My father has lost one of his hearing aids again. I think this is the fifth time since the New Year. Frequently he finds them in the pocket of a sport coat or a pair of pants, but unfortunately that little device doesn’t seem to be holed up in the usual hideouts. We decided to check the washer and dryer…to no avail… and then the ol’ vacuum bag, but that’s when things went south.
My parents had just purchased a new carpet sweeper. Not a Eureka from Sears or a Dirt Devil from Walmart…but the Valhalla of all vacuums…The Kirby Sentria. The crème de la crème deluxe model that costs upwards of two and a half grand. I know it sounds like a lot of money for a couple of hoses, an array of attachments, and some typhoon strength suck, but it’s guaranteed for life. Besides, it’s not just “a little suck.” It’s so powerful that if you sit anywhere near the hose you’ll receive a high colonic. Actually, my mom thought she’d be funny and goose my dad with it, but when she pressed it to his khaki cotton Dockers, the thing sucked his Fruit of the Loom tighty-whities right through them. Shell-shocked, he gathered himself enough to quip that the last time he felt anything close to that down there was on furlough in Guam back in ’43. Lucky he was using his walker at the time or we might still be looking for him wrapped around a belt or smothered in the bag.
I remember the day they made the appointment with the sales agent who was going to give them a “quick demonstration.” Having had my own close call with a Kirby go-getting rep, I warned…”Don’t get hoodwinked into buying one. They are heavy as hell and it will set you back a few G’s.” The next thing I knew…that turbo charged Anaconda was in the walk-in closet…along with attachments, brushes, bristles, wands, shampoos, turbo sander and all.
They recounted how that “cute little girl” came to the door covered in hoses and belts, and lifted that steel lunar lander contraption with such ease it seemed a toddler could meet the challenge.
Then she cleaned an area rug. Seeing that they weren’t ready to sign on the dotted line, she steam cleaned a sofa. Still sensing their reluctance, and looking to seal the deal, she strapped on yet another nozzle to tackle a mattress. Supposedly in one tornadic touchdown, that Kirby relocated bed bugs off their Serta Perfect Sleeper like 1,000 Toto’s en route to Oz.
Of course now that young salesgirl is nowhere to be found…and they can’t run the damn thing. There is a 30-minute instructional DVD designed for Rhodes scholars on how to attach belts and accessories, but my parents are stumped with the on/off button.
That renegade rig is so intimidating that they have shut the door to the closet and left it to languish in solitary confinement like a feared extortionist.
I did pick up the brochure to see if they had any quick-start tidbits. Instead, I found testimonials from satisfied customers describing the many creative uses they’d come up with for their Kirby. Supposedly if you reverse the polarity it turns into a high-powered blower, sending leaves soaring to the next county. Another happy customer had a flat tire. Unable to remove the last lug nut, he pressed the Kirby hose to the hubcap and within a few wind tunnel sucking seconds he was attaching a new wheel. The last review was not as uplifting, but I feel the guy had relatively few options. His young daughter had let her pet lizard out of its cage and somehow it became stuck behind the hot stove. In a moment of brilliance he positioned the hose, and was instantly able to Mach 4 transport that reptile into a soft Oklahoma dust bowl bag.
Now all this would be amusing if my folks were a couple of kids on “Jackass” experimenting with daredevil death wishes, but these are my aging parents. The same people who raised and kept me from harms way and are now in their 80’s. So the declaration of that metal monster lasting a lifetime is superfluous. What’s worse, they charged them list price. They prey on older people who have trouble accessing the internet to find out others have been able to negotiate down to as little as $600 for the same model. Shame on you…. “cute little salesgirl” and anyone else who feeds on those who don’t understand you’re shtick. Kirby Karma is an angry bitch and she’s waiting for you.
There’s still no sign of my dad’s hearing aid. We’re now wondering if it might have reversed course and retreated back through the ear canal. If that’s the case, maybe we should put the hose to his head and see if we can suck that thing to the surface. Then again he’s getting pretty cantankerous, and we’re worried that we might get more of a piece of his mind than we’d bargained for.