Back in the dark ages of my former job, when everyone in the office was far less discerning than the people who work there today, we were so desperate for advertising dollars that the editor in chief/sales manager (conflict of interest? naahhh) would do almost anything to sell a page of advertising. So there was this "doctor" from Brooklyn, NY, (I think he was actually a dentist) who had developed these things called Chakra Chips. They were little bits of colored plastic that looked like the remains of a three-hole-punch party, and the "doctor" had allegedly infused them with magical "biomagnetic" energy that would realign the seven chakra centers of the body. All you had to do was tape them onto yourself at certain points -- as I recall, under the belly button was one power spot, and another was the bottom of your foot.
The thing is, in order to get $2,000 out of these people (for a two-page ad spread), my editor/sales boss promised that we'd also write a nice big article about them, explaining the benefits of their product and telling readers how they could obtain these magical chips.
I should have quit right then, but honestly, I wanted to write the article. So I did a brief interview with the dentist's assistant, an extremely paranoid and bombastic woman, and I asked one of my boss's friends to wear some of the chips for a day for an objective report. I also taped some chips on myself.
The effects of the chips were, of course, nonexistent. My boss's friend told me that he had worn the green chips on the bottom of his feet for three days (the green chips were supposed to help you heal your relationship with money), but that at the end of 72 hours he was still a poor sonofabitch and if he had actually spent money on these things he would demand a refund. (Maybe that's how you make money with them?)
I had a ball writing the story; I wish I still had a copy of it.
Naturally, part of the ad contract stipulated that the "doctor" and his assistant be able to review the story before we printed it. (Why didn't I quit then? I didn't want to go back to being a professional cashier.) So I faxed it to them, kind of blithely hoping that they'd take it in the jaunty, Esquiresque spirit in which I'd written it.
Wrong. I can count on one finger the times that someone has been so absolutely spitting mad at me. It was the assistant who yelled at me; at one point I think she even told me to go sit in a corner and think about what I'd done. It's taken me a while to realize that people who go absolutely mental on you are exactly that: mental. You're not required to take it personally. And anyway, what should I have expected from a nutcase who worked for a guy who'd invent such a thing?
After my boss calmed her down (I've got to hand it to him, he wasn't mad at me at all), together they came up with a brilliant solution to my inability to write their "advertorial." My boss not only agreed to put a picture of the dentist on the cover of the magazine, but he also went and let them write the article! Of course! Since they know so much about the Chakra Chips, only the developer and his unholy bitch of an assistant could give the chips the editorial treatment they deserved.
I still treasure my copy of that issue of the magazine. Here's one of the most brilliant paragraphs in the whole piece:
Any misconceptions about reality will stagnate and deviate the energy flows in issues of money, health, love, etc. Most of the BIOMAGNETIC CHIPS were designed to deal with the conceptual reality of these flows like prosperity and romantic love. They facilitate the change in perception in these areas and the release of erroneous belief systems.
I should have copyedited that better, but I really just didn't feel like it. And that's only half the story, the art department had to design their ad. I don't think we ever got paid for the work, either.
Releasing the story of Chakra Chips after so long is like lancing an infected boil on my soul.