2007-04-19 / Sam Bari

Gadgets, gizmos and whatchamacallits

By Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand You can't beat a system you can't understand This country has suffered from a problem of pandemic proportion for some time that needs to be addressed. Our culture is obsessed with gadgets, gizmos and whatchamacallits. We are all guilty of owning them, and most of us are guilty of shopping for them. Entire TV networks have built empires from selling these little gems of ingenuity and inventiveness.

Our kitchen, bathroom and workshop drawers are filled to the brim with every imaginable and sometimes unimaginable device known to mankind, things that are designed to simplify, accomplish, and make more efficient the weirdest of daily tasks. Now, do not say that you have no idea of what I am speaking, because you know in your heart that is not true. Americans are always on the hunt for "the better mouse trap."

We all own things like melonballers, mushroom brushes, cherry pitters, and giant plastic syringes for injecting marinade into dead birds. We can add the famous Ginsu knife to the kitchen collection, an item developed for those among us who have the need to cut cement blocks after they slice their tomatoes for lunch. These are just a few of the gazillion items that can be found in kitchens. Take a trip to the bathroom and things get weirder - much weirder.

In the bathroom, the gadgets and gizmos range from eyelash curlers to electronic nose hair clippers . . . hmmm . . . did I say that? Nose hair clippers. Now - that is an interesting item. This little batterypowered, finger-shaped device can reduce the time required for clipping nose hairs from seconds to nano-seconds with the press of a button. Isn't that exciting?

Just shove this little item up your nostril, press the button, and you will not have to shampoo your nose for days, possibly weeks. That is just amazing. I also understand that this handy little gadget can be used for ear hair, an added little bonus.

However, I cannot help but wonder if the inventor of the nose hair clipper ever thought about how his ingenious invention could affect innocent segments of our society. Allow me to explain.

Somewhere in this country, a little girl in the second grade may have to take her daddy to fatherand daughter day at school and proudly stand in front of her class holding her father's hand. Here, she will announce to her friends, peers, and colleagues that her daddy is the quality control manager at a nose hair clipper factory. The child will be tainted for life. She will never recover from the humiliation.

When this little girl graduates from college, the year book will read something like: "Darlene Ickenyuck of East Gravelswitch, Ohio, daughter of renowned quality control manager Durwood Ickenyuck of Acme Nose Hair Clipper Corporation, blah-blah-blah, etc., etc." The thought is frightening. It is just cruel.

Durwood is probably an average young American who went to college and majored in mechanical engineering. Just before graduation, he more than likely attended a job fair and gave his resume to a recruiter from Acme Enterprises. He then answered a letter, and in no time at all was appointed to the lofty position of quality control manager.

He thought it was just a first job; it would do until something better came along. Unfortunately, nothing better was ever offered, and before he realized it, he was at Acme Nose Hair Clipper Corporation for almost a decade. Besides, he was married and had a child. Changing jobs could be a serious step.

Applying for a job anywhere else was also a problem for Durwood. His resume was slightly less than overwhelmingly exciting. The only job he ever had was working in a nose hair clipper factory. His options were slim.

Clearly, the manufacturing of this much-in-demand product should have been outsourced to some third-world country where the quality control manager of a nose hair clipper factory would be elected to the head of the town council because of his esteemed position in the local economy. But no, Acme is an American corporation, and in America it stays - where their market is. Aha! The operative words, "where their market is." You see, Americans are obsessed with owning little gadgets like nose and ear hair clippers, and because of it, one little girl's life could be turned into a living nightmare.

Little Darlene has no way of changing her fate. She loves her father, but hates his job, all because America is obsessed with gizmos, gadgets and whatchamacallits. It's all part of that system that we just can't understand.

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