Monday, July 21, 2008

Attack of the Alien Ooze

It occurred to me that my handy guide to being the Doctor's companion would make an excellent basis for an orientation/training/safety briefing video -- sort of a cross between the airline safety briefing videos and those bad, not updated since the 80s videos they show as part of new employee orientations. I suppose it could be done with just clips from the show, the generic electronic 80s-sounding music and perky voice-over narration, but to really make it art, you'd need to truly mimic the orientation/safety video vibe. You'd need a vapidly smiling TV anchorwoman type host, some cheesy graphics, the generic industrial film sets that only vaguely relate to the real situation (which would make any actual show clips even funnier), and that particular quasi-mime acting style that tends to show up in those films, with the actors miming reactions that aren't entirely appropriate to the situation -- like the way the actors in the airplane safety videos are all, "Oh, look, it's oxygen masks falling from the ceiling. Isn't that interesting?" Not that the airlines would want to model panic and fear on the safety video, but couldn't the actors at least look mildly concerned instead of pleasantly surprised? I have some friends who like to make short parody films, so maybe I'll talk to them about doing the TARDIS orientation video.

I have finally been forced to overcome my denial about the fact that it is, indeed, summer, so on Friday night I decided to give myself a good pedicure that will allow me to wear sandals. And thus, the nightmare began.

First, a brief prologue. Four years ago, when I'd just sold Enchanted, Inc. after more than two years of being unemployed with the occasional freelance job, I decided to go shopping. I'd been living pretty frugally all that time, and I figured I could use a splurge. So, I hit the mall, and I guess the mood I was in made me prey to one of the Kiosk People. I don't know how widespread this is, but in every mall around here, there's at least one kiosk where they sell these Dead Sea bath/beauty products, mostly staffed by young men with exotic accents, and they're very, very aggressive salespeople who grab people as they pass and pretty much hound you to let them give you treatments. That day, I got attacked by one demonstrating the Dead Sea salt scrub. Normally, I have great sales resistance, but the scrub did feel pretty good, and my hands do get a lot of abuse at the keyboard, so I bought some. The problem was, it was pretty messy, so using it was a pain, and eventually it got relegated to a plastic bag in the cabinet under the bathroom sink.

So Friday night, I thought I'd do the full treatment and break out the scrub for my feet (and the hands get treated at the same time while working on the feet). The problem was, apparently the stuff had mutated. It went on pretty well, just a little less oily and drippy than before, and I got my feet and hands all scrubbed, but when I turned on the water to rinse, it turned into this horrible alien ooze. You know when you buy a new appliance and they have the little cards extolling their virtues stuck on with that rubbery stuff? This was like that, only damper and stickier. It didn't rinse off in hot water. It didn't come off with soap and water. It just kept getting stickier, with my hands and feet covered in globs of sticky, oozing slime. A couple of scrubbings with shampoo got enough off that I was able to get my feet into flip-flops and run to the kitchen to find something stronger. I recalled some household hint about oil being good for removing gummy residue left by labels, so I grabbed the cooking oil and the dish soap (for removing the oil) and ran back to the bathroom. By this time, we're about ten minutes from Doctor Who and I was in no shape to be on furniture or to touch anything, so I was panicking. Going through the oil and dish soap routine twice got things to the point I was willing to go into my living room, but my skin still had a slightly sticky quality, so that anything with fuzz or lint stuck to my hands and feet. I put lotion all over, then later when I was doing my nails, I tried rubbing nail polish remover on the affected areas, then more lotion. Eventually, I got it all off, and my hands and feet were pretty soft by the time I was done.

But the attack of the alien ooze definitely affected my TV viewing. First, on Doctor Who when Donna was approached by the pushy fortuneteller lady, all I could think was that she was going to force Donna to let her do some kind of scrub treatment on her. She had the exact same vibe as the Kiosk People (who are, I'm now convinced, the vanguard of some invading alien force). And then on Stargate Atlantis, the doctor being taken over by the alien stuff had her symptoms start with goo all over her hand -- pretty much just like I'd been not too long before. That was rather unsettling.

Now I have to figure out a way to get that stuff off the bathtub (where I was using it). Even after a few rounds with the Scrubbing Bubbles, the bottom of the bathtub and the faucet handle are all sticky.

For future reference, unless there really is something magical about the Dead Sea minerals, you can get a similar effect from Kosher salt in olive oil. And if you have some of that scrub stuff mutating under your sink, be very, very careful.


Natalie Hatch said...

I think Turn Left was one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever, up there with Blink and Monsters Inc (that's the one of the absorbaloff)...
Maybe it should be a "how to" guide, how to survive a 50' monster eating your city, Zombie survival 101, and how to spot a Dalek at twenty paces.

Robin L said...

Ack! I do have some of that Dead Sea Salt stuff lurking in a cabinet somewhere! Thanks for the warning! I'm off to throw it away right now...