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The Secret Life of a ‘Shark Tank’ Superfan

Hi. My name is Jack, and I'm addicted to buying things I see on 'Shark Tank.'

It all started innocently enough. I had heard about Shark Tank, but I didn't think it was for me. I watched prestige dramas and smart comedies. I would never be one of those reality TV people.

Then one fateful Friday night, there was nothing on TV. I was sick, and I had always enjoyed Mark Cuban as an NBA owner. Why not? I thought. As soon as the episode ended, my night disappeared.

First I turned to Hulu for recent episodes. Then On-Demand for a few more. By three in the morning I was deep down a rabbit hole of bootleg episodes that someone had uploaded onto YouTube. It only took one night to get me hooked on the Tank. I just wish it had stopped there. If only it had stopped there.

The first thing I bought was Breathometer. It was a totally defensible purchase. I was moving from New York to L.A. Driving would soon be a bigger part of my life. Having a keychain breathalyzer that could hook up to my phone seemed not only reasonable but responsible. Plus all five sharks backed it, in a record-breaking deal! That's an endorsement.

My next purchase was equally acceptable: The Scrub Daddy. Who doesn't need a revolutionary sponge that has a smiley face on it? I mean sure, I wasn't totally positive why it was so much better than the sponges I already had, but Lori immediately knew it was a hero and not a zero. Who am I to argue with the Queen of QVC?

And that's where it started to spin out of control. Daisy Cakes? Sure, I ate a whole one while watching Mark and Mr. Wonderful snipe at each other. Bantam Bagels? Why not. I never thought I wanted a bagel ball with stuff inside, but I'm open-minded. Wicked Good Cupcakes? I love cupcakes. I love mason jars. Finally a product that combines those two loves with my love for balding Canadian investors with ironic nicknames. Nuts N More peanut butter is a protein-filled peanut butter perfect for a weight lifter. I'm not a weight lifter, but I bought and ate a jar or two anyway. How about Pipcorn? Pipcorn is popcorn but smaller, and when they were in the Tank I didn't get the appeal of their product. I love normal-sized popcorn, so I wisely stepped away from a bag of Pipcorn when I saw it at Whole Foods, right? Wrong! I bought two bags. They were delicious. And to this day I Postmates dinner from Cousin's Maine Lobster once every few weeks. There are other places that are closer where I could eat cheaper, but I feel compelled to support Barbara Corocoran and the company she invested in.

The Chord Buddy Guitar Learning System would have been a fine purchase. Except I do not currently, nor have I ever, owned a guitar.

I'm not quite sure what it was that led me down this inexplicable, wallet-draining rabbit hole. Maybe it was the sense that I was personally helping the nice everyday Americans the show profiled in such inspiring ways. Maybe it was because, I usually watched the show on Friday nights after I got home from going out, or Saturday mornings while nursing a hangover. Those are vulnerable times.

In any case, thanks to my addiction, I now also own ill-fitting jeans from Buck Mason (the jeans seemed nice; buying jeans online didn't) and, perhaps most disturbingly, a Chord Buddy Guitar Learning System—a very clever product that attaches to the neck of a guitar and lets you use buttons instead of holding chords to learn how to play until you eventually wean yourself off the device and know how to play guitar. This would have been a fine purchase. Except I do not currently, nor have I ever, owned a guitar. To this day, I don't know what led me to buy it. Robert Herjavec's magnetic eyes? I don't know, but it was a mistake.

Shark Tank returns tonight, and I couldn't be more excited. This year I will be doing my best to enjoy Mark's gamesmanship and Lori's brilliance and Mr. Wonderful's evil and Robert's scary enthusiasm without buying products. That is, unless they invest in anything as life-changing as the Squatty Potty. In the years since I started watching Shark Tank, it is the only product I've purchased that I can recommend with no hesitation. It changes your posture when you poop and makes everything better. I thank the Tank every time I use the bathroom.

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