The hallmark of mankind is his (or her) ability to shape his environment to suit his needs. Earliest humans began by shaping sticks and stones into tools. Over the millennium we have advanced from the simple technology of a hollowed-out gourd to space travel. Somewhere during this journey we seemed to have gotten off track. We now invent for the sake of invention. It’s not pretty. I am not talking about gag gifts here. Those silly little things that you get a chuckle out of and then they end up in a drawer. I am talking about people who seriously believe the world is a better place because of their invention.
I am not talking about adaptive aids for disabled folks , like fellow blogger The Hobbler or my dear friend “Jim The One Legged Kludge”. By the way, for those of you who have followed Jim’s saga here, I thought I’d tell you he lost yet another body part a couple of weeks ago. “Lost” may not be the right term, though. It actually exploded across the operating room. The good news is, thanks to a crack janitorial staff, they were able to clean all the Jim Parts off the walls so he wasn’t charged overtime for use of the operating theater. Which just proves there’s always a bright side to every organ explosion. Don’t worry, he’s doing fine and whatever part it was, he said it wasn’t an important one. It always amazes me how many body parts we have that really aren’t necessary. What’s up with that?
Sorry to slide off-topic. Let’s continue…
A new product should fill an actual need. Imagine the thought process of the great inventors of the past two centuries.
“If only there were a way to communicate with someone far away besides writing a letter or sending a messenger,” thought Samuel Morse. Hence the telegraph. (And later the telephone which was invented by Al Gore)
“If only we could light our homes without burning them down,” thought Thomas Edison as he developed the lightbulb by candlelight.
“If only we could save our houses from burning down from lightning so they could burn down from candles since we don’t have lightbulbs yet,” thought Benjamin Franklin as he erected his lightning rods.
Now imagine the product meetings of today.
“If only there were a way to eat an ice cream cone without having to move your tongue so much.”
“If only there were a way to crack an egg using a device I’ll have to wash and store and put away.”
“If only there were a blanket with holes in it for my arms!”
“If only there were a handy way to freeze dog poop”
“If only there were a blanket that could hold my husbands farts in!”
Simply put, all the useful stuff has been invented and now we got too much shit.
There’s a fairly simple test to see if a product falls into the “Too Much Shit” category. Here are a few in no particular order. I could list hundreds but I try so hard not to get long-winded.
Does it take a simple task and add a battery for no valid reason?
And my nomination for the best worst strangest invention ever in the world and for all time!
I’d love to hear your nomination for wackiest or stupidest product. Just leave your pick in the comments section.