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I'm just really tempted to buy one of those plastic, life-size mannequins that people send for as a crime deterrent.

It's not that I'm paranoid about driving in a car alone or being seen through the windows of my home unprotected. Frankly, I'd like the company. The man I saw in a catalog was about 6 feet tall, bald and built from fiberglass and high-impact plastic. In the ad, he was sitting between two people who were obviously at a party. All three had wine glasses in their hands. I didn't think the mannequin would be a designated driver, but I couldn't figure out why they gave him a drink in the first place.All that aside, he looked pretty realistic. The description said you could bolt on his head and upper legs with wing nuts (included), and dress him in anything you wanted to. I've saved the best part until last: HIS EYES ARE OPEN ALL THE TIME.

It would take some getting used to to look over and see a man in a chair after 9 in the evening with his eyes open.

As I looked at Gregory (that's his order name), it occurred to me there were other advantages to this mail-order crime fighter. I could confess to him that I drove to the store and back with the emergency brake engaged, and he wouldn't bite his necktie in half.

For dinner, I could put braised pig's lips in a casserole in front of him, and he wouldn't inform me he had it for lunch.

If Gregory was watching a baseball game and I flipped the channel to watch "Murphy Brown," he wouldn't threaten to destroy my pets if I ever did that again.

He would be wonderful to buy clothes for. I wouldn't know how to act if someone kept every gift I bought instead of saying, "I don't need this. I already have a shirt."

Think about it. Here's a man who doesn't sweat, give you ring-around-the-collar, leave toothpaste in the sink or snore. The ad said he is used by police departments in more than 20 states, so he can get steady work. And he never whines about benefits or changes his day off.

On second thought, it might be boring to have someone just sit and stare straight ahead. Besides, for $500 I don't need another man in the house to dust.