By: Mary Fran Bontempo
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I thought I was finished with graduations.

Yes, I still have kids in school, but personally, my last graduation took place quite a while ago, after an intense four years of college. Like graduation from elementary and high school, that one was a passage into a new, exciting world full of promise and potential.

But recently, I received another “diploma,” entirely unanticipated and frankly, unwelcome. It appears that I have “graduated” into the world of industrial strength cosmetics.

Americans are big on power. Power is good and more power is better. Strong? Okay. Extra strength? Well of course we want extra strength. Move onto industrial strength and you’ve achieved the ultimate in power.

All of which is fine with me if we’re talking about something to take the soap scum off of my shower. But industrial strength on my face?

Last week, as I walked through a department store, I stopped at a cosmetics counter. Within seconds, the sales clerk honed in.

“Can I help you?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t wear much makeup, but I was thinking I might need something to cover up these dark circles under my eyes. Do you have any suggestions?”

The woman looked at me (I’m not sure, but I think she winced) and made a beeline across the floor.

“I have just the thing. It’s an industrial strength concealer. It hides everything—circles, blemishes, discoloration, broken capillaries, redness—everything. It lasts all day. And it won’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles. You can put it all over your face. This is exactly what you need,” she chirped.

Ouch. Discoloration? Broken capillaries? Redness? I thought I needed a little help, but an industrial strength product slathered all over my face? Seems like it was only yesterday that a touch of mascara and a swipe of lip gloss did the trick. Suddenly I’ve moved on to products that require application with a trowel.

I didn’t even know cosmetics came in industrial strength. But if this is the trend, I’m guessing that next time I need makeup they’ll send me across the street to Home Depot.

“I’m sorry Ma’am, but you’re too far gone for even the industrial strength concealer. If you head over to aisle seven at the Home Depot you’ll find spackle to fill in those crevices. Next row over has the primers and you can top it all of with the heavy duty latex indoor/outdoor paint in aisle nine.”

After the sales clerk delivered her verbal smack down, I plunked twenty bucks on the counter and pocketed a tiny, circular pod of super-potent facial cover up. I suppose I shouldn’t feel too badly. It seems I’m hardly the only one in need of the product; the accompanying literature was printed in nine languages.

Guess what? The stuff actually works. I slopped it on and watched my flaws disappear, but I think I got a little carried away. Before I realized it, I was scraping the last of it from the container with my fingernail.

Hmmm. Perhaps an industrial strength concealer should come in an industrial sized vat. Maybe I’ll find it when I graduate to buying my cosmetics at Home Depot.

What’s your take on cosmetics with super-powers? Click “comments” below and share!