Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The 6 Best Things I Didn't Know I Wanted Until I Saw Them On TV, #1. (MiniBest!)
MiniBests, remember, are thematically-linked posts... sounds important, doesn't it... that explore a topic over the course of a month. See more of them here.
I have invented lots of things in my life. Now, by "invented," I don't mean "actually created the thing and now you can use it." I'm using "invented" more loosely, in the sense of "I had the idea but since I have no practical skills whatsoever I am completely incapable of making that idea into a reality."
The fact that I have no practical skills, therefore, puts more than me at risk -- I've noted in the past that my lack of skills will mean that after the Apocalypse occurs [in December 2012, according to George Lucas] my role in society will be reduced to monster bait -- but it's not just me that's losing out, it's you, too, because I can't put all my great ideas into action, great ideas like the one I had for the "In The Cupboard Dishwasher," or the dating website "Go Fish," in which members would be allowed to contact other members at first by asking them a question: They could, for example, message another member by asking "Do you like pina coladas?" and if the recipient says "No," the question is randomly sent to another profile on the site, who then must answer that question before he/she can ask their own... so you're sent to Go Fish and you randomly meet people who might share your interests.
See? It's genius. But because you're going to make me be monster bait, dating opportunities will be severely limited in the post-Apocalyptic world, which we can only hope will be more David Byrne-Nothing-But-Flowers-y than most popular books and movies think it will be. (Someday, I'll probably explore the question of why people think that a post-apocalyptic world would be unpleasant. It doesn't seem to me that would be a guarantee, but, then, I'm different than other people. And better looking.)
But for today, I'm thinking about things that have been invented and that I didn't know that I wanted until I saw them on TV; we hear a lot about advertising creating a need that it is ready to fill with a product that was created before anyone really knew that need was there -- like "ring around the collar," an example I've heard before of Madison Avenue making something up to get people to buy a product. But is that really true, either? We take things for granted, believing that the post-apocalyptic world would be unpleasant as opposed to a jaunty life filled with a complete lack of Tea Partiers, or falling for the idea that there was no "ring around the collar" until after Wisk was invented and Madison Avenue created "ring around the collar" to sell it.
But were people -- are people that dumb? Would we simply buy something because we were told there was a need for it, without ever actually looking at our collars to see if such a thing exists?
Possibly. I have to be honest: my endless optimism and faith in humanity is challenged on a daily basis. So, possibly.
But, in the case of the things I didn't know I wanted until I saw them on TV, I don't think that's what's going on. Take the first item in this series of MiniBests:
The Incredible Gyro Bowl.
I kept waiting, at the end, for a disclaimer that said something like "Note: Gyro Bowl does not actually fly." But I didn't see that, so I believe that it can really fly and now I want it more than ever, because either I'll get a flying bowl or I'll have the greatest consumer lawsuit ever.
I saw that ad while I was working out at the health club, taking a break one day from jogging to ride a stationary bike and watch TV; I kind of like watching 3 or 4 TVs at the same time, especially when the club isn't really full so I don't have to deal with all the people who turn the TVs to that financial information channel, putting five TVs in a row on the same channel so they can pretend to be the kind of person who can't miss any financial news while also not turning their heads even slightly to see the TV just to the left.
And the moment I saw the ad, I thought I've got to have that, first so that I can put a Gyro Bowl on my office desk to get people to say "What's that?" and I can explain "It's a Gyro Bowl" and we could spend a good ten minutes trying to get it to spill, and, second, because when you say 100% kid proof, I immediately think You don't know Mr F and Mr Bunches, who have mauled and destroyed their way through a lot of things, and who I would really like to turn loose on the Gyro Bowl to see what they could do to it: I'm betting that they would not only get it to spill, but they'd end up getting it lodged in my car's carburetor, assuming cars still have carburetors, which I'm not at all sure they do, but, then, knowing Mr F and Mr Bunches, I'm pretty sure they could install a carburetor, and then lodge the Gyro Bowl in it to get it to spill chocolate chip cookies into the engine block, something I'm also not sure engines have any more.
The Gyro Bowl doesn't create a need, though: kids do spill, all the time, even when they're nearly 24 years' old, as Oldest is. The Gyro Bowl does create questions in my mind, like what is that paramilitary organization that is training kids to slide down zip lines with a bowl of cereal, just barely glimpsed between 0:35 and 0:40? Is that to help us infiltrate the growing threat posed by the new international youth terrorist organization, Al Kidda?
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
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