conveniently and discreetly wear while I walked around and shook hands with my 6,000 new friends, PLUS (because she liked me) I could also get the special foot massage flip flops – all for the low, low, ‘trade-show-only’ price of $225 – how was I supposed to resist? Besides, I’m a total sucker for an accent (#ASMR). And that’s how I came to own a tiny electric chair in a box.

I wore it for the rest of the day and believe it or not, it actually worked. With a controller about the size of your two thumbs side by side (or your one thumb flattened with a mallet to twice its normal width), you choose whichever stimulation pattern and level of intensity you want to receive. A wire runs from the controller down to two electrodes which you snap onto two sticky pads and then slap the stickies on whichever disagreeable muscle you want to electro-shock into submission. Slip the controller in your pocket and now you’re free to roam around and get your convention on while being therapeutically zapped. Like I said, it really did work. My back felt better at the end of the day than it had at the beginning. I was supposed to use it in moderation for a single 20-30 minute session but I chose to run it for three solid hours instead because … well, frankly, because I could. By the end of the trade show I badly needed a plug.

This is where The Sister in Law comes in. She always very generously offers up her lavish Manhattan apartment as home base for any of The Hubby’s NYC trips so when we finished up at the trade show we headed back to her place for some delicious napping and recharging of all batteries both literal and figurative. When SiL got home from work that evening I was 10 kinds of excited to demonstrate my wisely purchased new toy. I got her all hooked up with a sticky pad on her hand, checked that the battery was at 100% and started zapping. Nothing. I swapped the wire back and forth between the A port and the B port. Nothing. I turned the juice waaaaay up thinking maybe she just had a mad tolerance for electrical impulses. Nothing. I put it back on myself. Nothing. Finally, just when I was starting to think that adorable Russian gal had hoodwinked me, I put the sticky pad A on her hand and put sticky pad B on my own arm, and then tried touching the pad on her hand and I got a little shock on my fingertips. AHA! Of course – that’s how electricity works, it has to have a ground wire so it closes the circuit and flows through: I realized that she needed to have BOTH of the sticky pads on herself so I removed sticky pad B from my arm and gently, delicately, placed it on her hand alongside the A pad. You have to remember, I had the juice turned waaaaay up because I thought she was impervious to electricity. She was not.

She barked a sound that I’ve never heard a human make. It was kind of like the sound the velociraptors in Jurassic Park made when they were stalking the grandkids in the kitchen. (See video below for reminder. It’s at :44). She simultaneously flew two feet straight into the air – and let me be clear here, she didn’t stand up, she just went up – still in a seated position – and started screaming, “Get it off! Get it off!” while clawing to remove the sticky pads and wires like an injured action hero in the hospital claws out his IV and breathing tube when he suddenly realizes he’s the only one who can save his City/World/Orphan.

You have to understand that my SiL is a top-tier VIP executive who has honest-to-God been on the cover of Time Magazine and is often held up as an example of female empowerment in the corporate world. She has earned and is accustomed to being catered to, pampered, spoiled, chauffeured and generally having every desire accommodated. She is NOT accustomed to being electrocuted.

It took about 20 minutes for her to recover the feeling in her hands and about 21 minutes for The Hubby and I to stop cry-laughing long enough to pull ourselves up off the floor and start getting dressed for the amazing New York City evening that the very thoughtful and newly electro-shocked SiL had arranged for us.

She had pulled some strings and gotten us a prime table at Tavern on the Green where she treated us to a sumptuous dinner of lobster risotto, black truffle mac ‘n cheese and a decadent peanut butter chocolate lava cake for dessert. We waddled out of Tavern on the Green, poured ourselves into the waiting town car and were whisked to The Cher Show on Broadway to be escorted down to our perfect fourth row center seats. If you’re thinking this feels a bit unbalanced – I electrocute her, she treats us to an unparalleled, iconic New York night on the town – well, you’re right. If I were capable of guilt I probably would have been feeling a lot of it at that moment.

The Cher Show is an explosion of color and fashion (400 costume changes!) and music and three badass Chers who narrate different stages of her life story. It starts with a reenactment of her “If I Could Turn Back Time” video – you remember, the one where she’s on a Navy battleship, wearing not much more than fishnets, stilettos and a black rubber band, gyrating through a cluster of very, very happy sailors. As the opening song wraps, Cher One grabs a sailor’s hat, looks me straight in the eye, smiles and tosses the hat right to me! I reached up, easily plucking it out of the air because it was predestined to be mine and I was merely fulfilling the will of the Broadway gods. Suddenly, the refined, sophisticated, cultured blonde Sister in Law to my left body-checked me and ripped the hat out of my clenched fist with her perfectly manicured, recently electrocuted hands. Everyone around us gasped, cattily whispering, “Oh. My. Gawd. Girl, did you see what that bee-otch just did?!” I think the SiL was as shocked by her own behavior as anyone but hey, she didn’t get to the top of the business world by sitting meekly by and wishing for things to come her way. No, she fucking reached out and snatched what she wanted like a literal goddamn boss (#girlpower).

She sank into her seat with the hat clutched to her chest, sheepishly murmuring, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, this is the greatest souvenir I’ve ever gotten” as if there had been some sort of discussion wherein I willingly offered her this memento. Now, if we had been at a U2 concert and Bono had tossed me his crucifix necklace, some shit would have gone down. But as it was, I wasn’t nearly as emotionally attached to the hat as the Sister in Law, so I was mostly cool with giving it up. Plus, she bought me a “Let’s do this, bitches” t-shirt and a signed playbill. I did have a tiny twinge of regret when she discovered that the inside of the hat was autographed by the star of the show, but I then I remembered how I had started her evening. I asked if keeping the hat would compensate for the electrocution and she said yes. Yes, it would.

Thanks faux Cher.


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