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Just Thinking: Internet junk is not worth the temptation

Margo Bartlett
Guest columnist

Nobody needs to tell me; I know. Becoming annoyed that internet junk is junky is like reading a comic book and griping that pictures aren’t literature. I know

I don’t usually fall for content that entices readers like a sideshow barker promising naughty delights, but sometimes the urge to peek is like a child’s urge to peel a nice round scab from a knee. 

Margo Bartlett

That’s why I went wrong recently, not once, but twice. 

First I opened something promising, “Kitchen decor mistakes only boomers make.” It was the “boomers” that snagged me. That was such a nice, crispy scab.

Well, I paid for my weakness because behind the “kitchen décor” door was what amounted to an unprovoked attack, not just on older adults but on pretty much anyone with a kitchen.

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“Don’t let your cabinets be the dead giveaway that you haven’t remodeled in a few decades,” it began.

And referring to overhead pot racks: “Unless you’re cooking in some sun-drenched Tuscan villa, do yourself a favor and store your pots in cabinets like everybody else.” 

About sliding barn doors: “You’re not fooling anyone into thinking you’re a rustic person. ... Barn doors are commonly associated with livestock and the excrement that those livestock produce.” 

As for linoleum: “Forget that cheap, tired plastic you call a floor and go for some actual tiling instead.”

Also, fluorescent lighting is “disgusting,” valances are “monumentally outdated” and speckled granite “not only is the most common and tired version of granite, but the look just makes people think that you don’t want to clean up after yourself.”

I can’t tell you how annoyed I was for reading that nonsense, yet not two days later, I watched a video of a young woman promising to turn a $5 store-bought cake into something spectacular.

The woman probably was attractive, though all I noticed were the long white fingernails on the hands pushing a drinking glass through the center of a decorated cake.  

“Twist the glass a little,” she said, demonstrating, before pulling up the glass with the center of the cake inside it. 

Now came the spectacular part: Into the cavity she had created, our host poured a jar of multicolored sprinkles, a jar of pink sprinkles, a jar of red and blue stars, a jar of large round things that I learned are mother of pearl glimmer pearls (sounds redundant to me, but, hey, I’m a sloven who hasn’t remodeled her kitchen since the Carter administration) and a jar of sparkly silver sprinkles.

When the cake’s center was heaped with sugar, corn starch, palm oil and various things of which soy lecithin sounded the most edible, our video star proceeded to spread white icing over the sprinkles and the top of the already decorated cake. She started out using a knife but eventually employed a white-nailed finger to even up her frosting circle, although, just between us, the circle remained so lopsided as to make my obsessive-compulsive tendencies wake up and whimper.  

She licked her finger and then used the shiny finger to smooth the frosting. Even as I was gaping in horror, I noticed an object that had been on the counter all this time: A hair brush. A hairy hairbrush, reposing near the icing bowl.

My obsessive-compulsive tendencies ran screaming from the room when our host picked up the hairbrush and casually moved it to the other side of the cake, still within camera range.

Until this moment, I’d had no intention of commenting on this video. I had thought I’d slip away, even after the young woman cut a slice of the altered cake, causing sprinkles and stars and glimmer pearls and more sprinkles to pour out of the cake like lava.

Now, however, I composed a comment in my head. “That hairbrush,” I planned to say. But it wasn’t necessary. Every commenter mentioned the hairbrush, decried the hairbrush, condemned the hairbrush. A few also lamented the ruination of a perfectly good cake. They were just getting started on the finger licking when I quietly closed the window and went back to work.

I blame no one but myself for these sorry incidents. This is no doubt what is meant by just deserts. With sprinkles on top.

Write to Margo Bartlett at margo.bartlett@gmail.com.