A play in one act.
A woman walks down the street. Her name is You. Two slim men approach. Let’s call them Artem and Saeju. Both are holding colorful brochures. Money spills from their pockets. They forcefully hand you a brochure.
You: What’s this?
Two Thin Men: It’s revolutionary!
You: It looks like a diet.
TTM: It’s definitely not a diet.
You: It… says “lose weight for good” right here.
TTM: But this program has a secret!
You: Is it me?
TTM: It is you! You will be a success because you’re part of the program!
You: I was part of Weight Watchers, too. Every time.
TTM: This program is completely different than that.
You: What makes it different?
TTM: Stuff like psychology and small goals and sustainable habits.
You: So… it’s a lifestyle change?
You: Just like Weight Watchers. And keto and Whole 30 and paleo and Atkins—
TTM: Not like any of those at all! Totally different. We’re going to teach you things you never knew before. Our tools will help you lose the weight for good!
You: For good?
TTM: Totally for good!
You: What about all the studies that show permanent weight loss is impossible for all but the smallest percentage of people?
TTM: We have testimonials. From real people!
You: How long have they kept the weight off?
TTM: Shannon says right here: forever.
You: Thanks, Shannon, but in my experience, every time I set out to intentionally lose weight, I gain it all back. And usually a few pounds more.
TTM: That’s because you haven’t tried our program! We’re completely different. Look, media sources you’ve heard of and hopefully trust endorse us!
You: Do you advertise with them?
TTM: That’s not important, is it? What matters is that People calls us a way of life! Us said last year was the year of us! We’re on NPR!
You: It looks like the same old thing to me.
TTM: But wait! It’s customized! We bolded the word you everywhere, so you know we care. (And so you blame yourself instead of us when you regain the weight.)
You: What did you say?
TTM: It’s customized. For you!
You: No, the other part, the part you whispered.
TTM: Did we mention it’s 50% off (just in time to prey on your New Year fears of not being small enough)?
You: You know what? You convinced me. I’ll take all of them.
TTM smile and hand you the stack of brochures. You don’t break eye contact as you dump them in the nearest trash barrel and set the whole lot on fire. You put in your headphones and walk away, never looking back.