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Looking to `Enhance' a Lost Cause

 by Jon F. Merz ( )

             My buddy Leo hated February.

            In fact, between a disastrous Valentine's Day and a never-ending series of bad blind dates, Leo's mood when I spoke with him the other day was about as good as another campaign promise from this year's crop of would-be presidents.

            So, while much of the country is ready for a vacation from the winter doldrums, Leo has decided on a drastic course of action he affectionately refers to as ``personal enhancement."

            Naturally, he needed my help.

            ``Dig up some people who can help me, you know, change me into a real hunk."

            I might have just as easily translated the Rosetta Stone into Fukienese.

            Leo's one of those men women always say is a ``really great guy."  And since he stands 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs in excess of 240 pounds, and boasts a vanishing hairline, extra chin and yellow teeth, you know ``really great guy" means he has as much chance of landing a lingerie model wife as I have of playing in the NBA.  And if you've seen me shoot hoops, you know as well as I do, it just ain't gonna happen.

            But what's life without a challenge, even one as great as this? 

            Remembering something I read once about the importance of a great smile, I stopped first at for an in-depth look at a new process known as laser whitening.  For those of you unfamiliar with this new technology, they fill your mouth with a gel and then use an argon laser to whiten your teeth.  Personally, I've never been keen on radioactive light particles near my mouth, but the results are incredible.  And for about $1,500, Leo could replace his jaundiced chops with a new smile worthy of any toothpaste commercial. 

            Leo wanted to tackle his hair problems next, so I located a few resources, depending on his budget and a keen sense of humor.  First stop:, which lends a nice new spin on hair replacement.  Think of it as a ``Shake N Strand" operation.   Sprinkle small particles of  ``stuff" made from the same keratin protein as real hair onto your thinning areas and you gain instant thickness.  I personally thought it looked more like a pile of ground up pencil lead, but it was a step above the spray paint methods I'd once seen on tabloid TV.

            Or he could head over to and order his choice of synthetic hairpieces designed to conceal highly reflective patches of skull.  I pushed this one simply because they offer repair services in case Leo's black Labrador Sheila thinks it's a small furry rodent and tries to chew it to death.

            But he declined.  It had to be convincing, as real as possible.  So I pointed him to the professionals at for intensive hair transplants.  While there, he could also suction his lipo, plaster his rhino, augment his hands and lips, contour his bod, lift and tuck his face and absorb plenty of collagen.  With a clientele list that reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood, I expected their information brochure to be titled ``How To Look Like a Celebrity Or Just Pay Like One."

            Leo's lack of height has always been a problem, but he didn't want to deal with side effects from growth-hormone injections.  I told him to order the book ``Grow Taller" from for only $37.  Apparently, the book lists a series of exercises and diet needed to naturally stimulate the pituitary gland into releasing more growth hormone.  Leo had images of hanging from a doorway by his neck while ingesting large amounts of Tab soda and asked for more options.

            My personal favorite for adding a whopping 3-8 centimeters of extra height was found at where you can purchase ``Kimi," a shoe implant device that relies on reflexology (foot massage) to stimulate points on the soles of your feet.  This, in turn, charges up your pituitary gland to release more growth hormone.  It retails for $39.95.

            I told him to simply go with a standard set of heel lifts found at any orthopedic store and be done with it.  Either that or start wearing cowboy boots everywhere he went.

            Convinced he could now get a decent-looking date, Leo wanted to make sure if things went ``really well," he had the best equipment money could buy.  I told him to check out, real pros in the field of penile enhancement.  Leo could either choose a lengthening procedure or girth increase.  According to the site most men opt to do both simultaneously.

            Finally, Leo needed some new threads.  Did he ever.  Convincing him to burn his previously canonized flannel shirts in favor of some hot garb proved difficult but not impossible.  Following the exorcism, I pointed him to the male clothing hot spots found at (home of some of the most unattractive fashion models on the Net) and  Both stores feature cutting edge fashion paraded on asexual looking prepubescents who look as vacant as kittens in a pet store window. 

            So, he's off.  Leo set out this morning on a plane, bound for a new life outside the confines of his previous bad self-image.  He's already making plans on his return to start training with Joel Goldes at, who specializes in teaching people to develop or lose accents.  Since Leo's always been keen on Great Britain, I imagine it's only a matter of time before there's a wobbly, cowboy-boot wearing James Bond loose on the streets, sporting fresh chin augmentation among (ahem) other things.

            Watch out ladies.

 Jon F. Merz is a freelance writer working in Boston, Ma.  His nonfiction has been seen in Ura & Omote Journal, World Rhythm Magazine, and  He has also published more than two dozen short fiction pieces in various national and small press magazines. 


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