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Q: Isn't there an easier way?
Q: What's that?
A: Bullworker...a revolutionary new muscle-building exerciser based upon isometrics...four times faster than conventional methods.... Many leading athletes use it; world-famous heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, world heavyweight judo champion Wim Ruska and cycling champion Eddy Merckx, to name only a few.
How could I pass up the device? I sent in the coupon, "no obligation," for more information on Bullworker. In a few days I received a heavy manila envelope stuffed with "literature" about Bullworker and related muscle and power mechanisms. The main pamphlet pictured a young no-nonsense-type executive pointing at me. You could tell he was vice-presidential material from the fact that he wore French cuffs. The balloon by his mouth said, "I challenge you...."If I just got down to business with Bullworker, I'd feel "spry," "fit for work," able to "compete with younger men." But he didn't say for what.
The packet also included flyers for such products as The Karatok Gripper, which would give me hands as powerful as "tiger's claws." This ad showed a young man using The Karatok Gripper, a device that looked like a basketball rim, with springs attached to finger holes, so that tension was put on the springs when flexing the hand. Not only did the guy have his shirt off, an apparent necessity when exercising the fingers, but he had the longest sideburns outside of Nashville. There was also an ad for Torsomed, by means of which women can attain higher busts, slimmer hips and flatter tummies. The ads never suggested that a woman might want to use The Karatok Gripper in preparation for political campaigns and handshaking, which I found outright chauvinistic.
As I read through the various pieces of mail, getting up my nerve to order Bullworker, a phone call came from the company. It was concerned about the slow mails and just knew I'd want Bullworker as soon as I could get my weak arms on it. Would I like one sent? Apparently the company didn't trust the guy with the French cuffs or the guy with the sideburns to spur me to action.
Bullworker turned out to be a visual disappointment. With a name like that, I had expected something of epic proportions. Bullworker looked like a telescoping closet rod with a rubber hand grip on each end. Inside Bullworker is a powerful spring. The idea is to compress Bullworker, putting tension on various muscle groups. In short, it was a device for isometric exercises. Running parallel to the main shaft were two plastic-coated cables for pulling.
The Bullworker ads had made much of the amazing built-in "powermeter," which turned out to be a sliding plastic disc moving along a graduated scale on the tube, thereby showing how far you had compressed Bullworker. Sales must be good in Europe, for the German equivalent of "powermeter," Kraftaufwand, was also printed on the rod, and Britons must be building massive pecs, for the word "Musclometre" also appeared. Truly an international product.
Bullworker came with a surprisingly elegant brochure. And when the bill arrived several weeks later, I remembered why. Bullworker costs $41.50.