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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Shopping with Cyber Dummy
By Linda Germain


Companies who make things fun and interesting are likely to increase sales Ė right? Not when they broadside the customer with something more frightening and painfully honest than a magnified three-way mirror. My innocent stumble into this realty check was a real eye-opener.

Browsing for clothing on line is so much easier on a tired body than expending energy going to the mall. With a simple click, dozens of styles and colors flash across the screen for our perusal. The one-dimensional catalogue-type pictures all run together after awhile. One night I discovered a place that featured a made-to-order mannequin that could be programmed to look like the shopper.

This particular company had a picture of your basic woman shape and parts, covered with your even more basic non-descript underpinnings. Each answer I gave to their questions changed the size and figure of the model. There were hairstyles I could choose, as well as eye shapes, wrinkles, and points of ethnicity. Little by little she became me.

After Barbie-Stein morphed from ageless, ho-hum regular to middle-aged and not that skinny anymore irregular, I was invited to select articles of clothing for her to model. She was very accommodating, even turning slowly so that I could see what I looked like from every angle. Ouch! This window-shopping adventure was becoming a nightmare. Like staring at an impending train wreck, I was unable to look away as Ms. Dumpy Doll swiftly changed into every outfit they had to offer. Most of the time she resembled a preppy bag lady, all dressed up and no place to go.

When I went back and entered the data regarding weight and measurements that I used to be, and was working on being again, the old girl didnít look half bad. A tweak to the hair and an upgrade in style made an amazing difference.

The online shopping experience was reminiscent of playing paper dolls, only with a computer. The difference was, back then we only had those predictable ensembles with little tabs that folded over their cardboard shoulders; we couldnít change their bodies.

What if we had an option for the same kind of self-editing of our spirits? If it were possible to enter data reflecting the true state of our hearts, would the picture on screen be ugly and repulsive? Would it change for the better if we backed up to a more innocent time or shot forward to what we aspire but never attain?

Face to face with Godís 360-degree mirror and with unrepentant sin glaringly obvious in our reflections, Jesus is the only cloak of righteousness that will cover our pitifully bared souls and cause us to cry, ďI was blind, but now I see.Ē

If it were possible to strip that virtual woman past her industrial strength underwear and pixilated form, there would be nothing left but white space and air. She is only the figment of someoneís imagination. That little visit to the clothing catalogue website made me wonder if the image most flesh and blood people have of their spiritual selves, when measured against Godís Holy Standard, would be covered in pure white robes or filthy rags.

The thought provoking truth generated by a cyber shopping trip was profound. Beyond the physical make-over dream that hovers around the edge of many a humanís mind, there are too many eternal hearts that need to be changed for the good by knowledge and faith, or, sadly, suffer the bad by simply staying a dummy.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Leigh MacKelvey03/10/07
That was a wisdom building shopping trip you took! This was like a well written article or devotional I might read in a Christian magazine. It had an improtant truth given in a non-preachy manner through an intersting story. Well done.
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
Different take on shopping. Good pov. Good writing.
Debbie Roome 03/14/07
Fascinating. I enjoyed this.