Novelty items are popular. People can’t help buying silly, whimsical merchandise if they think the joke is hysterical or their love for geekery is strong enough. I am no exception. I used to own a Kermit the Frog phone. If the items double as something moderately useful then so much the better! (I’m looking at you, Sonic Screwdriver flashlight) And then there are items that, well, aren’t that great an idea. They aren’t funny or even useful. Sometimes they’re just the opposite.
First off: The gross stuff
I’ll never understand pretending food and beverages are bodily waste. I can go along with red beverage vampire jokes, but confections like Kitty Litter Cake (I could rant about how much I hate the idea of this recipe, but. . . later) and the idea of a glass of fresh urine just aren’t funny to me. I think it’s downright disturbing. Which is why I can’t conceive of anyone ever wanting or, for that matter, using a toilet Bowl Coffee Mug. Who has this kind of, uhm, taste? Is it really SO hilarious to pretend you’re drinking out of the toilet? The only possible reason I could see for owning this mug and using it for beverages is if you’re trying, in an excessively stupid way, to convey that in your opinion the office coffee is, uh, sub-par.
I don’t even know where to start with the Little whizzer Drink Dispenser. It’s “inspired” by an actual fountain in Brussels, but bottom line, it’s a figure of a urinating child. If the figure were an adult it’d be an x-rated product. Adults have the cash flow to be buying this “little man piss” drink dispenser, so the implications of that are pretty bad.
Second: The stupid stuff
I’m not against low-brow humor. Bad puns, “that’s what she said,” and innuendos (heh, heh, in-your-end-o, heh, heh) are not beyond me. I won’t swear I’ve never laughed at a fart joke, it’s just that I don’t usually, especially if my olfactory sense is being assaulted. Which is why I find the following products appalling:
The Liquid Ass Fart Spray is described as a stink spray, something that sounds like an evil villain mastermind should be in charge of it. More than likely though, it’ll be wielded by that asshole from accounts who thinks farts are the end all be all of hilarity. Either way, it has to be let off by the buyer somehow. For $4.25 why not just indulge in a sub-par burrito? Or as one might call it, “Ass Classic”?
Also from the famous (really? Famous? Has ANYONE EVER heard of this?) makers of Liquid Ass:
BARFume – smells like barf! Get it?!
Tex-Ass – smells like BBQ at first, and THEN ass! *eye roll*
The only possible practical use for these stink sprays would be to spray it around the Toilet Bowl Coffee Mug to teach that unfunny bastard we do NOT drink out of the toilet.
Thirdly: The dangerous stuff
As far as multi-use elements go, water is tops in my book. Yes, there’s a lot to do with good old H2O. Bathing, swimming, relaxing, walking and flying… wait, what? Walking and flying? That’s not what water’s for! Well, maybe with the right technology, which does not describe the next two items on our list:
One of the two reviews of the Water Ball explains a distinct lack of basic instructions and safety precautions for this human hamster ball. Somehow you’re supposed to put someone inside this giant plastic ball, inflate it and then toss it on water. Oxygen is limited. It can’t be opened from the inside. How would you exit it without the dastardly laws of physics taking over if a suitable shoreline was unavailable? How can you even control the damn thing once you’re in it? I can’t believe this inflatable deathtrap is on the market.
If you’ve got about $100,000 lying around and have a James Bond fantasy, but are afraid of fire, then perhaps what you need is the water jetpack. You may recognize it from the schadenfreude/fail. That video should be enough to put enough fear of humiliation into a person to avoid this contraption like a room that’s been infiltrated by Liquid Ass. It seems like an awful high price tag and a lot of unnecessary danger for very little pay off. On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of The Darwin Awards, so you know what? I take it back. Buy a jet pack and a water ball. Play with the damn things on the ocean. I look forward to reading the hilarious events of your death.
Lastly: The incredibly offensive stuff
Here we have merchandise that is just downright inappropriate. There are some things regarding which enough time has not passed for a joke to be regarded as anything but in bad taste. Especially when innocent people died for said joke. Behold:
I know it’s been almost one hundred years since the Titanic sank, and I’m all for puns, but the Gin and Titonic could really ruin a drink for me. Over 1500 men, women and children drowned and/or froze to death when Titanic sank due to an iceberg (and multiple design flaws). I don’t think the victims or the survivors and their descendants would appreciate the irony of tiny iceberg and Titanic ice molds. If you think I’m taking this too seriously and should lighten up then please remember not to get all bent out of shape when someone thinks Challenger and World Trade Center inspired fireworks are a hilarious idea.
So the next time you’ve got money to burn and want to make a hilarious purchase to add some whimsy to your life and crack up your friends, maybe restrict yourself to a beard beanie or Han Solo ice molds. In a worst-case scenario everyone will just think of you as a dork instead of gross, stupid or an asshole.
Lindsey Malta writes “Thoughtcicles” for The Idler.