Most families have a humorous Christmas or holiday-themed tradition that’s better off remaining within the family unit than being shared: Uncle Jim’s hideous reindeer sweater, Grandma’s Brussels sprout cupcakes, your cousin’s tendency to re-gift tasteless presents without removing the original tag.
My family is no different. Our dirty secret is our love of infomercials.
By “we”, I mean my parents, who’ve never met a household gadget they waited until the end of an infomercial to order.
Inspired by the Turbo Cookers, Magic Bullets, and pet Snuggies of Christmases past, I’ve tried my hand at inventing a couple of gadgets I believe will make the world a happier, more productive place.
End of The World Analyzer
Since being born in the early 1970s, I’ve been fortunate to outwit the numerous threats to civilization that have promised to unravel and destroy humanity: Nostradamus’ July 1999 predictions, Y2K, the uncertainty created in a post-Twinkie world, and the pending 2012 Mayan Apocalypse.
If the sun rises on December 22nd, I’d like the assurance that I’m adequately prepared to face future end-of-the-world scenarios, starting with the oft-cited, imminently approaching zombie apocalypse.
The End of The World Analyzer would do this quickly, efficiently, and with a host of features that would make it worth the $19.95 shipping charge. Not only would your probability of survival in a variety of situations be revealed, but the analyzer would utilize GPS technology to suggest nearby canned good sales, the best underground bunker communities, and ideal spots for stashing your coffee cans full of cash.
But wait–there’s more, including free, laminated checklists for making sure you’ve stockpiled adequate rations, appropriate apocalypse attire, zombie first aid treatments, and an illustrated conversion chart of how many IKEA pieces are necessary to burn per hour to maintain the requisite bonfire.
The Creative Email Maker
Two weeks ago, my eighth-grade students implored me to create an email account where they could converse with me about assignments and other general school issues. Nearly 30 minutes later, we were still attempting to create a collective name that would be easily remembered by all, since the infinite number of random, Yahoo-generated versions of ‘MOrR8oT5W’ hardly seemed user-friendly.
To alleviate the frustration of future email creators (and in light of the pending apocalypse and numerous email users who will most likely not cancel their accounts following terms-of-service guidelines), a Creative Email Maker seems a sensible invention worth consideration.
No larger than a credit card, the user would input various nouns and verbs of personal interest for the gadget to configure and calculate meaningful email address options rather than the current methods–which result in a list of characters apparently created by a cat walking across a keyboard.
The Real News Browser
Inundated by the sheer number of articles and text chunks that have nothing more to do with news than apple trees have to do with growing bananas being pasted on news websites? The Real News browser would eliminate the temptation of clicking on links boasting “news” stories with titles such as “Celebrity Diet Tips From Stars Who Eat Only Celery” and “Honey Boo Boo Holiday Hair Extensions” by abolishing any links to non-news articles.
No more wasted minutes (or hours) clicking through stories that bemoan the heel height of the latest Kardashian shoe collection or reading advice on how to improve your diet (‘”Buy More Vegetables!”). Instead, the Real News Browser will save time, money, aggravation, and precious brain cells by focusing your attention and internet searches on stories and facts that add to your knowledge stores, not take away from them.
The Undo App
The Undo App can be the first promising experiment in merging infomercials with the power of technology.
Has the perfect, snarky comeback for an argument popped into your head…when you’re storming out the door? Has your mouth gotten you into trouble that makes you wish you could shrink to the size of a mouse and slink away in shame?
For smartphone users who find themselves in sticky situations without a way to save face, opening the Undo Application prior to the start of those interactions allows users to undo their mistakes all the way back to the app’s startup.
Did your boss peer over your shoulder as you browsed the Britney Spears discography section of Wikipedia while you claimed to be researching market trends? No worries! Keep the app open on your phone, and, with the touch of a button, erase any and all moments of awkwardness back to the point of occurrence.
Then, armed with the knowledge of what’s around the corner, touch the “Live” button to return to the world to make wiser choices the second time around. Reap the benefits of appearing far more knowledgeable, respectable, and prepared than you ever thought possible with the Undo App.
But the Undo App isn’t only for the business professional–give it to every terrible home cook, drama queen, know-it-all-who-knows-nothing, and man who’s ever had to call a repair person after a botched home improvement project on your list.
Beth Morrow is an author, teacher and pseudo-inventor who dreams of seeing her infomercial products appear under every holiday tree. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.