“Lose 20 pounds in six weeks,” the magazine article proclaims, “while eating whatever you want and doing no strenuous exercise.” The key to the diet is grapefruit it seems. According to the esteemed doctor who wrote the article, there is a little-known miraculous ingredient in grapefruit that counteracts calories, but it is essential to eat one grapefruit every day before eating anything else. I’m no doctor, but I suspect that a grapefruit a day will not keep the calories at bay all by itself. Eat your grapefruit and conscientiously follow a low-calorie diet, and that probably will work, but to lose 20 pounds in a mere 6 weeks, you’d better eat just a grapefruit a day and nothing else. That’s not very long.

My daddy always told me that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Mama, on the other hand, was a little bit gullible. Once she saw an ad for six white towels for an inordinately low price. She ordered them immediately and eagerly checked the mailbox every day for her package. Finally, they came. The towels were beautiful and thick—paper, that is. When they came into contact with water, they dissolved. Mama was furious, especially when Daddy teased her about it.