I recently saw an ad in which Dr. Joyce Brothers admonished me about the dangers of living alone and recommended that I get a product that is basically 911 on a lavalier. I think similar product advertisements spawned a generation of “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” jokes but that ad aired so long ago that I no longer have any recall of the product it advertised. Though I do recall that Bobby Brady’s first kiss was a girl named Millicent and she was played by the girl who played Mary on “Little House on the Prairie”. So there’s that.
Anyway, Dr. Joyce Brothers claims that people who live alone need this gizmo by Alert USA. A male voice-over announcer then elaborates on the service, saying that if a person with one of these gadgets (and the accompanying subscription to the call center) falls or “needs assistance”, they can press a button and get a trained professional on the line to help them out. Cue the shot of the woman on her living room floor and the ambulance pulling up to her well-manicured suburban home.
I watched these ads thinking “Oh please, Dr. Joyce Brothers. Like I would need any assitance if I lived alone. In fact, I would need less assistance if I lived alone because without C. and the Great Guy I Married in my house, there would never be any risk of finding myself up to my elbows in poopy diaper with my BlackBerry buzzing, the oven timer beeping, and the Wiggles urging me to dance along. I need help because I don’t live alone!”
It was then that I had the marketing idea of the century – a lavalier that allows moms to call for help whenever they need it. Imagine if you were trying to contain a soapy, wet, post-bath toddler who was slipping through your hands like a greased pig and racing off to drip – or pee-pee – in remote corners of the house, laughing all they way. Imagine if, in this situation, instead of chasing the child around begging him to come get dressed for bed, or at least pee-pee on a hard floor, not the carpet, you could press a button and have another adult appear to run defense and catch the wet child and help you wrestle him into enough stillness to get a diaper on his slick little bottom.
Or if you were underneath your table trying to prevent the cat from eating the Goldfish crackers because they make her throw-up and the last thing you need leading up to bed time is cat puke, all the while trying to dodge droppings of applesauce and macaroni with tomato sauce that are plunking down all around you as your toddler feeds himself using a fork, a utensil he has not yet mastered and tends to use more as a bulldozing tool to push food off the table than an implement for leveraging food into his mouth. At this moment, you could push a button and summon a person to assist the toddler in the intricacies of fork-use OR clean up cat vomit, whichever appeals to you less.
Or imagine if you were sitting in a darkened room, silent, staring at the wall while your child, who will shriek like he’s being stabbed with a thousand hot needles if you leave the room, lies in bed, awake, and playing quietly with his lovey and not going to sleep even though you need him to go to sleep so you can have a moment to breath alone, imagine if you could push a button right now and someone would walk into the room and give you a big glass of merlot.
Imagine being the one who got to call for help instead of always being the one to respond to endless requests of “More milk please, put on mittens, take off mittens, I need binky, where daddy go, what’s that noise, I want Ernie-Bert on big tv!”
It would be like having a live-in nanny. Or a butler. Or…a mom of my own.