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Life Copies Seinfeld Copying Life

Top-Ranked sitcom "Seinfeld" once satirized itself in an episode in which its antihero, Jerry, and his sidekick, George, sold network execs on the idea of a TV series based on nothing.

That's close. But not it exactly. The program actually throws together a wild melange of trivia out of everyday life. Now, everyday life has apparently retaliated by imitating Seinfeld.

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Credit card issuers Visa and Mastercard this week test marketed their new "smart card" - a.k.a. plastic cash - in Manhattan's upwardly mobile West Side, home of a lot of Seinfeldiana. Jerry Seinfeld himself has long done commercials for the rival American Express green card. So he wasn't available to pitch the new cash card. Visa/MC did the next most logical casting. They picked Kenny Kramer, the real life model for Seinfeld's zany, down-the-hall fictional neighbor, Cosmo Kramer, as their pitchman.

So now you have Kenny imitating Cosmo imitating Kenny. Clear?

OK, on to the test marketing. As part of the media publicity, Kenny is supposed to sell a newspaper and some gum to a customer wielding a smart card. But the publicity people loaded the card's computer chip with only 90 cents worth of purchasing power - not enough for the costly ($1.30) paper and gum. A typical Kramer snafu!

There you have it: life imitating Seinfeld imitating life, starring K. Kramer imitating C. Kramer imitating K. Kramer. All for a profit of minus 40 cents.

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