Her name was Lizza (“Like lizard but without the rd”) Sofft (“But I’m not”). She saw herself as a tough cookie (“Without the cookie”). The reason she assumed a tough persona was, at first, financial. She took on a job as a skeptic in a hair removal infomercial. The character was so convincing, the product sold twice as many the promoter had predicted.

Over the next five years, her followers, many of them shopaholics, followed her from channel to channel to net-fomercial. At the start of each infomercial, Lizza portrayed an evil naysayer, sometimes spitting on the product, sometimes grabbing the product and attempting (never successfully) to smash it into tiny, TV merchandise smithereens. By the end of the infomercial, having experienced the amazing benefits of the shoe inserts, butt enhancer, or cabbage chopper, she transformed into a blubbering yet exultant convert. Some compared her portrayal to Scrooge’s conversion from, well, Scrooge, to giving patriarch, but Scrooge had nothing on her.

The problem started when Lizza started hating her work. “This is so pointless,” she screamed while her makeup artist applied No Cracks No Crevices, a wonder foundation that smoothed skin phenomenally. “Who cares about a dog toothbrush?”

Day after day, she screamed and ranted, until finally, Steven, the production assistant from Badwater, California had enough. Lizza had refused the Fruit Fizzle she’d demanded from him, even though he’d gone all the way across town to retrieve one. “Then quit,” said Steven.

The room hushed. All you could hear were the tinny strains of “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the earphones of the lighting designer. Lizza turned to the production assistant and hissed, “Just quit. Right. And what would you have me do instead?”

The production assistant blinked twice. “I don’t know. Go into politics or something.”

Lizza sat back. A crafty smile spread across her face. She nodded. “Politics. Now that’s a thought.”

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