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Always in search of the right 'after'
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There is a commercial on TV for some diet plan. In the spot, the heavy version of a woman is having a conversation with her thin version.

I think you can rest assured that this was not filmed in a day. I assume that they filmed the heavy version first. Otherwise, she put away some serious calories in short order.

I’ve often dreamed about the fat me having a conversation with thin me. Unfortunately, I usually wake up, realize it was a dream, and go fix myself a sandwich.

Before and after is a tactic that has been around a long time.

Jesus first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding. No one ever said anything about how good the water was. They complimented him on some mighty fine wine.

It’s the after that we’re after.

I love watching commercials for stuff they sell by calling a toll-free number. They sell a lot of stuff designed for a better “after.”

There are several spots for potions that will make your car look better. They have a car that looks like it has been driven through a war zone. Then, some guy rubs a substance on it with a rag and, boom, it looks like it is rolling off the assembly line.

You’ll see commercials for knives that will glide through a tomato like a bow glides across the strings of a violin. That happens after the actor has used it to cut a tin can in half.

The mother of before and after gadgets is the Veg-A-Matic. I think I saw that commercial about 5,000 times in the early days of WTBS. “It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries,” the announcer intones.

Then, there is the greatest catch phrase of all those great sales pitches: “But that’s not all.”

If you dial the toll-free number, they’re going to send you something else that you just can’t do without.

The “afters” that amuse me the most is ones for various elective medical procedures. They’ll show a picture, usually of a woman, who is as ugly as homemade sin. Then, she get’s a face-lift, uses some potion or gets a needle full of something stuck in her face and, voila, she is the belle of the ball.

They repeat this in other medical fields. Somewhere, they find someone with a gap in their teeth that you could drive a truck through. Then, a little dental work and they have a movie star smile.

The TV gurus know that there are many older Americans watching TV. They make a pitch for a walking cane that is supposed to be the absolute greatest. Among the features of the walking cane is a “certificate of authenticity.”

What is that? Does it say, “This is to certify that this is not a mop handle”?

Dale Stone, my good friend and the answer to the greatest trivia question ever, went out in the woods and got him a tree limb. He looks like Moses when he walks around. I never saw Moses, but Dale is pretty authentic.

By the way, the trivia question is what professional played for the Hawks, Braves and Flames? Dale Stone; he played the organ.

You don’t need a certificate of authenticity to answer that one.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on


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