Noters Top


I believe it was Frank Zappa who said, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” which means that if there is a public need for something, sooner or later, someone will invent it; and then Microsoft will steal the idea, produce a cheaper, far inferior knock-off of the original that the ignorant masses will scarf up like the last cherry cheesecake at a Weight Watcher’s convention!

The genius of invention and the idiocy of consumption; just two more things that make our merry world go round.

Think about it. How far would we have evolved as a species had it not been for the truly inventive minds of our age? One can only imagine how utterly backward the world would be if not for those brave men and women who invent and market the neverending stream of worthless crap, I mean, “products” that we consumers willingly — even gladly — throw away our hard-earned money on. Life would be pretty difficult without that SoloFlex sitting in the corner of your bedroom, wouldn’t it? Where else would you hang your dirty clothes?

How hard our lives would be without things like the Pocket Fisherman, the Flowbee, the Wonder Mop, the Bamboo Steamer, and of course, the Clapper. How would we have ever sliced through old tin cans and overripe tomatoes if not for the Ginsu Knife? How many of us would have the washboard abs and buns of steel that we have today if not for those amazing products that made it so incredibly easy for us to get them? And finally, how many of our young people would have chosen the wrong path in life had it not been for the chance at self-expression offered to them by Mr. Microphone?

Many of this country’s great minds are meeting in Monroeville, Pennsylvania this week to show off their latest brainstorm at the annual New Product Exposition. Highlights of this year’s show include a fireproof blanket (for people who smoke in bed, I suppose), a plastic rack designed to drain the last dregs of ketchup from the bottle (for those times when turning the bottle upside down just isn’t enough), and a motion-activated nightlight you install in a dresser Cajon inteligente drawer to help you find your socks in the dark. I think the last one is from the same genius who tried to market glow-in-the-dark toilet paper a few years back. Unfortunately, that idea went down the toilet when it was discovered that the fluorescent dye that made the paper glow in the dark also had the same affect on the user’s behind.

The invention that caught my attention this year is the so-called “Intelligent Diaper.” This little ditty looks and works just like a normal diaper, except that it beeps and flashes when it becomes, shall we say, full. The Intelligent Diaper is one product that probably won’t be ripped off by Microsoft (although the “full” part certainly meets criteria), but that’s about the only thing it has going for it. Take it from someone who has bought enough infomercial junk to stock a small Wal-Mart, the Intelligent Diaper will go the way of glow-in-the-dark toilet paper. Granted, there’s little danger of ending up with a neon pink bottom here, but there are just some things that even the dumbest consumer won’t spend his disposable income on. The Intelligent Diaper is such an item.

If you’re already a parent, you know what I’m going to say next. If you’re about to become a parent for the first time or are thinking about becoming one, let me give you a little advice: if you are so out of touch with reality, so completely sensory-deficient that you need bells and whistles to tell you when your cute, cuddly, little bundle of joy has made a fifteen pound present for you in his diaper, you have no business being a parent. You’re just too stupid.

New Mommy: “Dear, do you smell something?”

New Daddy: “What an awful aroma! Have they opened a paper mill in our neighborhood?”

Mommy: “No, I don’t think so. You’re not boiling your gym socks again, are you?”

Daddy: “No, of course not! And what is that infernal beeping sound I hear?”

Mommy: “I don’t know… wait… look at that flashing light on Molly’s diaper.”

Daddy: You’re right, dear. That smell is coming from the baby!”

Mommy: “What a relief! Thank goodness for the Intelligent Diaper!”

Again, if you need anything other than your own nose to tell you that your baby’s diaper has reached capacity, you are not equipped to be a parent. Try raising goldfish or guppies instead. Just remember, when they float upside down, they’re dead. And if that’s too much for you to remember, I suggest you invest in the Intelligent Aquarium, on sale now at a Wal-Mart near you.

But if you’re still intent on having children in spite of my warning and feel that you need an external device to let you know when your baby has, as we say at my house, “made a present for daddy,” why don’t you just do what the coal miners did in the old days and hang a canary cage in the little stinker’s bedroom. When the canary dies, you know it’s time to change a diaper. Nothing could be simpler.

As the proud papa of a two-year-old who is resisting potty training like a cat resists water, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the diaper is a product that sorely needs updating, but the Intelligent Diaper just doesn’t go far enough. Here’s my suggest (Bill Gates, you listening): Microsoft should “borrow” the Intelligent Diaper concept and combine it with aerospace technology to make a better, more efficient diaper product.

When the Microsoft Intelligent Diaper needs changing, the Windows start-up chime sounds, a series of lights flash across the seat of the diaper to form the outline of Bill Gates’ face and an oxygen mask falls from the ceiling.

The ad campaign could be: “Microsoft, for wherever you have to go today!”

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