The subject line of the email was "erase wrinkles while you sleep." I assumed it was an ad for some miracle face cream made with yak butter, a newly discovered rejuvenating supplement, or a newly rediscovered ancient secret ingredient harvested from deep in the rain forest.
Ordinarily I would have sent it straight to the trash with the rest of the spam. I'd have missed this opportunity to look younger, just as I regularly spurn opportunities to find free government grants, buy cheaper car insurance, order upside-down tomato planters, and of course gain millions by sending my bank account information to someone from Nigeria.
But my computer was slow that morning. While I was waiting for it to finish thinking, I had time to read the wrinkle-erasing ad. It wasn't selling a cream, a supplement, or a new form of Botox. It was selling a pillowcase. Only $19.95, plus $7.95 shipping and handling—and order now to get a second one absolutely free except for additional shipping and handling.
These pillowcases, described as "the world's best kept beauty secret," are made from silk charmeuse, which sounds as if it comes from French-speaking silkworms. According to the ad, this silk contains natural protein. It also hydrates your skin.
I'm not sure the idea of a skin-hydrating pillowcase is all that appealing. It sounds too much like trying to go to sleep on one of those hot, muggy summer nights when everything feels clammy and you keep turning your pillow over just in case the underside might be a little bit cooler.
Then there is the minor technical detail that, in order to take advantage of the wonderful proteins and skin-hydrators in your silk charmeuse pillowcase, you would presumably need to sleep with your face mashed into the fabric. If you sleep on your side, you'd have to be sure to turn over in the middle of the night in order to avoid waking up with one side of your face looking younger than the other. If you sleep on your back, you'd apparently just be out of luck.
What I found most fascinating, however, was the refreshing truth in advertising of this email. My guess is that one of these pillowcases would work exactly as specified.
Nowhere in the careful wording of its two paragraphs was it stated that this beauty secret would eliminate wrinkles in your skin. You might indeed wake up in the morning and find fewer wrinkles than usual. Not in your face, though. In your pillowcase.
It's probably not worth $19.95, plus shipping and handling, to find out for sure.